Wood Banister

How to Clean Wood Banister


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Wooden staircases make any home look elegant and beautiful. And to maintain their elegance, it is very important to keep them clean. Wood Banister and Railings tend to get dirty very quickly. We often overlook them when we are cleaning our homes. But the truth is that a dirty and sticky banister can attract a lot of germs.

This is why cleaning the banister regularly is a must. Cleaning a wooden banister is quite easy as long as you use the right kind of products. If you’re looking for an answer to ‘how to clean wood banister’, here are some great tips.

Best Methods to Clean Wood Banister

These are the 7 best options for cleaning your wood banisters and railings.

  • Vinegar and Water Solution
  • Vegetable oil and Vinegar Mixture
  • Steam Cleaner
  • Orange Glo
  • Murphy Oil Soap
  • Pine-Sol
  • Dawn Dish Liquid

How to Clean Wood Banisters and What to Use?

Before you start using any kind of cleaning solution, make sure to dust off any debris or dust from the banisters and railings. You can either wipe it off with a clean and dry cloth or use a vacuum cleaner. Once this is done, you can continue with any of these methods to deep clean the banister.

1. Vinegar and Water Solution

You can use vinegar and water solution to clean almost everything. It a natural and non-toxic method of cleaning things without the threat of fumes and abrasive chemicals. Once all the debris and dust is removed, spray this mixture on a cleaning cloth and wipe the wood banister. This will help to get rid of grime, dirt, and odor. This mixture will also help you to disinfect your banister and kill off viruses, bacteria, as well as mold.

2. Vegetable Oil and Vinegar Mixture

Mix 2 teaspoons of plain white vinegar in a cup of vegetable oil. This makes a great DIY solution for cleaning your wood banister. The vinegar has anti-bacterial properties and will effectively disinfect the banister. On the other hand, the vegetable oil moisturizes the wood surfaces and leaves them shiny and clean.

3. Steam Cleaner

Steam cleaning is one of the most effective ways to clean any wood surface. You can either call a professional to do this for you or you can choose to do it yourself. A large variety of portable steamers are available in the market these days at an affordable price point. All you need to do to use the steam cleaner is fill it with water. The steam is dispensed and helps to get rid of any grime and dirt build-up. Work on the wood banister one section at a time. Apply the steam, then wipe off the dirt and water using a dry cloth.

4. Orange Glo

Orange Glo is one of the most recommended products for cleaning wood surfaces. It helps to clean as well as condition the wood simultaneously. The cleaner is free from any water, wax, or alcohol. It effectively polishes the wood as well, due to the oil present in the orange peels. While polishing, not only does it clean and condition, but also removes dirt and grease build-up effectively. It is also natural and does not contain any harmful fumes and chemicals. It also leaves behind a sweet orange scent which you will love in your home.

5. Murphy Oil Soap

This soap is great for cleaning any wood surface. It can safely be used on finished surfaces and helps to clean and restore when used. Murphy oil soap is considered to be a 98 percent natural solution and does not come with any harmful fumes. You can use this soap to clean all your wooden furniture, cabinets, as well as your floor.

6. Pine-Sol

Pine-Sol is another great option for cleaning wood surfaces. However, before you start using it, it would be a good idea to test it on a small section first to see if it discolors the wood. Make sure to dilute the solution well, then it should not cause any breakdown or discoloration. Mix ¼ cup of Pine-Sol in a gallon of water and use it to clean the area. Simply dip a soft cotton or microfiber cloth in the solution and wipe down the surface. Let the banisters dry completely. Pine-sol also works as a disinfectant and is available in a variety of scents such as lavender, pine, sparkling wave, and lemon.

7. Dawn Dish Liquid

Dawn dish soap can be used safely to clean everything including wood. Simply add a few squirts of the liquid to a bowl of warm water and use it to clean away grease and dirt. It will also help to disinfect the surface at the same time. Clean the banister with the water and soap mixture and then wipe off with a dry cloth. It does not leave behind any fumes or chemicals and is completely safe for children as well as pets.

