How to Clean an Internal Bifold Door
Bifold doors are a handy space-saving option that are becoming increasingly popular for open-plan living, and for laundry rooms as well as for other areas where space is at a premium. Floor-to-ceiling bifold doors are a great way to let in as much natural light as possible, but they’re only worthwhile if you can see through them – which means keeping them nice and clean!
Cleaning bifold doors can be hard work, but it’s worth doing. Here are a few tips to make the cleaning process go as smoothly as possible, so you don’t waste time on smears, smudges and stains.
How To Clean The Glass Panels
Believe it or not, those old wive’s tales about using vinegar and water to clean your windows have a lot of truth to them. A 50% solution of vinegar and water works well for producing clean, smudge free glass. It does, however, leave a bit of a vinegary smell, so it’s not something that everyone likes using indoors.
You can use soap and water, but that can leave some streaky residue behind, so that’s not a perfect solution either. Using the right cloth for the cleaning solution you choose can help to reduce the problem of streaks.
In general, if you’re using water and vinegar, then scrunched up newspaper is a good option – it will usually produce a nice clean finish without streaks or lines. If you’re using soap and water, then squeegees or microfiber cloths will produce a nice finish. Don’t use kitchen towels – as convenient as they seem, they are apt to leave not just streaks, but also traces of lint on the window, producing a poor finish.
Make sure that you remove all your jewellery before you start cleaning, because rings and watches could scratch or damage the glass.
The good news is that it’s quite easy to clean interior bi-fold doors. They shouldn’t attract much dirt, so a quick wipe-down with a cloth will usually do the job. Do not use heavy-duty household cleaners on your bi-fold doors, because these can damage the finish. The strongest cleaning solutions that you should use are paraffin-based ones, or non-abrasive cream cleaners. Even then, however, use them sparingly, and check the manufacturers’ recommendations for your doors.
How To Clean The Door Frames
If you are cleaning the frames and find that you run into stubborn stains that you can’t lift off with some gentle washing, try using an ink rubber to remove them. You should know right away if the stain is going to come out. If you see a change in the darkness or heaviness of the stain, keep scrubbing, if not, stop.
If there’s a really stubborn stain on a wooden bifold door, then you might need to sand the door down slightly and repaint over it. Such stains are unlikely to happen indoors, though. If you have children or pets and are worried about stains and scuffs because of that, a high quality glossy paint is a good idea because such paints are easy to wipe down. They are available in most shades, and they are resistant to dirt and damage – although finishes that are high gloss are more likely to show fingerprints, which may be a downside for you.
Maintaining The Tracks
The tracks are the most important part of the door. If you allow the tracks to get clogged up with stones, hair or debris then the door could get damaged and it will become hard to open and close. You should clear the tracks of your bifold doors regularly. The simplest way to do so is to use your vacuum cleaner nozzle to remove debris. Take a moment to run the nozzle along the tracks every time you vacuum in the room. This is a time when little and often is a good idea.
Some models of bi-fold door will need lubrication. Use a silicon spray to keep the tracks moving nicely. You should check with your supplier before you do this; not all doors need lubrication, and sometimes using a lubricant could make the door clog up, causing more problems than it solves.
If your door has locks (which would be unusual, but not unheard of, for an internal door), then you may want to us a little light lubricant on it. Apply the lubricant to the key and then insert it into the lock and remove it a few times. Not only will the lubricant help to make the lock move more smoothly, it will also help to remove any dust or debris from the locking mechanism.
In the worst case scenario, if there’s something stuck in the tracks, don’t try to just pull it out (unless it will come really easily). You may find that it is safer and easier to remove the door from the tracks and then clean the track out without the runners in there. It takes a little extra time, but it will protect the door from damage, and ensure that when you do put the door back in place it will slide and move freely once again. If the track itself is warped, call in an expert to fix it, rather than trying to repair it by yourself.
As well as keeping your bifold door nice and shiny, it's helpful to understand how your bifold doors work. You can read our helpful guide here on how Bifold doors work.
Internal bifold doors are generally easy to take care of. They won’t need repainted as often as external doors, and they aren’t exposed to the elements so they won’t warp, crack or peel unless you have a serious humidity issue. Even so, regular cleaning will extend the life of the doors significantly.
Make cleaning your bi-fold doors a part of your regular household cleaning routine. When you’re cleaning the skirting boards and window sills, wipe down the doors at the same time. Clean the tracks as often as you clean the rest of the floor, and wipe down the handles and knobs when you’re doing your regular spring-clean or pre-visitor tidying up session. It’s not a lot of effort, and it makes a big difference to how the room looks.