Wood Banister Cleaning

Can anyone recommend something I can use to clean a wood banister? The banister is in good shape, but over time the wood has darkened and has black streaks. Can paint thinner be safely used for cleaning the wood? Thanks very much! Donna
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Try some 4O steel wool and paste wax.....

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On 21 Nov 2003 00:33:25 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Dunzley) wrote:

Don't use paint thinner. Use an oil soap (Murphy's is good). If you use a brush, protect the wall with plastic tarp. Rinse. If the surface seems rough after drying for a day, use 220-350 grit sandpaper, dust off. Follow with Johnson's wax using #000 steel wool applicator and buff. You could use a quality primer/enamel paint instead of the wax application step. If you paint, allow 6 weeks to cure, then wax.
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Stay away from paint thinner unless you plan to refinish the bannister. You want something that will remove the dirt but not the finish. You might start with Murphy's oil soap. If that doesn't clean well enough move up to a more harsh cleaner such as 409, dilute Spic and Span, etc. Just watch carefully that you don't soften the finish.
Dunzley wrote:

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George E. Cawthon wrote:

Mineral spirits may work very well, but I would test. (Paste wax has ms in it). Murphy's oil soap and cool water is what I use on wood furniture - have used it on old, dark mahogany, light maple, oak, and always with good results. Most woods darken or yellow somewhat over time with a clear finish, so that won't be undone. Use the Murphy in cool water, wring cloth out well, wipe with cloth/plain water, dry. The secret to avoiding damage to the finish is to dry quickly and not saturate the grain.
I've used mineral spirits, also without damage, to remove old greasy or waxy dirt. Just test it inconspicuously if that is the case. Wipe carefully, wipe dry. Allow 48 hours before waxing with good paste wax.
Rattan can be taken outside and hosed off. Love it :o)
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On 21 Nov 2003 00:33:25 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Dunzley) wrote:

I keep forgetting to get some Murphy's Oil Soap, which I want to try on a similar site, but I used some citrus oil cleaner (not the new stiff As Seen on TV, but may be similar). Took a lot of work and cleaning cloths, but got the black gunk off and was kind to the wood.
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Frogleg wrote:

I've also used Dawn dish detergent, cool water. The main concern is not soaking the wood, and drying quickly. Most clear finishes, especially old ones, have fine openings into the grain caused by expanding/shrinking due to heat and humidity changes. This allows moisture, if applied and allowed to sit, to soak into the wood and lift the finish. Mineral spirits work great on oily dirt, such as arms and backs of chairs or bannisters that get handled often. Oily dirt and wax will soften some finishes and in that case, the finish may be gone when ms is used. If the varnish is sound, ms should not hurt it. Also great for crayon and old wax.
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