Things to Prepare for Cleaning Wood Banisters

You need to gather few supplies before you start working on cleaning your wood banister. These include:

  • Clean feather duster
  • Pieces of soft cleaning rugs, preferably microfiber cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • Rubber gloves
  • Warm water
  • Cleansing agent of your choice

Steps-by-Step Solution on How to Clean Wood Banisters

Step 1

Baby Wipes 20216141463

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Wipe all the handrails using baby wipes. Baby wipes are not just useful for cleaning sticky baby faces and hands but also sticky handrails. Wipe in even, long strokes while applying pressure till all the sticky residue is wiped off. Use fresh new wipes as and when required will all the handrails and banister are completely cleaned.

Step 2

Cleaning Solution 202161344314

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Take the cleaner of your choice from the list provided. If using vinegar and water mixture, mix equal parts of vinegar and water. Pour it into a spray bottle and shake well to combine the ingredients well. This vinegar solution is safe for use on both unfinished as well as finished wooden surfaces.

Step 3

Clean Banister 202161344347

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Spray this prepared cleaning solution all over the banister and wipe it well using a cleaning rag, preferably a microfiber cloth. Repeat as many times as necessary to remove all residue and stains.

Step 4

Wipe Off Banister 202161344430

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Finally, wipe off the handrails using a dry and clean microfiber cloth to remove all the residue of the cleaning solution. Continue the process till the microfiber cloth absorbs all the moisture from the wood.

Step 5

Sanding 202161344921

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Sand out the imperfections from the wood. In case there are any blemishes or rough spots in the wood, you can use a sanding sponge. Begin at the top part of the rail and sand down, making sure to rub parallel to the wood grain. Since the sanding sponge is soft and flexible, it will conform to the banister’s shape. The other side is rough, which helps your rub the surface and scrub out the imperfections.

Step 6

Varnish 202161344949

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To preserve the wooden banister, take a 3-inch foam brush and apply a layer of polyurethane varnish all over its surface. Dunk the brush in the varnish and run it over the surface, making sure to apply a thin layer. Avoid applying too much at once otherwise, the varnish can run over or clump up.

Step 7

Sanding Varnish 202161345441

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Sand out the imperfections from the varnish after it dries completely. The polyurethane varnish will take about 8 hours to dry completely. Use 180-grit sandpaper to sand the banister.

Step 8

Final Wipe 202161345957

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Finally, clean the dust off the rain using a dry rag and say hello to a clean and shiny wood banister.

What Solutions should be Avoided on Wood?

When cleaning wooden surfaces, you must avoid any kind of cleaner that contains ammonia. Products containing ammonia not only leave behind strong fumes but can also wear down the wood and take-off finishes. Bleach should also be avoided as it will lead to discoloration of the wood.

Avoid using lemon juice directly to remove the grime on wooden banisters as well. It can remove the finish and varnish from the surface and may also cause it to discolor. However, you can add few drops of lemon juice in certain natural cleansers to give a pleasant scent and nice sparkle to the wood.

While cleaning the wood banister, always use a soft and clean cloth. Microfiber works as an excellent choice. Avoid using any kind of abrasive pad or sponge to avoid scratching and damaging the finish.

How Long Will It Take To Clean the Wood Banister?

The time you need to devote to cleaning your wood banister largely depends on the length of the banister and how dirty they are. If there are years of grime and dirt build-up, it would of course take some time to restore its luster and make it clean. It can also be quite time-consuming to remove grease from the wood. However, if it is not too dirty, it would take less than a half-hour to effectively clean the surface.

How Often Should I Clean my Wood Banisters?

Ideally, you should wipe down your banister daily. If you live in a high-traffic area, you may have to do it multiple times a day. Also, try to keep them disinfected to avoid passing germs. Besides this, you should deep clean everything in your home once a month.