If you live in a house with more than one floor, you probably have stairs in order to access the upper floors or the basement. Townhouses, two-level condos and lofts also frequently have staircases. Regular care for any staircase should be part of a good housekeeping plan. How do you maintain the clean appearance and ensure the longevity of your staircase? It really is easy to keep your stairs looking their best!
Make Everyone Stare
Staircase maintenance depends on the type of staircase you have at home. Typically, there are wooden staircases, metal staircases and carpeted staircases.
Metal stairs could be made of iron or steel. They are common both inside and outside of the house. The exterior staircases are likely covered with rust-resistant paint and are powdered to protect the welded parts from rusting as well. Care for those cannot be easier: sweep them regularly and make sure to clear them of snow in winter to prevent the ice from forming. You can also wash the exterior staircase with soap and water once or twice a year to make it look clean and new. With interior metal staircases, the maintenance mostly includes sweeping off the dust and dirt that naturally accumulate on the steps and in the corners. Wipe the stairs and the banisters with damp cloth every once in a while to remove dust as well.
Uncovered wooden staircases look stunning, but require a bit more care. Wood stairs need to be oiled with natural oil that contains good preservatives. You can find wood oil for different types of wood (oak, birch, walnut) in most hardware stores, as well as renovation supplies superstores. Once the staircase is oiled, you can add a coat of varnish to keep it shiny and clean-looking, but it is optional. Matte wooden staircases look just as good as the lacquered ones. Remember not to wax the stairs, as you would hardwood floors, because it will make the stairs slippery and dangerous. Wash your wooden staircase with warm water and cleaning solution at least every two weeks. Avoid walking on the stairs in heeled shoes! Sharp heels can easily damage the wood and leave dents that are noticeable and expensive to repair. Wear soft-soled shoes at home and offer comfy slippers to your guests, so that they feel comfortable taking off their heels and boots. Another method to protect your stairs is to place a stair runner in the center of the starcase. This will add class to your staircase while protecting it from most of the wear and tear.
Both metal and wooden staircases can be carpeted, which simply means that their steps will be covered with carpet material. This is a great option for families with kids. You won't have to worry about heels damaging the wood in this case, but you will need to vacuum the stairs often! If you have a high-traffic staircase, vacuuming bi-weekly is a necessity. You can use a regular vacuum cleaner with brush attachments to get dust, dirt and gravel particles from the carpet surface. If your stairs are small, a lightweight compact vacuum will do the job better. Beware of spills that can stain the carpeting – blot the stain immediately and shampoo the affected spot with a stain remover. Every few months, find the time to deep clean your carpeted staircase – steam clean, use a wet/dry vacuum or shampoo the carpet by hand. Pay attention to the banisters – wipe them with a washcloth to remove grease and dust from the spots where they are not being touched. Add lacquer and polish the banisters to keep them looking as good as the stairs they complement!