How to Clean a Metal Stair Railing

4 years ago 0 category Handrails Knowledge Centre

A metal stair railing can be an attractive feature in your home. Strong, durable and easy to maintain, they are a worthy investment that can serve many purposes in your home. The good news is that your metal railings can be easy to maintain if you clean them regularly. If you’re looking for some of the best methods for cleaning your railings then look no further. We’ve created this handy guide to keeping your stair railings sparkling.

Why clean your metal stair railing?

There are many reasons why you should keep your metal railings and balustrade clean. Not only does cleaning them help to maintain that polished look, but you’ll want to make sure the appearance of your railings lasts as long as possible.

Then there’s hygiene to consider. Despite your best efforts to keep your hands clean, germs are easily spread around your home, and your railings can be a big source of bacteria. Regular cleaning will help to keep your home healthy, which is especially important during cold and flu season.

A word of warning before you begin

While metal stair railings are hard-wearing, they can still suffer from damage if they’re not carefully maintained. It’s important that you check the material of your railings and buy the appropriate products to prevent scratches, dulling and potential rusting. Take note of top metal cleaning tips, and pick up the right products to help make light work of cleaning your railings.

Cleaning different types of metal stair railing

Different types of metal stair railing will require different cleaning products and techniques to achieve the right finish. Whether you have stainless steel, iron or aluminium railings, there’s a method to making sure they come up as good as new.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is a common material used for metal stair railings. It is long-lasting, and with a clean finish, although it can be susceptible to finger marks. Stainless steel can corrode easily if left alone, so if you have a stainless steel balustrade, you should make sure you maintain it regularly to keep its appearance for longer. Cleaning stainless steel is easy enough to do, and in most cases, you can clean stainless steel with products that are already in your home.

Here are some tips:

  • Use a microfibre cloth and warm water to remove stains and marks.
  • Make sure you dry the area with a cloth or a towel to prevent spotting.
  • If you buff the area with a cloth in the direction of grain, you’ll be able to create a polished finish.
  • If your metal railing needs further attention, choose cleaning products that are designed for use on stainless steel.
  • Discolouration due to lime deposits (this is especially relevant to outdoor balustrade) can be remedied with a water and vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 3 parts water), and is applied using a soft brush to remove any stubborn areas.
  • Treating rusty areas needs to be done carefully to prevent further damage. Nitric acid (diluted 1 part acid to 9 parts water) can help to eliminate rust when left for 30 minutes to an hour. Make sure you wear rubber gloves and rinse thoroughly.

With regular maintenance, your stainless steel balustrade will maintain its original appearance for years to come.


Aluminium is another durable material that can provide a beautiful finish for handrails and balustrades. People love aluminium because it has a high-shine finish, but that shine can soon disappear if you don’t take care of it. Aluminium is also prone to fingerprints and various stains, so a quick clean is usually all that’s needed to take care of it.

Here are some tips:

  • Wipe down your railings using a damp microfibre cloth. You can use washing up liquid or a vinegar solution to help remove any stubborn or sticky marks.
  • Outdoor metal stair railings will usually be kept clean by rainwater, but you might want to hose them down and manually clean them now and then to keep them looking like new.
  • If you’re dealing with particularly stained or dulled aluminium then take a look at some heavy duty cleaners that are specially designed for aluminium.
  • Aluminium cleaners can help restore the shine to your railings using a soft cloth to buff the product. The process of buffing can be time-consuming, but it is worth it to maintain that beautiful shine.
  • Before using any kind of cleaning products for the first time, make sure you do a test patch in an inconspicuous area first.

Aluminium shouldn’t need regular cleaning to maintain its appearance, but take caution with which products you use to clean it as it can be easy to cause permanent damage through scratches.


Iron is another popular choice for metal stair railings and balustrades. It is often chosen over other metals because it is very strong, long-lasting and resistant to rust. Regular cleaning is important to keep its appearance, as well as to get rid of dust and germs within the home.

Here are some tips:

  • Use a duster to clear any build up of dust that has manifested on your railings.
  • If your iron railings have been neglected, use a washing up liquid or vinegar solution to tackle those tougher spots. Make sure you dry them afterwards to prevent any marks from forming.
  • If you have a build-up of stains you can use a soft brush to help restore your iron railings.

Outdoor iron railings can be left to dry in the sun, although any heavy-duty cleaning products should be thoroughly rinsed first.

Choosing metal balustrades for your home

Metal balustrades are a great investment for your home. They can help you create beautiful architectural features, while also providing important safety structures.

At SHS, we stock a wide range of metal stair railings and other types of balustrades to give you a number of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking to complement a modern or classic decor, you’ll be able to find a style that suits your needs.

SHS is committed to providing excellent services to customers from start to finish.

Visit our online shop to buy the perfect cleaning materials for your metal railings.




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