How to Clean Wood Stairs

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Are you fond of wood stairs but are hesitating to install them due to the cleaning hassle? You do not need to worry about hiring professionals for the purpose anymore. Adopting the right methods can help you clean them right all by yourself. 

How To Clean Wood Stairs

This post highlights a few different methods to guide you on how to clean wood stairs.

Method 1: Using Vacuum & Wood Cleaner Solution

Step 1: Get Rid Of Clutter From The Stairs

In the first step, you need to make sure to get rid of all the obstructions or clutters on the stairs. You need to remove the toys and take off jackets from the railings. Take off any décor items too. You can move onto the next step of cleaning only after removing such clutters. 

Step 2: Sweep The Stairs

Once you have taken off all the obstructions, it will be easy for you to broom or sweep the stairs. 

  1. Choose a specific broom with a long handle for comfortable sweeping.
  2. Take the broom and start sweeping from the top. 
  3. Use vertical strokes for sweeping each of the steps. 
  4. Stand to the side while you sweep the dust, dirt, or debris down to the next step instead of letting them fall on your leg. 
A broom and a dust pan


Opting for vertical strokes while sweeping is important. Ultimately, you can collect all the dust when you reach the endpoint. Horizontal strokes will result in clogging the dirt or dust around the edges of the wooden stairs.

Step 3: Vacuum The Carpet Treads

If you have carpet treads on the wood stairs, you need to use a vacuum cleaner after you sweep. 

  1. Start vacuum cleaning from the top of the stairs.
  2. Use the extension attachment for ease of cleaning. 
  3. Vacuum your way down the stairs properly. 
  4. For handheld vacuum cleaners, you can walk down the stairs with the cleaner in hand. 
  5. Keep the cleaning motion from left to right for each stair. 

Step 4: Clean Treads With Carpet Cleaner Solution

It is an optional step that you can implement for better wood stair cleaning outcomes. It is essential only if you have carpet over your wooden stairs. In case you want to clean the carpets properly, then use carpet cleaners for the purpose. 

  1. Get a carpet cleaner solution and mix it with a bucket of water.
  2. Start from the top of the staircase and apply the solution while working your way down. 
  3. Use your brush to apply the solution from the left to the right side of the carpet on each stair.
  4. If spot cleaning is essential, then you should do it before collective cleaning begins. 
  5. After applying the solution, let it dry for around 30 minutes. 


Make sure you do not apply too much solution to the carpet, as it will make it wet. You just need to damp it with a brush.

Step 5: Mop The Stairs

Once you complete the sweeping and vacuum of the stairs and carpet treads, you can go ahead with moping them. 

  1. Take a wood cleaning solution and mix it up with warm water. 
  2. Dip the mop with a long handle into the solution. 
  3. Wring the mop to remove excess solution. 
  4. Mop the wooden stairs starting from the top. 
  5. Use the motion of left to right. 

If you have covered the staircase fully with carpet, then you do not need this step. It is because you have done your cleaning in the previous step. But, if you just have carpet treads in the middle, you can partially use mopping for the visible wooden sides of the stairs.

The wooden cleaning solution you pick should be appropriate for the sealant applied on the wood stairs.

Wood cleaner and a rug for cleaning stairs

Step 6: Polish The Stairs

The final step of this method is to polish the wooden stairs. Here are the sub-steps that you can follow to execute proper polishing of the wooden steps:

  1. Use a microfiber cloth for the polishing purpose. 
  2. Apply wood polish on each step, and use a microfiber cloth to blend them. 
  3. Start applying the polish from the top of the staircase, and work your way down. 
  4. Gently blend the polish until you notice satisfactory cleanliness and shine.


Use only a small amount of polish as per the given instructions over the pack. Applying too much polish will make it difficult for you to blend and is also a waste of product. Along with that, you also need to ensure that the polish you choose is suitable for your wood finish.

Method 2: Using All-purpose Cleaner & Water

The first method was specific for interior stairs. If you have a wooden staircase outside your home, here’s a guide on how to clean it:

Step 1: Sweep The Stairs

The first and most important step for all methods is to sweep the stairs:

  1. Get a broom with a long handle for easy sweeping.
  2. Sweep from the top of the staircase. 
  3. Push down all the dust or dirt from each step.
  4. Sweep the dust and throw it in the bin after completing the final stair. 

Step 2: Wash The Wood Stairs

Moving on, get the right cleaning solution for washing the wood stairs:

  1. Get an all-purpose cleaner that is suitable for wood cleaning.
  2. Mix it up with water for preparing and diluting the solution. 
  3. Use the mop, sponge, or roller to scrub the wood stairs with this solution. 
  4. Do it thoroughly to remove all the stains off the stairs. 
  5. Rinse the stairs with the use of a damp sponge and clean water. It will remove all the residues of the cleaning solution from the stair surface. 
  6. Use a dry and clean rag for drying the wood stairs. 

Hence, in this way, you can maintain the cleanliness of your exterior wooden staircase. This short video guide will help you get a clearer idea of the steps involved.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Clean My Wood Stairs?

You need to clean the wooden stairs at least once every one or two weeks. Moreover, the cleaning frequency depends upon the traffic that stairs witness. If you sweep the stairs every day, then the deep cleaning frequency can be less. 

Does Cleaning Wood Stairs Take Long?

Depending upon the intensity of the stain, the cleaning process takes the respective amount of time. If you habitually sweep and mop the stairs, then the deep cleaning efforts will be less. 

Are Outdoor Wood Stairs At More Risk Of Experiencing Wear And Tear?

The exterior wood stairs will experience weather and climate changes and might get dirtier than interior stairs. However, with the suitable sealant and coating application, the exterior wood stairs can be made durable. 


You need to follow these methods to safely clean and maintain wood stairs without hampering their sealant, finish or appeal. Wooden stairs are a new trend in modern houses. And residents who want to save their expenses can use these methods for self-cleaning the stairs.