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How To Clean Bifold Doors: A Handy Guide

Folding doors are an excellent invention.  By tethering panels together in a concertina arrangement, it’s possible to create doors of a size that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.  They represent a compromise between two other door technologies. Unlike sliding doors, they’re almost completely collapsible; and unlike the usual outward-opening doors, they don’t require much space on either side.  This allows us to have a multi-panel door that’s five metres wide, without having to clear a five-metre space on one side of it.

If you’re reading, this, however, then the chances are that you’re already convinced of the benefits of bifold doors.  You might even already own one!  Instead, you’ll be interested in how to ensure that your door looks and functions its best – for as long a time as possible.  Let’s examine how to clean wooden bifold doors (while also pondering how to clean metal bifold doors, as well).

How to clean bi-fold doors

When it comes to cleaning solutions, it’s possible to save money by making your own solutions.  Such formulas are typically free of hazardous chemicals, and they’ll save you the hassle of a trip to the shop (or waiting for a delivery).  On the other hand, if you’re not looking to create extra work for yourself, a set of specialist cleaning fluids might make a wise investment – especially if you’ve other items around the house that might benefit from some care and attention.

Step-by-step instructions

First, let’s take a look at how we might clean a wooden folding door.  We’ll move onto metal ones shortly afterward.

Dust

You’ll first want to remove any dust from the door.  Do this either with a feather duster or a soft rag – but the rag will tend to make life easier, and avoid spraying dust up into the air.  Start with the top of the frame, as it’s there that the majority of dust will likely have collected.  Then wipe around the sides, before moving onto the door itself.

Wipe

When all of the visible dust has been removed, you’ll be able to start wiping the surface of the door.  Do this using a damp rag and some sugar-soap, or other multi-purpose cleaner.  Don’t apply too much water at this stage – excess moisture will soak into the wood, which isn’t the effect you’re looking for.  If you find any stubborn stains, then use your toothbrush to gently scrub them away.

Buff

Remove excess cleaning fluid, and dry the surface by rubbing it with a dry cloth.

Sponge

You’re now able to really clean the door.  Wipe gently but firmly until any stains are gone.  You’d be surprised how much dirt a door can accumulate over the course of a few months – particularly if it’s in a high-traffic area of the property.  Don’t use too much fluid, and the door should dry naturally as you go on.  If you’ve got a robust finish on your door, like a coat or two of gloss paint, then you’ll probably find that cleaning is easy.

Glass

Bifold doors are mainly made up of glass panels. To finish the cleaning process you need to get the glass sparkling. Use warm, soapy water with a touch of washing up liquid or window cleaning solution. Keep suds to a minimum though, and if you’re using a glass cleaner try to limit its application to any surrounding paintwork. Clean one panel at a time, and when you’ve finished, pick up your squeegee to remove the water and soap. Start at the top of your door panel and work downwards in a reverse ‘S’ shape. Wipe the squeegee clean at regular intervals to reduce the risk of re-applying dirt. Repeat this process for each glass panel.

Hardware

Once the door itself is thoroughly cleaned, you’ll want to move onto the handles and locks.  Brass handles might benefit from a special brass-cleaning solution to achieve a glowing finish; other metal handles will be able to get by with a more general-purpose cleaner.

What about metal?

Metal doors – and particularly exterior ones – tend to come with a powder-coating that’ll protect them from the elements and ensure that they look the part.   When cleaning them, simply use an all-purpose cleaning solution.  Work your way across the entire door, from the top to the bottom, using a soft cloth clean cloth to remove the dirt.  If you encounter any tough stains, use a toothbrush to eradicate them.  Metal doors tend to be a little more robust than their wooden counterparts – if they’re unpainted, a coating of WD40 should be sufficient to protect them for months.

Other care and maintenance tips

Folding doors have moving parts that aren’t visible at first glance.  In order to ensure that the door functions properly, you’ll need to care for these, as well.  Among the most important of these is the bifold door track.  If you have tracks that run along the bottom of the door, then you might find that dust and small objects can collect in there, preventing the door from moving smoothly.  What’s more, these objects will be pushed to one side of the track by the wheels running back and forth.

Vacuum the track

Be sure to regularly take a look down the tracks.  Use a vacuum cleaner to remove any large objects – like pebbles, dust fragments and pieces of dead insect.  You may need to use a broom or a brush attachment to remove the bits that have been pushed to one end.

Clean the track

After you’ve done this, it’s time to go a stage further.  Get some multi-purpose cleaner and an old toothbrush, and work your way along the track, scraping up that dried-on dirt.  Once you’re done, wipe the loosened dirt up with a rag.  When you’re achieved an appropriately gleaming finish, apply a few squirts of WD40 and move the entire door back and forth a few times to ensure its properly spread.

In conclusion

With the right maintenance, we can ensure that our folding doors last for as long as possible – and look as good as possible in the process.  This maintenance needn’t take up too much of your time, and so there’s no excuse for avoiding it!