I have a railing that the stain is washing right off with mild soap and water...oops, anyways it was coming off slowly from peoples hands, I noticed it washed off when I was wiping some dust off....so the house is 4 yrs old and I notice stain coming off other parts of the home with that stain...is there a way to touch it up again without sanding and redoing the whole thing over....is it washing off because it was not sealed after? This can not be normal....I am no diy pro....but thought maybe I can make it look better than it is but have no idea what I should or what to use....lots of stuff in this house seems so half a$$ heh...I find more poor quality stuff every single day....oh well...thx for any input.
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I may be wrong, but your railing looks more like a lacquer toner and finish may have been used instead of a conventional wood stain (and finish). If true, that's actually kinda good news since the repair shouldn't necessarily require removing what's left on that rail.
Lacquer toners are more (sorta kinda) like a stain and finish in one. In other words, all your color is on the surface of the wood instead of into the wood fibers as a typical wood stain is. Generally, a clear lacquer topcoat is applied over the dyed lacquer toner to create depth and way more protection - but not always. If no clear topcoat has been applied, what sometimes happens in heavy traffic areas (let's say like handrails for example) the coating wears off and takes the color with it. Let me take this guess work one step further and suggest your "finish" is a soft and waxy, production grade lacquer (commonly used in new home construction) - which usually looks great after application but really doesn't hold up very well (especially in high traffic areas).
As I mentioned before, that all may be good news. One of the beautiful things about lacquer is the ability to repair and recoat lacquer - with more lacquer. It really shouldn't require removal of existing since the new app is going to kind of meld the old and new together in one continuous film (unlike varnishes). That's the good news part. The bad news part is lacquer typically is a spray only app, and that can be difficult in an occupied home. But since you're not looking to recoat all the woodwork in your house - there may be an economical and viable alternative. I'd look at aerosol (spray) lacquer toners (look 'em up online - Mohawk is the brand I'm most familiar with). These can be spray directly over existing lacquer finishes to restore color, then clear coats be applied directly over toners for add'l protection from wear.
If this works (and please try a non-conspicuous area before committing to the whole job), I'm gonna recommend moving up to a pre-catalyzed lacquer as a clear finish coat (also available in aerosol). Pre-cats are far more durable than are new-home grade, production lacquers, or common lacquers, and will provide protection more like that of a poly varnish.
Again - if I'm right, your surface prep would simply be to clean the railings by ragging the surface with denatured alcohol to remove any furniture polishes, waxes, hand oils etc. Once cleaned, you're ready to go. I hope this info is helpful and actually works for you. Good luck and let us know what you decide.