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How to Clean an Old Wood Banister

Updated February 21, 2017

Banisters not only help make stairs safer and easier to use, but they accent the staircase and have aesthetic appeal. Because you are constantly touching it, the oils of your hands can transfer to the banister, where they will attract bacteria and viruses. This is enhanced if you have small children who often have sticky fingers. Clean the banister often to remove bacteria and other debris.

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  1. Put on rubber gloves.

  2. Heat 1 gallon hot water. Use water that is hot enough that you have to use rubber gloves to handle.

  3. Add 2 tbsp gum turpentine with 4 tbsp boiled linseed oil to the water. The turpentine will remove bacteria and the linseed oil will condition the wood.

  4. Dip a sponge into the solution and rub it over the old wood banister. Rub until the banister is completely clean.

  5. Rinse the banister with clear water.

  6. Dry the banister with a clean cloth.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Hot water
  • Gum turpentine
  • Boiled linseed oil
  • Cloths

About the Author

Kaye Wagner has been working in the fields of journalism and public relations since 2006 and is a recipient of a National Hearst Award. She is particularly interested in home-and-garden projects, as well as beauty and fashion writing. An avid traveler, she also writes travel reviews and guides. Wagner earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.

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