How to Clean Wooden Stairs

For those with wooden stairs, knowing how to effectively clean and maintain them is an essential part of protecting your investment. Cleaning wooden stairs can be a tedious and overwhelming task, especially if you’re not sure where to start. Wooden steps can add a classic charm to any home’s décor, but unlike carpeted or tiled floors, they require regular attention.

How to Clean Wooden Stairs

By following just a few simple steps on how to clean wooden stairs, however, you’ll quickly have your wooden staircase looking as good as new in no time. With an eye towards proper care and maintenance, this guide will show you how to quickly and easily give your stairs the deep clean it needs – all while avoiding any potential damage that might come with an inappropriate cleaning technique. Let’s take a closer look at the best way to keep your wooden stairways clean!

The Benefits of Having Wooden Stairs

1. Add Elegance

Wooden stairs are a popular choice for many homeowners and with good reason. Not only do they add a rustic elegance to any home, but they can also be quite durable as well. Wooden steps require minimal maintenance when compared to carpeted or tiled floors, and they’re generally easier to clean since dirt and dust don’t stick to them as easily.

2. Boost Your Home’s Value

Wooden stairs can have a positive impact on the market value of your home, especially when installed correctly and well-maintained over time. Wooden steps are often more appealing than carpeted or tiled floors, so investing in regular cleaning and maintenance can help boost your home’s financial worth.

Required Items

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Mild detergent (such as dish soap)
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Cloth or mop

10 Instructions on How to Clean Wooden Stairs

1. Vacuuming

Start by Vacuuming

Start by vacuuming the stairs to remove any dust and debris that may be embedded in the wood. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, paying special attention to areas around railings and underneath steps.

2. Sweeping

Once you’ve finished vacuuming, take a soft, bristled brush and sweep the stairs to remove any leftover dirt or dust particles. This will help ensure that your cleaning efforts are more effective later on.

3. Mopping

Mix a mild detergent with warm water in a bucket and dip your mop or cloth in the solution. Gently wring out the excess liquid and begin mopping the stairs, starting from the top and working your way down.

4. Rinsing

Dip a clean mop or cloth into a bucket of warm water to rinse off any remaining soap residue. Wring out the cloth and wring it over the stairs to remove any excess water.

5. Drying

Pat the stairs with a dry cloth or mop to absorb any remaining moisture. Make sure you get into tight corners and around railings as well. Drying the stairs properly will prevent any potential warping or discoloration.

6. Polishing

If you’d like to give your stairs a glossy finish, apply a wood polish with a clean cloth. Be sure to carefully follow the directions on the can and take extra care when applying it around railings and edges.

7. Cleaning Spills

Use a Gentle Circular Motion

In the event of a spill, be sure to clean it up immediately with a damp cloth. Avoid abrasive cleaners and scrubbing brushes, as these can cause damage to your wooden stairs. While cleaning, use a gentle circular motion and avoid scrubbing in one spot for too long.

8. Conditioning

Apply a wood conditioner to your stairs every 3-6 months to keep them looking their best. This will help protect the wood from daily wear and tear, as well as any potential staining or discoloration.

9. Repairing Cracks

If you notice any cracks or splinters in the wood, use a cotton swab and some wood glue to fill them in. This will help prevent dirt from getting stuck in the crevices and causing further damage down the line.

10. Cleaning Stains

If you notice any stubborn stains on your wooden stairs, use a mild detergent and warm water to scrub them away. Avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals, as these can damage the wood.

Use a Mild Detergent

These are just some of the steps you need to follow when cleaning your wooden stairs. Regular maintenance is key to keeping your staircase looking its best for years to come. With the right cleaning routine and a bit of elbow grease, you’ll have no problem keeping your stairs looking good as new!

