Does your home have one or more staircases? If so, you probably know how important it is to keep them clear of objectives, to prevent injuries, and to keep them clean, so they look and feel nice to bare feet. Here are a few tips for keeping them neat and attractive.
1. Don’t let family members leave anything laying on the steps. Whether it be toys, clothes, newspapers, or homework, a staircase is not the right place for storage. Being bumped down the steps not only may lose things, but they can pose safety hazards to those using the steps. Insist that everyone take their possessions with them when going up or coming down.
2. Vacuum carpet-covered steps weekly. Use a hand vac or a sweeper with an extension cord so you don’t have to carry it up or down the stairs with you. Vacuum each carpeted tread, with special attention to the inside crease where one step meets another. Don’t forget the side panels or railings, especially if these are carpet-covered, along with landings between each flight of steps and the bottom floor after the last step.
3. Dust wooden steps, rubber treads, or other types of staircase coverings. Use a clean cloth to do this by hand. A feather duster won’t be of much help on surfaces like these. Your fingers can get into each step’s crease and corner, as well as the facing panel (if the staircase is enclosed). Use a thin fabric, like cheesecloth, that is flexible and easy to manipulate for cleaning grooves and designs on your steps.
4. Don’t overlook the auxiliary step areas. These include the side panels, railings, handrails, and landings. If they are made of wood, not only will you want to dust them, but you may want to polish them with furniture wax to keep them bright and gleaming. Don’t wax the steps or landing places where people’s feet touch, however, as this may become slippery and could lead to a fall.
While you’re at it, check for splinters and sand the finish to remove them. You also may want to inspect your steps for mold if they are in a damp place, like the basement, where you’ve had problems with moisture buildup.
Occasionally you may need to scrub your steps, but be sure to rinse away any soap residue to keep people from slipping and falling. If you paint or varnish the steps, put up a sign or remind everyone not to use the stairs until these surfaces are completely dry. A clean, well-maintained staircase looks great, adding a nice accent to any floor or part of the house. You can trim the rails for holidays or adorn the stairwell with photos or other decorating accents. On the other hand, a dirty, unkempt staircase invites disaster while repelling guests’ admiration. Make step-cleaning a priority, along with your regular household cleaning tasks. Since most of us take the steps up or down each day in our homes, it makes sense to keep them clean and in good working order.