This $8 Household Must-Have Saved My Stairs (and My Security Deposit)

published Mar 10, 2022
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Credit: Andrea Monzo for Apartment Therapy

The place I used to rent in Philadelphia had four rooms: a kitchen/dining room, a living room, and two bedrooms. Sounds like a standard-sized apartment, right? Not exactly. This house spanned four floors, one room per floor. If you’ve ever wandered around downtown Philly, then you know what I’m talking about: They’re the charming — and very narrow — rowhouses that line the cobblestone alleys dating back to the 1700s, where you almost expect to see Ben Franklin walking out the door in his bifocals and coattails. And they are notorious for perilously steep stairways that often feel more like ladders.

I’d fallen on the stairs once or twice and gotten a few bruises (par for the course for me, honestly… ), but I wasn’t motivated to do anything about it until the first time my aging dog slipped. If you’re a dog owner, you know how the sound of your pet taking a tumble can break your heart, so I immediately took to the internet to find peel-and-stick stair treads that I could apply easily to prevent my little buddy from any other falls. I had 34 steps (!!) and found jute treads to affix to each of them — and they worked beautifully! I felt way more secure when I was running up and down, but more importantly, my dog was able to bop around with no problem.

It was a fantastic solution — until it was time to move. I pulled off the treads only to reveal a gooey residue still stuck to the stairs. After a few seconds of picking at it, I knew it wasn’t going to come off without a fight. I had a choice: leave the treads (goo and all) on the stairs and forfeit a chunk of my security deposit, or find a way to restore the wood to the condition it was in when I arrived. I opted for the latter, stocked up on a few bottles of Goo Gone, enlisted my mom to help, and got to work returning the stairs to their former glory.

Goo Gone has been a staple in my home for as long as I can remember, and it does exactly what its name suggests: gets rid of goo from pretty much any surface. I’m talking glue residue, caked-on grease, gum, window decals, and so much more, all without stripping the surface of whatever you’re working on. I can’t count the number of times my mother told me to “Go grab the Goo Gone!” throughout my life for tasks like removing the stickers from the bottoms of new glassware or getting the double-sided tape off of the windows when the Thanksgiving decorations came down. But could this “magic” potion match up to centuries-old hardwood floors? Well, it took a few bottles of Goo Gone, two pairs of rubber gloves, a few rags, and a lot of elbow grease, but you’d better believe we cleaned off every last speck of glue, and I recouped every penny of my security deposit.

It wasn’t until I was writing this post that I discovered that Goo Gone actually makes a whole suite of products with more tailored uses: Automotive, Kitchen Degreaser, Graffiti Remover, Tile & Grout… the list goes on. I just ordered the Oven & Grill Cleaner — which I am super excited to try on my horrifyingly greasy barbecue — but rest assured, there will always be a bottle of the OG Goo Gone in my cleaning arsenal.

Buy: Goo Gone, 8 ounces, $7.60