How To Clean The Steps

Keep your household steps clean to avoid a build-up of debris, dust, and germs that can spread to other parts of the house.

In a quest to clean the rest of the house, it's easy to overlook the steps that lead from one level to the next. Basement stairs, or the steps leading from the first to the second, or the second to the third floors also can accumulate a significant amount of dust and dirt. When planning your next cleaning day, schedule a few minutes to include the connecting portions of your home.

Start by removing things that have been tossed or left on the steps. Jackets, shoes, books, and other items should be returned to their rightful places in other parts of the house, leaving the steps bare and ready for cleaning. This includes removing unwanted things from the staircase railings, sidebars, or landings. Keep all stairwell areas free of clutter.

Then pick up larger pieces of debris, such as crumpled papers, dropped pencils, coins, paper clips, or lost hairpins. Things like this cannot be picked up by a vacuum sweeper, or if they are, they may break or damage it. All you have left now are steps and the landings.



If your steps are carpeted, use a hand-held vacuum to sweep each step. Run the unit over the flat floor piece where the foot hits. Then brush the back of the step and its sides. Do the same for the landings until you have vacuumed each set of steps in the house. Loosen anything that appears to be stuck in the carpet, such as sticky candy or a staple, and remove these by hand.

Next, take damp cloth and wipe each side of your steps if carpeting covers just the main or center section. Also clean the side moldings, railings, and landings, taking care to reach into corners and under overhanging steps or jutting pieces. Wipe the hand railing as well as the spindles to remove dust from all surfaces.

If the steps have rubber moldings as covers instead of carpet, you may want to brush these with a broom first to loosen embedded dirt. Then wipe them clean with your scrub cloth. When cleaning woodwork, don't get the cloth too wet or scrub harshly with the brush, or you may damage the finish.

If desired, polish woodwork with furniture spray or coating to protect the finish. Old-time housewives used beeswax, but you can generally find inexpensive commercial polishes at most supermarkets or department stores.

Replace any landing floor mats, taking care to use those with a non-skid strip on the bottom. The last thing you want is for someone on the steps to slip and fall to the bottom.

For steps that are open in the back, dust behind and beneath the stairwell, taking care to reach under the lowest step and wiping under each open area to catch cobwebs and dust strands.

When you are done, remind family members to keep other objects off the steps to prevent someone from falling or tripping over them. Steps can be a safety hazard if not properly maintained. Then enjoy these useful connectors between each floor of your residence!

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