If you’re searching for ‘how to clean a garage door,’ look no further. This article provides a straightforward approach to effectively clean your garage door, ensuring it looks its best and functions properly. We’ll cover selecting appropriate cleaning agents, the practical steps involved, and how to handle specific maintenance issues—everything to get your door in top condition.
Key Takeaways on How to Clean a Garage Door
- Identifying the garage door material is crucial for choosing the correct cleaning methods and maintenance routines, as different materials require tailored care.
- The garage door cleaning process involves pre-rinsing with a hose, washing with a mild soap solution, and thoroughly rinsing and drying to prevent damage and watermarks.
- Regular maintenance routines extend beyond cleaning, including inspecting and lubricating mechanical components, addressing weather seals, and considering seasonal upkeep requirements to ensure proper function and longevity.
Understanding Your Garage Door’s Material and Care Instructions
Every garage door has its unique personality, molded by the material it’s made of. From the sturdiness of steel doors to the lightweight charm of aluminum garage doors, each material comes with its own set of care instructions.. The way we select skincare products based on our skin type, similarly, understanding your garage door’s material is fundamental in determining appropriate cleaning methods and maintenance routines.
Steel garage doors are like the superheroes of the garage door world, rust-resistant and low maintenance, they are often the go-to choice for many homeowners. Steel is by far the most used material when it comes to garage doors. As a garage door endures exposure to various elements, aluminum doors, while corrosion-resistant, are prone to dents and might require a gentle touch during cleaning. Manufacturers like Garaga offer the H-Tech garage door model which uses aluminum for the garage door panels instead of steel. A steel garage door is going to need a little more attention when it comes to keeping it clean especially if you live in an area that has a lot of moisture, and is susceptible to road salt that can be splashed on the bottom panel or salt air from living near the ocean. Like your vehicle, you’ll want to keep the corrosive salt off of your garage door as much as possible.
There are other lesser used materials for garage doors such as fiberglass doors, with their wood-like door’s finish, are the perfect choice for salt-air climates. Composite doors last long like a good pair of jeans, offering energy efficiency and a wood-like aesthetic. And wood doors, though requiring regular upkeep due to weathering, offer an unbeatable charm and elegance.
In this article we will be covering the steps needed to clean and upkeep the steel garage doors since they make up over 80% of the garage doors on the market.
Pre-Cleaning Prep: Assembling Your Arsenal
Prior to beginning the cleaning process, we need to gather our cleaning tools. Every good superhero needs their utility belt, and in the realm of garage door cleaning, ours includes:
- A large bucket
- A sponge (the microfiber wash mitts are great)
- Dry towels (absorbent microfiber towels)
- Mild car wash or dish soap (we like Amor All Ultra Shine)
Using microfiber cloths for cleaning is advisable as they are gentle on surfaces and effectively pick up dust and debris without causing scratches. Additionally, using a wet cloth can help in removing stubborn stains.
Remember to avoid harsh cleaning agents or abrasive detergents. They might seem like a good idea initially, but they can damage the garage door surface and shorten its lifespan.
Mix Cleaning Solution with Warm Water
Next, we prepare the cleaning solution, our ‘magic potion’. If you are using something like the Amor All Ultra Shine soap that we like then you’ll mix 1 ounce of soap per gallon of water. It won’t take too much to make a soapy mix. If you don’t have any car soap then go ahead and use a dish soap and mix 1/2 cup of mild detergent per 1 gallon of warm water in your bucket. Warm water enhances the cleaning power of the solution, making it more effective at removing dirt and grime.
But, before you get too excited and start slathering this mixture all over your garage door, test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t damage the door’s surface. Avoid any abrasive cleaners as they will damage the paint on the door sections.
Secure a Step Ladder for Hard-to-Reach Areas
Just like the magic beans in Jack and the Beanstalk, a step ladder is going to be your ticket to those hard-to-reach areas. A step ladder is vital to safely reach and clean the upper sections of a garage door.. Depending on the height of your garage door, you might need a shorter ladder like the Werner 4′ Fiberglass Step Ladder or a taller one like the Werner FS106 6ft Type I Fiberglass Single Sided Step Ladder.
The Little Giant Select Step Model 5-8 is also an excellent choice for comprehensive cleaning tasks due to its adjustable height.
The Cleaning Process: A Step-by-Step Guide
With all our tools ready, we can begin the cleaning process. It’s as easy as one, two, three: pre-rinse, wash, and rinse again. Remember, just like baking a cake, following the steps in the correct order is crucial for achieving the best results.
Gentle Pre-Rinse with Garden Hose
The pre-rinse is akin to splashing your face with water before applying cleanser. Start by wetting the entire surface of the garage door with a gentle stream from a garden hose. This process helps remove loose dirt and prepares the door for washing.
