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Removing grime wooden stair rails

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:47 pm
by mawallace
Our wooden stair rails are vanished but look very dirty and are sticky.

I think its years of grease from hands and the previous occupant who smoked.

Is there a way of getting rid of the stuff as i would like to apply a new layer of stain or varnish

Removing grime wooden stair rails

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:21 pm
by someone-else
Yes there is, but it depends on what is actually on the stairs, short of analysing it you will have to use trial and error to see what works best.

I would suggest you don't use too much friction such as a wire brush as it may heat up the whatever it is and cause it to turn to "goo" and become worse.
I would try starting off with elbow grease and sugar soap solution.

Removing grime wooden stair rails

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:41 pm
by moderator2
Better asked in Painting and Decorating. I'll move it.

Removing grime wooden stair rails

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:07 pm
by dewaltdisney
Start with Methylated spirits for a clean down. It removes grease but it will not soften the varnish causing delamination issues. If you are going to paint them white, which will brighten the area and give it a fresh clean look see my link below

DWD

Removing grime wooden stair rails

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:48 am
by Bob225
Hot soappy water (a few drops of washing up liquid) and some effort

Removing grime wooden stair rails

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:43 pm
by OchAye
mawallace wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:47 pm
Our wooden stair rails are vanished but look very dirty and are sticky.
They are dirty because they have been used, they are sticky because the last coat of varnish or whatever it was is disintegrating.
I think its years of grease from hands and the previous occupant who smoked.
Correct on the first part but the second part is irrelevant. You will find you will cause as much damage even if you don't smoke but you use cream for your hands, face etc. or you simply have greasy sweaty hands.
Is there a way of getting rid of the stuff as i would like to apply a new layer of stain or varnish
I would go with all the comments mentioned above but I would use meths at the last last wipe/scrubb. Make sure you rinse off any detergents you use before you get to the methylated spirit. You might as well use some green Scotch-Brite (there are other more abrasive colours) whilst you clean so you key the surface at the same time. :-)

Removing grime wooden stair rails

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:07 pm
by 54aardvark
This stuff is excellent, had a freebie from Decorating Direct and its now my go-to for this sort of thing.

https://www.decoratingdirect.co.uk/view ... DEGREASER/