How to Clean Wood, Glass, Interior and Exterior Doors
A door is a door is a door ... not anymore!
Doors are made with various materials and come in a lot of sizes and designs - plain solid wood, paneled wood, vinyl, aluminum, steel core, half doors, folding doors, decorated glass doors, security doors, storm doors, patio doors, you name it, the list goes on.
One thing they all have in common is that they must be "hung" - set in a frame, balanced and leveled. Some doors have a threshold, some have tracks, but all need to be cleaned!
So, no matter if you have beautiful and elegant entry doors or just your standard "home store" brand, you will want them to look their best because this is the "first impression" that many people have of your home and the way you live.
Using these tips and cleaning recipes will help you save money and make this task more efficient, and you will love the results!
Choose Your Cleaning Solution:
The choice is yours. If you have a commercial cleaner on hand and prefer them, go ahead and use it. Be sure to follow all manufacturers' directions and really read the cautions.
If you want to save money (and a trip to the store) you can use easy homemade cleaning products. They are more natural and chances are, you have all these ingredients at home. They also do not contain harmful fumes and are non-toxic and best yet, when you are done, you can dispose of them safely down the drain!
Homemade Multi-Purpose Cleaner:
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- a dab of liquid soap
- 4 cups hot tap water
Combine these ingredients in a spray bottle. Mix thoroughly.
Homemade Glass Cleaner:
- 1 teaspoon liquid detergent
- 6 Tablespoons plain white vinegar
- 4 cups water
Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle.
Homemade Brass Cleaner:
You can easily clean and scour brass (and copper) with this homemade natural product. Simply grab a clean plastic container and mix:
- 1/2 cup of vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of salt
Dab on with a sponge and let sit for about 15 minutes. Any grime and tarnish will wipe right off.
Assemble your Tools & Supplies:
Gather Your Tools:
- Vacuum cleaner with nozzle attachment
- Soft, absorbent cleaning rags
- Multipurpose cleaner
- Glass cleaner
- Brass cleaner (if applicable)
- Small brush - whisk broom
- WD-40 for squeaky hinges.
- Waterproof sliding track lubricant
Cleaning Wood Doors:
- Wipe the top of door frames to remove dust. A soft rag works better than a feather duster in that area.
- Then, using either feather duster or a rag, wipe all around the frame of the door.
- You may wipe the entire surface of a varnished wood door with oil soap using a soft rag. Be sure to wipe the door in the direction of the grain.
- Buff the door to remove excess and to dry the surface.
- Use a sponge to apply the homemade or commercial all-purpose cleaner to painted doors. Wipe it dry with a soft clean rag.
- Use the all-purpose cleaner to the door knobs or handle. Wipe well to remove dirt and then dry.
- If your door has brass fixtures, use the homemade or commercial brass cleaner.
- If your door has a glass inset or window, use the glass cleaner inside and out to make it sparkle.
Cleaning Sliding Glass Doors:
This is the worst part of cleaning a sliding glass door. Promise yourself you won't let this go so long the next time!
- Vacuum the slider tracks regularly: All kinds of debris stuff gets into the tracks - including bugs. You may need to use a whisk broom to get the ends of the tracks where the sliding action of the door will push and compact the dirt. Vacuum up all the loosened debris.
- Now, let's move on to the door frame: Using the all-purpose cleaner, spray the whole frame of the door, one section at a time. Rub to loosen soil and wipe it off as you go. Then clean the glass, inside and out.
- Now, it's back to the track! Spray a heavy coat of multipurpose cleaner into the track and allow it to set for a moment or two to let the dirt loosen.
- Deep Clean: Really get in the groove with an old toothbrush or other stiff bristled small brush and run it up and down the track to dislodge dried on dirt. If you are like me and are a perfectionist, I like to also use toothpicks and Q-tips to really get in the corners and crevices.
- Wipe it up: Now that you've loosened and scraped the dirt from the track, wrap a cleaning rag around your fingers (or a pencil) to get into the tight track and soak up the dirty solution and particles. You may have to stuff the rag into the track and run it back and forth a few times until it really looks clean.
- Finishing touch: When you are satisfied, finish up with a quick spray of sliding track lubricant.
The outside of sliding glass doors can really take a beating by the environment. After months of rain, the sun bakes the water spots onto the glass and it takes a huge amount of effort to get that glass really clean.
Oh, a little tip, it's better to pick a windless, cloudy day for this task because sunlight and warm breezes dries the solution too quickly and you'll wind up with a lot of streaks.
- First, you need to grab a sponge that has the scrubber on one side.
- Use your favorite window cleaner solution or the homemade glass cleaner recipe above to help remove water spots and environmental grime.
- Spray the glass and use the scrubby side of the sponge to remove debris on the glass. After the surface feels smooth to the touch, rinse well.
- Hand dry, using a soft absorbent towel, about an inch of glass along the top of the door.
- Squeegee from the top down using bold strokes all the way to the bottom.
- Dry the blade of the squeegee and make another pass at the glass. Continue until the whole door is sparkling.
Having clean sliding glass doors is a wonderful thing. It's not hard to do. Don't wash your sliding glass doors if the sun is shining on them as it will cause streaking.
Tip: Work quickly to avoid streaks from developing and start at the top and work your way down.
- Do an initial wipe down to get rid of extra dirt and debris. Get into the tracks and the sides to check for dirt and grime as well.
- Spray your cleaner on the glass and wipe off in a circular motion or use a squeegee to remove.
- Once the window seems clean, check for any residue. If there is any rinse with plain water and use a clean cotton cloth to dry and shine it.
Cleaning Interior (Painted or Wood) Doors:
Tip: For any black marks or fingerprints, I like to use a "magic eraser". These are sold in most stores and make a quick job of removing stains, fingerprints and scuff marks. Make sure to use a light touch; it will work wonders, almost ike magic!
- With a rag dipped in soapy water, wipe all around the edges of the door beginning at the top
- Use a scrub brush dipped in your cleaning solution for cleaning *gently* tough spots
- Sponge off the cleaning solution with clean warm water
- Wipe door dry using a soft, clean, highly absorbent towel
- Allow door paint to dry thoroughly
Tips To Keep Your Doors and Entryways Clean:
Now that your front and entry doors are clean and presentable, be sure to maintain them. This includes the area leading up to them and beyond. Put this task on a annual or spring and fall "to do" list to make sure it gets done.
- Be sure that seasonal debris is picked up - leaves, accumulations of dirt - and disposed of. This not only helps make the area more presentable, but you will avoid tracking all this into your home.
- Don't leave kids toys laying around the entryways. It looks cluttered and can be a hazard.
- Keep door hardware in good repair; this includes oiling the hinges and making sure the door look works properly.
- Check and replace weather stripping when needed to save on heating and cooling bills.
By using these cleaning and maintenance tips you will help prevent future issues and build-up no matter what kind of doors you have. Cleaning your entry door will also add curb appeal and an inviting look to your home.
Image courtesy of Marc Falardeau, CC BY.