It's common to have to store a piano, for example when moving homes, travelling or remodelling your house. You may also need to store a piano temporarily before selling it, especially if you've inherited one and don't have space to accommodate it.
A piano is a significant investment, so it's important to take steps to protect it when it's in storage. Dirt, damp, heat and humidity can all cause irreparable damage to both the appearance and mechanics of the instrument.
Before you store a piano
Before putting a piano into storage, clean it thoroughly by wiping the keys with a slightly damp cloth and polishing the wood.
When stored, the piano should be fully covered. Protect the keys by covering them with a cloth, and close the lid to keep dirt and dust out. You can prevent internal moisture damage by placing a nylon bag of chewing tobacco inside the piano to absorb excess moisture.
After protecting the keys, wrap the entire piano in cotton sheets to protect it from physical damage. Finally, cover the piano with a sheet of thin plastic.
Where to store a piano
A piano may be a large instrument, but it's also a very delicate one. Pianos are highly sensitive to temperature and humidity, which affect the ageing of the wood, felt and strings. Temperature and humidity fluctuations can also result in swelling and shrinking of the piano's soundboard, deterioration of the wool cloth in the piano action, and warping and cracking of the wood.
For these reasons, it's best to store a piano in an environment where temperature and humidity fluctuations can be kept to a minimum.
When storing a piano at home, keep it away from direct sunlight, air vents, fireplaces and windows. If possible, keep the piano against an interior wall with conditioned rooms on both sides, to reduce the possibility of damp, humidity and heat damage.
If you have to pick between a warm or cool environment, always opt to store your piano at a cooler temperature.
How to store the piano
If you're going to store your piano at a different temperature to its normal one, you should gradually acclimatise the instrument to the new temperature before moving it into storage. This is to prevent sudden cooling or heating from harming the instrument.
Always store a piano on its feet – prolonged storage on its side may cause the actions to warp and the hammers to come out of alignment.
Ideally, place a rug under the piano, particularly if the piano will be on a cold type of floor such as concrete or tiles. Cement floors and walls can hold a lot of moisture, which can cause the piano strings to rust, make the damper and hammer felts hard and cause the action of the piano to freeze up.
Piano storage with XtraSpace
XtraSpace specialises in providing secure self-storage units in a range of sizes, including units suitable for storing bulkier items like a piano. For more information about affordable self-storage facilities near you, contact us at XtraSpace or browse our list of branches.