When walking up or down the staircase, people impulsively reach for the railings for support. The number of hands touching these railings in high traffic areas such as malls or homes can be overwhelming. To maintain hygiene and keep germs away, it’s best to clean them as frequently as possible. Read on for tips to help you keep your stair railings spotless.
Materials for Cleaning Stair Railings
Cleaning the stair railings is more than dusting and buffing. It sometimes calls for scrubbing off sticky grime and mud. Disinfecting these rails is equally important to help keep microbes at bay. The tools you use depend on the rail material but generally, you will need:
• A spray bottle
• A duster
• Soft cleaning cloths that are absorbent and leave no lint, such as a microfiber cloth
• Cleaning agents such as soap
• Oil (vegetable or olive)
The general rule when cleaning stair railings is to start from the upper floors, moving downwards. Cleaning the rails daily may be taxing, especially if it’s a commercial building with many floors. Even then, dusting and lightly wiping them will go a long way to keep your rails in a better condition.
Remember to go over your railings with disinfectant weekly. This is because they can easily become germ-breeding grounds if you don’t maintain high hygienic standards. First dust the rails and then wipe with a damp microfiber cloth. In the absence of a disinfectant, use lemon juice as an alternative.
Mix it with water and spray it over the rail. Follow this up with wiping in a circular motion to remove all the dirt. You can also mix some vegetable oil and white vinegar in your spray bottle, and then shake it well. Spray the mixture onto a damp cloth or directly on the railing and wipe.
Over time, stair railings, particularly wooden ones, get sticky because of dirty hands, body oils and sometimes, wrong cleaning products. Daily dusting and wiping may clean your railings, but it does little to take care of grime build-up.
Deep cleaning means polishing your banister or painting it if the paintwork is chipped. After dusting and wiping off any loose dirt, use a microfiber cloth soaked in olive oil and lemon juice solution to wipe off the grime. For wooden rails, wipe along the wood grain.
If the grime doesn’t come off with the first wipe, spray the lemon and olive mixture directly on the stubborn spot, then let it soak for some time. Use a fresh microfiber cloth to wipe off the mixture and dirt.
Cleaning Wooden Stair Railings
Wood surfaces are very delicate, even though they look elegant. Here are pointers to remember when cleaning them.
- • Avoid over-soaking wooden rails. Excessive moisture makes them soggy and may cause them to start rotting.
• To bring back the glow after cleaning, wipe the surface with vegetable or olive oil. This also helps prevent the wood from drying out.
• Use a sanding sponge to even out and smoothen any sand imperfections on the rail. Always rub this sponge parallel to the wood grain.
• To preserve the wood and enhance the sparkle, apply varnish. You only need a thin coat of varnish as too much will form unsightly clumps.
Cleaning Metal Stair Railings
Metal railings in homes or commercial buildings need to be kept clean always. It not only keeps germs away but also preserves the handrails, which are available in aluminium, wrought iron or steel.
The aluminium ones are relatively low maintenance, requiring cleaning once in a while. Whenever you clean them, avoid strong alkaline or acidic cleaning agents. Also, avoid scrubbing them abrasively as you can cause permanent damage.
Stainless steel is corrosion-resistant, but some factors such as air pollutants and salt sprays may corrode it. Frequent cleaning helps prevent corrosion.
As for wrought iron, it is the easiest to clean and maintain. Simply wipe using a damp cloth and let dry. If you notice any rust, rub some kerosene on it, then scrub using fine steel wool.