There’s something about the warmth and charm a wooden staircase exudes. Wouldn’t you agree?

Whilst you can leave them bare – giving your home a stunning natural look and showing off the wood’s unique grains – painting a wooden staircase is sure to switch up the look in your hallway.

But how easy is it to keep painted wooden staircases clean?

Allow us to share some top tips to help prevent dirt, grime and stains from accumulating and ruining your beautiful painted wooden stairs.

What tools are needed to clean a painted wooden staircase?

Contrary to popular belief, you only need a few basic tools to give your painted stairs a thorough clean, including:

  • a hoover or brush
  • a bowl of warm water
  • a clean cloth
  • a mild detergent or good-quality wood cleaner
  • a multi-purpose cleaner
  • a soft-bristled brush or sponge

What’s the best way to prepare painted wooden stairs for cleaning?


Before you begin cleaning your wooden stairs, there are a few simple steps you need to do – but don’t worry, it won’t take you long!

Start by moving any objects that are on the stairs and landings. Shoes, bags and toys need to be out of the way if you’re to clean the staircase properly.

To prevent stones and other debris from scratching your painted stairs when you’re wiping them down, you’ll need to give them a quick sweep with a brush or vacuum cleaner. If you share your home with furry friends, this will also help to pick up any pet hair, ensuring you don’t rub it into the wood with your cloth.

How are painted wooden staircases cleaned?

After you’ve swept up dirt, dust, debris and pet hair from your painted stairs using a long-handled brush or the special attachment on your hoover, it’s time to don your rubber gloves, grab a cloth and fill a bowl with warm water.

Using a slightly damp cloth, give all stair parts a good wipe down – paying special attention to the corners and edges and not forgetting the handrail, in between the spindles, all around the newel posts and caps or underneath the bannister.

If your painted staircase is particularly dirty or grubby looking, add a dash of mild soap to some warm water and rinse out your cloth before wiping over it. You then need to dry the stairs using a clean cloth or towel to prevent water damage.

What if painted wood stairs are stained?

Whether it be juice, water or something that’s been trodden in on the bottom of someone’s shoe, stains are not uncommon – especially in busy family households.

To tackle nasty stains, you’re going to need an all-purpose or special wood cleaner and a soft brush or sponge. Then, using some elbow grease, gently scrub away the stains – taking care not to chip any of the paintwork on your staircase.

Depending on how tough the stain is, you may need to repeat the process several times for a spotless finish.

How often do painted stairs need to be cleaned?


To keep your stairs looking as good as new, for as long as possible, you need to clean them regularly.

Consider hoovering them at least once a week to prevent dirt and dust from accumulating.

It’s also worth giving the handrails and other frequently touched surfaces a good wipe down every few days. After all, mucky fingerprints can affect the look and safety of your painted wooden staircase.

As soon as you drop or spill something on your painted steps, you must act fast to prevent further damage. The longer you leave liquids to absorb into the wood, the harder it will be to remove stains.

What’s the best way to keep a painted wooden staircase clean?

It’s only right that you want to keep your wooden flight of stairs as pristine as possible.

A great way to do just that would be to place a mat at the bottom of the stairs, encouraging everyone to wipe their footwear – or better yet, remove them – before climbing the stairs.

Depending on how lenient you are as a pet owner, your pets might have become accustomed to accessing all the rooms in your house – both upstairs and downstairs. However, if they have long hair and shed a lot, you may want to consider training them to stay on the lower levels only – helping to keep your painted stairs free from pet dander and reducing the need to clean them as often.

For more tips and advice on cleaning painted wooden staircases and maximising their longevity, contact staircase specialists like the team at Abbott-Wade.