The Extremely Germy Spot You're Forgetting To Clean In Your Home

A gorgeous double staircase with gleaming wood banisters suggests a grand entrance inside a castle. Or, an elegant staircase might make its way up to an expansive marble ballroom burnished with touches of gold. But when we're fantasizing about an aspirational home, the topic of cleaning the banister almost never comes up — and most of us forget to clean the banisters we have, though they're covered in germs galore. Whether your own home is a castle or more modest, you might need to remember to clean the railing more often, or about once a week. 

Even if you have an excellent hand-washing regimen, your hands are still packing 150 species of about 3,200 germs. When you and your loved ones fly up and down the stairs multiple times a day, you're grasping the railing and innocently germing it up. Therefore, it's fair to say that your banister is most likely due for a deep clean. And, if elevating its look and vibe is in order, there are plenty of simple ways to update old banisters for a more luxe, upscale feel.

The best way to clean your staircase banister

If your banister is made from wood and you want to minimize using commercial cleaning products, we have some solid recommendations. First, gather your supplies. Your best friend is a clean microfiber cloth, as anything else will leave behind lint. For weekly wood banister cleaning sessions, firmly wipe down the surface with a dry microfiber cloth. Mix 1 cup of olive oil with 2 teaspoons of vinegar and transfer to a clean spray bottle. Spray the microfiber cloth with enough cleaning formula to dampen it, then clean the banister. For a monthly polish, the instructions are the same except you'll mix two parts olive oil with one part lemon juice, then transfer that to a spray bottle and wipe down the surface.

For stainless steel, after running a microfiber cloth along the banister, spray vinegar or lemon juice onto the cloth and clean with the grain. Moisten a separate microfiber cloth with olive oil to polish. Aluminum scratches easily, so be cautious when cleaning. The best way to clean aluminum hardware, including banisters, is to use equal parts vinegar and warm water, then dry it thoroughly. For metal railings, it's always advisable to check with the manufacturer's instructions because different metals have varying levels of porosity and require different cleaners.