8 Maintenance Tips for Wooden Stairs

  1. Vacuum and sweep wooden stairs regularly. This helps to remove dust and dirt particles that can get embedded in the wood and damage its finish over time. Regularly vacuuming and sweeping can also help to keep wooden stairs looking neat.
  2. Avoid wearing shoes on the stairs whenever possible, especially if the shoes are wet or dirty. Wet shoes can cause water spots, and dirt and debris from the bottom of a shoe can scratch up the finish on wooden stairs.
  3. Remove scuff marks or scratches as soon as you see them. This helps to keep the wood looking its best and prevents further damage from occurring. The marks can be removed with a damp cloth and some mild soapy water.
  4. Use wood furniture polish to help protect the wood and make it easier to clean in the future. Make sure to use a product that is specifically designed for wooden stairs, as some polishes can cause damage or discoloration.
  5. Remove any gum or wax that may have been stuck to the stairs. This can be done with a warm cloth and some mild soapy water or with a product that is specifically designed to remove these types of substances from wood surfaces.
  6. Use only products that are specifically designed for wooden stairs when cleaning them. Harsh chemicals can strip away the finish on the wood and cause long-term damage. Don’t use a product unless you are sure it is safe for the type of wood that your stairs are made from.
  7. If the stairs have become overly dirty, they may need to be stripped and refinished. This should only be done by a professional as it can cause extensive damage if done incorrectly. Stairs should also be refinished every few years to keep them looking their best.
  8. Regularly inspect the stairs for any signs of wear or damage, such as loose boards, missing nails, etc. If you find any issues, have them addressed by a professional as soon as possible to avoid further damage from occurring. This will help to keep your stairs safe and looking their best for years to come.
Regularly Inspect the Stairs

Keeping up with regular maintenance on wooden stairs is the best way to ensure they remain in good condition and provide a safe passage for your family. It is also important to remember that wood can be damaged by water, so always take care when using cleaning products on them. With proper

6 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Cleaning Wooden Stairs

  1. Not Using the Right Cleaning Materials. Many common cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can damage your wooden stairs. Use a mild detergent or specially formulated wood cleaner for the best results.
  2. Over-sanding. Sanding wooden stairs is an important part of the cleaning process, but be careful not to sand too much! Sanding too aggressively will cause the wood to become weak and prone to damage.
  3. Not Sealing the Stairs. Sealing your wooden stairs will help keep them looking nice and new for longer, so it’s definitely worth taking the time to do this step properly. The stair surface should be clean and dry before applying the sealer.
  4. Not Protecting the Stairs From Moisture. Moisture can cause wood to warp or crack, so it’s important to keep your wooden stairs protected by regularly wiping them down with a damp cloth or using specialized wood protectors when needed.
  5. Not Cleaning Regularly. Wooden stairs require regular cleaning and maintenance to stay looking their best. Dust, dirt, and debris should be removed on a weekly basis, while deeper cleanings should be done every few months.
  6. Not Using Non-slip Treatments. Slip and fall accidents are one of the biggest dangers in any home, so it’s important to make sure your wooden stairs are as safe to traverse as possible. 

Non-slip treatments such as waxing, sanding, or specialized non-skid stair treads can all help reduce the risk of falls. 

By avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be able to keep your wooden stairs looking beautiful and in great condition for years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Best Cleaner for Wooden Stairs?

The best cleaner for wooden stairs is one that is specially formulated for wood. A mild detergent or a specialized wood cleaner will do the trick. Be sure to avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners, as these can damage your stairs. Buy cleaners that are specifically designed for wood, as these will be safe to use.

What Are the Best Ways to Protect Wooden Stairs?

Using Specialized Wood Protectors

A good way to protect your wooden stairs is by regularly wiping them down with a damp cloth or using specialized wood protectors when needed. You can also apply sealers and waxes to help keep moisture out, as well as non-slip treatments such as sanding or specialized non-skid stair treads. All of these will help keep your stairs in the best condition possible for years to come!


Our wooden stairs are higher-maintenance than other household surfaces and require regular care in order to remain in good condition. No matter how often we clean, though, wood stairs can become dull or have scuff marks over time. Rejuvenating the wood can help restore its natural look – so take the time to sand and refinish your stairs periodically! Keeping up with a cleaning routine will help your stairs remain durable against all kinds of dirt and wear and tear. 

With some regular polishing and maintenance and these tips on how to clean wooden stairs, your wooden stairs will stay in top condition for years to come. As long as you don’t put off cleaning them too long, your wooden stairs should always be able to provide safe footing for yourself and all your visitors. Wooden staircases really add an aesthetic charm to our homes when cared for properly – never forget that!

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Angela Ervin

Angela is the chief editor of Indoorense. She began her career as an interior designer before applying her strategic and creative passion to lifestyle and home. She has close to 15 years of experience in creative writing and online content strategy for housekeeping and cleaning,home decorations as well as other efforts. She loves her job and has the privilege of working with an extraordinary team. She lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Petersburg. When she's not busy working she spent time with her family.

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