A Guide to Disinfecting & Cleaning Your Wood Banisters

Brian Hogan
Mar 17, 2020 11:45:00 AM

A typical home cleaning list will include a good vacuuming and floor washing, full kitchen and bathroom disinfecting, furniture dusting and, of course, laundry. Windows may not be washed every week or month, but are usually on the average Fall and Spring Cleaning List. Usually included among the things to do as well on these lists is wiping down cabinets and baseboards.

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Stairway by Hogan Design & Construction

There is a spot, however, that is often overlooked and unmentioned when you read weekly, monthly and bi-annually cleaning lists and tips. It is the stairway banister, a high-frequency used space in any multi-level home. With family members and visitors alike grabbing hold of the supporting structure daily, the railings are a hotbed for germs and continue to build up dust and grime when unaddressed.


Recognizing and adding this area of your home to your cleaning cycle is the first step to upping your healthy living practices, but what cleaning method is best to use if you have traditional wooden banisters. Will cleaning products damage it? At Hogan Design & Construction, we have put together our best practices guide to keeping your wood banisters clean and germ-free.

Weekly Cleaning

This takes relatively no elbow grease at all. Using a soft microfiber cloth, wipe off any dust or dirt that may have accumulated over the past week. Next, mix 1 cup oil (vegetable or olive) and 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and shake (or whisk in a bowl). Spray or dab a clean microfiber cloth with/in the mixture. (It should not be drenched, just slightly moistened.) Wipe the lightly dampened cloth along the entire banister for a clean and shiny finish.

Monthly Maintenance

Every three to four weeks we suggest a true polish for your handrails. After you have dusted the banisters with a soft microfiber cloth to eliminate any loose dust and dirt, using a microfiber cloth lightly dabbed in a two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice solution, wipe along the wood grain. It will smell wonderful and the acidic properties of the lemon juice will help kill any lingering germs.

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Stairway by Hogan Design & Construction

Fall/Spring Cleaning or as Needed

Maybe it has been a while or it is the first time you have ever addressed the cleanliness of your stair handrails. Upon inspection, you may even notice a sticky, dirty residue that has built up over time. To tackle this issue, a deeper clean is in order.

Maybe it has been a while or it is the first time you have ever addressed the cleanliness of your stair handrails. Upon inspection, you may even notice a sticky, dirty residue that has built up over time. To tackle this issue, a deeper clean is in order.

The first step will still be to wipe away any loose dirt and dust from the banister. Next, spray a 2:1 water and vinegar solution directly onto the wood and let sit for a minute to penetrate the grime. Take a clean dry microfiber cloth and, using a little elbow grease, wipe the mixture, along with the dirt, away.

Repeat the process, using fresh clothes, until they come away clean. To bring back the shine and prevent the wood from drying out, lightly dab a fresh soft cloth with oil (Olive or Vegetable) and wipe over the banister as a finishing touch.

By following this cleaning cycle, you will find that you save time and can reduce the risk of the spread of germs in your household. Here’s to happy and healthy living while maintaining the beauty of your home.

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