Cleaning staircase railings is one of those pesky jobs that are often overlooked in so many of our homes. Unless we are fortunate enough to employ a maid service that comes weekly and takes on these easy to forget chores, our railings can become quite dirty by the time we get around to cleaning them.

How to Clean Staircase Railings


Cleaning and Dusting Railings

It is two separate jobs. Sure, we might run a dust cloth or a feather duster along our bannister from time to time, but that definitely isn’t the same as cleaning them thoroughly. Most often made of wood, you’ve likely noticed that from time to time the railing on your staircase feels sticky—unless you have a maid service that tends to this task on a regular basis. For those who don’t, that sticky feel is a heads up of sorts, telling you it’s time to do a thorough cleaning job.


Tools Needed

Depending upon the severity of cleaning required for this very important part of your staircase, you will need some of the following supplies when taking on this task.

While you might expect a maid service to use little-known specialty cleaners for removing dust, dirt, and that sticky feel from your railings, they most likely use one or more of these products, too. Some of them may already be found in your home.

  • Feather duster or disposable duster
  • A stack of soft cleaning cloths
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Vegetable oil


What Level of Cleaning is Needed?

Starting off this cleaning project by removing the top layer of dust is the correct way to begin. Simply go over the staircase railing with a feather duster, disposable duster, or a soft cleaning cloth.


How to Clean Staircase Railings with duster


Determine whether or not your railing require super cleaning, moderate cleaning, or minimal cleaning. Minimal cleaning means the wood is a bit dirtier than your dust cloth or feather duster can remove on its own. If you have a maid service that comes from time to time, you likely fall under this category.

The need for moderate cleaning means that even after removing the dust, the railings are sticky. Super cleaning is needed if after the dust is removed, the railings feel both sticky and gritty. There will be pieces of dirt or debris embedded in the stickiness.


Get Cleaning!

Let’s start with the worst-case scenario. That’s the railing that require super cleaning. After dusting off the top layer, mix two cups of water and one cup of white vinegar into your plastic spray bottle. Spray the mixture directly onto the staircase railings. Allow the mixture to remain there for a minute or so and begin cleaning it away, using a soft cleaning cloth.

Switch out your cloths as you clean. Once a cleaning cloth remains clean while repeating this process, and the sticky feeling is absent, you’ll know you’ve completed a job well done.

To restore the shine and protect the wood from drying out, put a few drops of olive or vegetable oil onto a clean cloth. Go over the entire railing you’ve just cleaned.


How to Clean Staircase Railings with care


For a moderate cleaning job, perform the following steps. Be sure to first dust the railing with a duster or soft cleaning cloth. Mix one cup of olive oil and one-half a cup of lemon juice together in a plastic spray bottle. Shake the mixture gently.

Spray the lemon juice and olive oil onto one of your cleaning cloths and wipe the sticky, dirty area down. This will both clean and polish your railings. The lemon juice will also kill germs.

Minimal cleaning of your railings may be accomplished by using vegetable oil once you’ve thoroughly dusted the area. Mix one cup of vegetable oil with two teaspoons of white vinegar into your plastic spray bottle. Shake gently. Spray the mixture onto one of your soft cleaning cloths and wipe the railings clean.


How Often?

A staircase railing should be cleaned dependent upon the amount of traffic using it. Your attic railing likely requires frequent dusting.  It’s not used nearly as often as the railing leading from your kitchen or foyer to your second floor.

When common sense prevails—and the aforementioned cleaning supplies are always on hand—there’s no reason to ever have a dirty staircase railing. Keeping yours clean and free from that sticky feel will ensure clean railings, and you’ll also cut down on the many germs that grace those hands that touch the railings.

We recommend you these Appealing Ideas for Using the Space Under the Staircase.