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How to Clean an Internal Bi-Fold Door

Bi-fold doors are a great way of adding an extra visual dimension into the interior of your home, and of expanding a living area and creating a convincing impression of space. But in order to get the best from folding doors, it’s important to regularly give them a little bit of attention. Every few years, this might mean taking them apart and refinishing them; or, for more regular maintenance, it might mean just giving them the occasional in-position clean. In this article, we’ll focus on the latter – touching on how we might keep our doors as good-looking as possible, without spending too much effort on doing so.

Cleaning the wood

The majority of internal bi-fold doors are made from wood which, over time, will collect all of the airborne dust and grime that’s floating around your home. If your door is in a kitchen or bathroom, then you might find that this dirt accumulates more quickly – but even more out-of-the-way areas will benefit from occasional attention.

That said, this layer of dirt will be so thin that it will requires little more than a minute’s worth of wiping with a soft, wet sponge. In five minutes, it’ll be totally dry again. Do this once a month, and you’ll ensure that dust is kept at bay, and that your door is as sparkling clean as can be.

Of course, sometimes the dirt on your door might not be the gradual sort that builds up imperceptibly over weeks and months – it might suddenly arrive in an instant of spilled sauce, ink or wine. In such cases, you’ll want to remove the stain as quickly as possible, before it has a chance to soak into the wood.

If your door has a particularly stubborn stain on it, then you might be tempted to break out more abrasive cleaning fluids; but this would likely be a mistake, as the more heavy-duty cleaners can be destructive to the finish of your door. 

 

Cleaning the glass

While exterior folding doors might contain more glass than their interior doors, many interior bi-fold doors come with a significant volume of glass, and so ensuring that that said glass is gleaming will go a long way toward preserving the overall look of the door.  In fact, one can easily argue that it’ll have a greater impact than the state of the surrounding wood.

Since glass has been around in one form or another for so long, there are many different methods when it comes to cleaning it.  One rule, for example, has proven particularly wise: when cleaning glass, you’ll want to be sure that you don’t leave any scratches unwittingly.  This means that you’ll need to remove any jewellery you’re wearing.

Some prefer a solution of water and vinegar, which will form a slightly-acidic mixture that’ll smooth the glass and mop up any dust.  While this method is preferable to using water, it can leave a distinctive smell which many might find unpleasant.  Soapy water is a popular option, as it’s inexpensive, and easily obtained.  However, it can also leave nasty streaks, particularly if there are lots of suds present.

Specialist glass-cleaning solutions are widely-available, and produce great results without any unpalatable odours. Apply them using a specialist microfiber cloth, as they’ll provide a finish that’s free from streaks.  Alternatively, you might consider scrunched up pieces of paper – since they’re inexpensive and capable of producing great results!

Naturally, you’ll want to ensure that your glass is dry before you walk away. But allowing glass to dry quickly can heighten the risk of a streaky, ugly finish.  Guard against this by wiping it dry with a suitable cloth.

 

Cleaning the tracks

As well as the doors themselves, you’ll also need to maintain the tracks along which they run.  This will allow them to run smoothly and improve their longevity.  Floor-mounted tracks tend to attract the dust more quickly, by simple virtue of gravity, but ceiling-mounted ones will benefit from regular maintenance, too.  Be aware that the regular moving backwards and forwards of the doors will push dust toward either end of the track, where it will accumulate, and that regular cleaning will help to prevent this.

Run a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment along the track, loosening up the dust there.  If you should notice any larger pieces of detritus remaining, then remove them manually.  Next, you’ll want to run along the length of the track using a damp sponge.  This will mop up any remaining dust. 

After a period of drying off, you’ll want to break out our old friend WD-40 along the length of the track.  Use a cloth to ensure that the lubricant is evenly distributed, and test the door by running it backwards and forwards a few times.  If you’re applying lubricant to a ceiling track, then you’ll want to be sure that you don’t apply it overzealously, as you won’t want it to drip down onto the floor below.  All in all, cleaning the rails should amount to around ten minute’s careful work.

 

Summary

High quality interior bi-fold doors are a great addition to any home. They can add tremendously to its overall look and function, creating space and adding flexibility. And with a little care and attention, they’re able to last for decades. Since this maintenance can be performed quickly and easily, and without the aid of expensive, specialist materials, owners of folding doors should consider it obligatory!

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