How to Clean Your Garage Floor
If you’ve spent any time in a garage, you know that the floor doesn’t stay pristine for long. Cars leak oil and fluids, dirt and leaves find their way in, and rusted tools lean in the corner. At some point you’ll need to get it cleaned up, but what’s the best way? Here is some information on how to clean your garage floor the right way.
Do You Really Need to Clean My Garage Floor?
Cleaning your garage floor isn’t just about making it look nice, although it certainly is a perk to see a sparkling clean surface when you walk in. Regular garage floor maintenance will also help it last longer and reduce damage from wear and tear.
Your home’s flooring will thank you for not tracking in oil and dirt, and so will your clothes and shoes if you spend any time on projects in the garage.
Finally, if you’re planning to do any upgrades to the floor such as sealing, painting or epoxy coating, a good cleaning is part of the preparation process.
Where to Begin
Before getting started, everything that’s not permanent should be removed from the garage. Pull out the cars and bikes, throw away the trash and used rags, and store the tools and boxes elsewhere for a little while.
You’re going to be getting water and cleaning supplies all over the place and wouldn’t want to damage any of your property. Shelved items can stay put as long as you’re sure they won’t be in the way and get wet from water sprays.
Next, you’ll want to put up a tarp or sheet over your drywall and outlets, and sweep loose debris out with a broom.
How to Remove Rust Stains from Your Garage Floor
The next step is to examine the floor for any rust spots and clean them up. If there are any solid pieces, they will need to be scraped away to reveal the stained concrete. You need something acidic to dissolve rust stains, so look no further than your own pantry.
Pour some pure white vinegar or lemon juice directly onto the spot and let it sit for fifteen minutes. Then, use a tough-bristled brush and as much elbow grease as you can muster to scrub away the stain and rinse with cool water. If these natural options don’t work, you can purchase a commercial rust-removing product from any home and garden store and follow the manufacturer’s directions.
How to Remove Oil Stains from Your Garage Floor
Oil stains are perhaps the most common problem with garage floors, since that’s where we maintain our vehicles and they often drip fluids. They’re not just unsightly – they’re also a slippery fall hazard!
To remove an oil stain from your concrete floor, first sweep the area and then put down some cat litter over the spot. Let it sit overnight to soak up all excess oil, then throw away the litter and prepare to scrub out the remaining stain.
You can use a cleaning solution such as an Oil & Grease Cleaner, or even some good grease-cutting dish soap. Pour the liquid onto the spot, let it sit for a few minutes, and then scrub, scrub, scrub.
How to Pressure Wash Your Garage Floor
After you’ve emptied out and swept your garage, and taken care of any rusted or oily spots, you can get your floor sparkling by cleaning it with a pressure washer. You can use any type of cleaning agent you want – whether a degreaser, a commercial concrete cleaner or a mild detergent – and apply all over the floor with a spray bottle.
You can spray on a soap and water combo with low pressure, and then rinse with high pressure, starting at the back and pushing the used soapy water outdoors. A pressure washer is a great choice for this job, as it uses a lot less water than a regular garden hose and won’t damage the garage floor.
Safety Considerations for Pressure Washing a Garage Floor
After you’ve sectioned off your drywall and electrical outlets with drop cloths, you’ll want to turn a little attention toward self protection during pressure washing. The spray is extremely high-powered, and could potentially harm people, plants and animals.
Make sure there are no kids or pets around while you work, and wear eye protection along with boots or tough shoes. Use a tough tarp over any plants by your garage, and move any potted ones elsewhere temporarily. Finally, when using a gas-powered unit, beware of carbon monoxide and ensure excellent ventilation by keeping your garage door open.
Other Ways to Clean a Concrete Garage Floor
Although using a pressure washer is a powerful and quick way to clean your garage floor, it’s not the only way. You can also use a stiff-bristled mop with your cleaning solution, or old-fashioned hands and knees with a brush and a bucket.
You may also be interested in renting a floor buffing machine from your local home improvement store. A floor buffer scrubs the concrete with a lot more power than a mop or brush. To use it, simply apply the cleanser to the floor and guide the buffer over the surface one section at a time. You can rinse the used soapy water away with a hose.
How to Clean a Garage Floor Mat
A garage floor mat certainly keeps the concrete cleaner, but the mat itself takes all the abuse from oil, mud, dirt and snow. A rubber or vinyl mat can be swept, mopped or sprayed off with a hose and then squeegeed dry. A fabric mat is a little tougher to clean, but you can pull it outside and sweep or shake it off, then spray it dry with a hose.
Tough oil spots can be scrubbed out with dish soap or a degreasing agent – just don’t try to use a vacuum or steam cleaning machine as these can damage the floor mat. Allow to dry and then return the mat to your garage.
Keep Your Garage Floor Cleaner, Longer
You can extend the life of your cleaning job by doing a little preventive maintenance here and there. Don’t allow anything metal to sit directly on the concrete where it may leave rust spots, and if you drip any oil put some cat litter on it immediately to soak it up. Consider putting down a mat to park your vehicle over, and be sure to sweep out dust and leaves before they have a chance to accumulate.
Sealing Your Garage Floor
Now that you have a pristine garage floor, you may want to consider sealing or painting it. This will increase the stain-resistant qualities of the surface and make it easier in the future to clean up dirt and oil. You can purchase concrete floor sealant in the color of your choosing, and even use decorative flakes.
You’ll roll on the coating with a brush, and avoid walking on it for a couple days and driving on it for a week. Not only will your garage floor look like brand new, but it’ll also be easier to clean in the future.
Clean garage Floors Made Easy
Now that your garage floor is freshly washed, you can either let it air dry or mop it up with towels. As you put your things back inside, this is the perfect time to do a little spring cleaning and ensure that you’re not putting any dirty, broken or rarely-used items away. By staying on top of the cleanliness of your garage, you’ll save yourself a lot of elbow grease over time.
Do you need a new garage built? If so, Danley’s wants to help you. We’ve been building garages for Chicago homeowners since 1959. Join the 100,000 happy homeowners who had their garage built by Danley’s and get a free quote now.