A little elbow-grease goes a long way

After hours of being cooped up in your home or office on a beautiful spring day, nothing feels better than relaxing on your deck with the sun on your skin. During trying times like these, we want to make sure everyone stays healthy and safe no matter where they spend their time. And since it’s the season for spring cleaning, why not do a deep dive and rid your railings of dirt and grime, too? Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning your RDI railings.

How Often Should I Clean My Railings?

Homeowners should consider cleaning their railings at least one to two times per year. This will allow you to get rid of dirt and grime before preparing your railings for winter, as well as before the more popular spring and summer seasons when you may spend more time outside with friends and family.

If you live in a coastal region with salt and sand, or an area where pollutants are more prevalent, consider cleaning your railings more frequently. Every three months is a good rule of thumb.

What Should I Clean My Railings With?

To clean your vinyl, composite, aluminum, or steel railings, you’ll need a few different tools and products, many of which you probably already have in your home. Your basic cleaning kit should include:

  • A standard garden hose
  • Warm water
  • Mild, non-abrasive detergent
  • Soft cloth or sponge

If you’re looking to really deep clean your railings and get rid of stains, scuffs, and scratches, consider using these products:

  • Simple Green
  • Clean Magic Eraser
  • Mineral spirits
  • Trichloroethylene (in products like CRC Lectra Clean Heavy Duty Degreaser)
  • CLR
  • Vinegar

For vinyl railing, try Collinite 920. It’s a fiberglass boat cleaner that easily removes scratches, dirt, and grime. It’ll even work if someone spills a libation on your railing. Put a little on a clean rag and simply buff the marks off the vinyl railing.

For steel cable railings, you can also use RDI E-Z Clean Cleaner & Protectant, which cleans, lubricates, and protects. The two-part system is easy to use when cleaning cable railings. Just apply the rust and stain cleaner, and then wipe it off to remove any rusty areas. Next, apply the wax-based protectant to dissolve moisture and corrosion in crevices. Wipe off any excess, and let it dry. It’s waterproof and won’t leave any sticky residue.

What Should I Not Use?

It’s important to stay clear of certain cleansers that can damage your railings. These include:

  • Abrasive cleaners
  • Industrial cleaners
  • Cleaners with solvents
  • Abrasive materials like steel wool or scrubbing pads
  • Scotch-Brite pads

What’s the Best Method for Cleaning My Railings?

Start by using your garden hose to spray off any loose dirt and debris. Next, use a soft cloth or sponge to wash your railings with a combination of warm water and non-abrasive detergent. If stubborn stains persist, use one of the stronger products on the list, like Simple Clean or CLR.

Can I Make My Own Cleaning Products?

If you’re low on supplies or run out, you can make your own cleansers from items that you might have right in your home. A combination of vinegar and baking soda, or vinegar, corn starch, and water, will work well to remove dirt, stains, and debris from your railings. Just be sure not to use anything too abrasive or strong that could cause damage, like industrial cleaners, or anything that could attract animals and bugs, like juice.

Your RDI railings are strong and durable, and with proper maintenance, you will keep them looking fresh for years to come. For more information and instructional videos, check out the RDI Care & Maintenance Guide.