11 tips for cleaning and maintaining beautiful indoor stairs | homify

11 tips for cleaning and maintaining beautiful indoor stairs

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Courtyard House ming architects Modern corridor, hallway & stairs
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Don’t feel bad if you occasionally skip your staircase when it comes to cleaning – many people avoid the dreaded staircase simply because it seems like such a huge, ghastly job of cleaning it.

We’re not going to lie to you today: keeping your interior staircase clean, neat and safe needn’t be difficult. It’s all about how you approach this cleaning task and, of course, how long it has been since you’ve given your trusty steps (and risers, and railing… ) some TLC.

Let’s help put a spotless spin on your staircase…  

1. Start from the top

And we mean that literally. Starting your staircase cleaning at the top of the stairs and working your way down prevents you from tracking dirt onto your recently cleaned steps. 

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2. Keep your handrail non-sticky

Modern Chinoiserie Home Design Intervention Modern corridor, hallway & stairs
Design Intervention

Modern Chinoiserie Home

Design Intervention

Thank the oil on our hands for causing wooden handrail surfaces to become grimy and sticky with time. Fortunately, there’s no need (yet) to pull out the harsh chemicals. Just wipe that sticky handrail with a baby wipe to break down the grime. Follow it up with a simple mix of water and vinegar to remove remaining oil-based build-up on the wood. 

3. Commit to decent vacuuming

Generally, a monthly vacuuming of your carpeted stairs ought to be good enough. But only if you use those special tools and attachments to help you reach ALL the corners, crevices, edges and other quirky areas – you have no idea how much dirt and dust can hide in those. 

4. Wet clean your carpet

If your post-vacuum carpet looks a tad dingy, maybe consider using a wet method for cleaning. To prevent mould, remove as much water from your carpet as you can by placing folded towels on the threads and, with your body weight, squeezing out extra residue from the carpet. 

5. Tackle the corners

Think that wooden stairs need only a quick sweep? Think again, as those corners and edges pack a lot of dirt you’re not even noticing, some of which are pushed further inward by a broom. Use a flicking motion from the corner outward to tackle that accumulated dirt, and/or invest in a proper vacuum cleaner. 

6. Keep your risers clean

Terrace House at Terang Bulan Quen Architects Stairs
Quen Architects

Terrace House at Terang Bulan

Quen Architects

Your staircase risers (the vertical parts in-between the steps) can collect dust, dirt and hair, especially if carpeted. Be sure to put on your vacuum cleaner’s hand attachment for carpet-based grime.  

7. Keep your wood safe

THE BALE Eightytwo Stairs White



Moisture can be deadly to wooden stairs, which is why any standing water will ruin them. For those cases where your staircase requires more than a sweep, opt for a damp (not wet) rag. Make sure to dry off immediately after cleaning. 

8. What about metal staircases?

It turns out metal stairs are pretty low-key when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. Start with a microfiber or disposable dusting cloth for dust, pet hair, etc. 

For muddy footprints or finger smudges, opt for a gentle cleaning solution. Dilute a bit of mild dishwashing liquid or an all-purpose household cleaner with warm water in a bucket. 

homify hint: Keep harsh cleaners and furniture polish away from your metal staircase, as they can leave a chemical residue dangerous to the finish. 

9. Toss the carpet

Striped Stair Carpet Runner Style Within Classic style corridor, hallway and stairs
Style Within

Striped Stair Carpet Runner

Style Within

Sometimes a carpet, after living a long and fulfilling life and providing a nice, soft and warm underfoot sensation for a family staircase, just needs to be replaced by a modern and newer version. Especially if it’s stained beyond repair. 

10. Pick it up

Courtyard House ming architects Modern corridor, hallway & stairs
ming architects

Courtyard House

ming architects

From children’s toys and shoes to books and glasses, many things tend to be left on a staircase. Well, not only are staircase steps the wrong space for storage, but that scattering can cause someone to trip on their way up/down.

Make it a house rule that the staircase remains free of all personal possessions. 

11. Look for damaged treads

Want to avoid a dangerous and outdated staircase? Depending on how old your staircase is, you may need to keep an eye on those treads and the damage they have sustained over the years. Any issues, from the teeniest crack to the softest squeak, must be checked out immediately. 

Now, when you get up- or downstairs, remember these 14 tips for taking care of your beautiful wood furniture

What plans do you have in store for your home’s staircase?
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