Using a gentle spray is crucial to prevent damage to the door’s surface, rather than a high-powered stream. And remember, avoid the use of a pressure washer or high-pressure nozzle attachments during the pre-rinse. We want to clean our garage door, not take the paint off! Pressure washers can damage the painted garage door panels so it’s recommended to use normal water hose pressure while cleaning the garage door.
Washing with Soapy Water
Now comes the fun part, washing with soapy water. Apply the cleaning mixture you prepared earlier using a soft sponge. Start from the top and work your way down, ensuring you cover every inch of the door without causing any damage.
But wait, what about those stubborn stains that refuse to budge? For those, you can use a mild detergent with a maximum of 0.5% phosphate. It’s like using a spot treatment for that stubborn pimple. But remember, always follow the product instructions carefully.
Rinsing and Drying
After the washing comes the rinse. It’s like the grand finale where all the soap and grime are washed off, revealing a clean and spot-free surface. Rinse off the soap with the same garden hose to ensure no soap residues are left on the door.
Once your garage door is all rinsed and free of soap, it’s time to dry it. Use clean, soft cloths to dry your garage door. Drying the door is a critical step to avoid watermarks and ensure a suitable surface for wax application. If you’re planning on waxing your garage door after cleaning, make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions to know whether the wax should be applied to a wet or dry surface.
Protecting Your Door Post-Clean
While cleaning your garage door is important, protecting it after cleaning is just as significant. It’s like applying sunscreen after cleansing your face. Applying wax to your garage door not only adds protection against UV radiation and exposure to elements but also enhances the richness and vibrance of the door’s color, reducing dust and dirt accumulation.
Not all garage doors are the same, and hence, their waxing needs differ too. Steel doors may use a liquid automotive wax, while wood doors could require a new coat of finish. Both serve to create a barrier against rust and wear from natural elements. Silicone car wax can be applied by spraying it onto the clean garage door and wiping with a soft cloth for even coverage, while liquid spray wax is easy to use and ideal for reaching all crevices. Regardless of the type of wax you use, make sure to read the product instructions carefully and apply the wax on a suitable surface (wet or dry).
Maintaining the Mechanics
Just like how maintaining a car involves more than just keeping it clean, maintaining your garage door also includes taking care of its mechanics. This includes:
- cleaning the garage door tracks
- lubricating the rollers
- lubricating the hinges
- lubricating other moving elements with silicone spray
Besides lubricating, regularly inspecting the following components for signs of grime or wear is also important:
- Door cables
- Other components
Tighten any loose components and ensure safety sensors stay clean and aligned. This maintenance routine becomes even more important in extreme weather conditions when the garage door operates under strain.
Checkout our Ultimate Garage Door Maintenance Checklist Guide for more information on servicing your garage door.
Addressing Weather Stripping and Seals
In our quest to maintain the garage door, let’s not forget about the weather stripping and seals. They’re like the unsung heroes that protect your garage door from weather conditions and pests. It is necessary to carry out routine inspections to identify any cracks or gaps in the weather stripping, and replacements should be made where necessary.
When it comes to cleaning the weather stripping, a non-abrasive cleaner is your best friend. Using the soapy water and sponge that you used to clean the garage door, wipe down the side jamb seals and top header seal. Then wipe down the bottom garage door seal and inspect it for any crack or tears in the seal. Avoid putting any petroleum-based products on the seals which can degrade rubber materials.
If you find that the bottom seal is torn or not performing any longer and seems to be hard and dried out then it’s time to replace the seal. Get more information on how to find the correct seal for your garage door by reading our article Choosing the Right Garage Door Bottom Seal for Your Home.
Seasonal Considerations for Garage Door Upkeep
As your skincare routine adjusts with the changing seasons, your garage door maintenance routine should also accommodate seasonal variations. Generally, the garage door should be washed at least once a year to prevent dirt from damaging the paint and affecting the door’s operation.
However, if you live in a coastal climate with high moisture, or an area experiencing pollution, you might need to clean your garage door more frequently, potentially up to four times a year. Also, it’s important to keep salt and moisture away from the garage door to prevent rust formation, especially in winter when road salts are commonly used.
When to Call the Professionals
While DIY maintenance can be effective, there are instances where professional help is the best option. If you’re experiencing serious mechanical issues such as:
- excessive shaking
- jerking movements
- unbalanced garage doors
- broken openers
- loud noises indicating problems with springs or alignment
it’s time to call in the experts.
Professional services not only provide repair but also offer warranties on their work. They are essential when facing complex repairs requiring expertise, specialized tools, or safety considerations. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So, when in doubt, don’t hesitate to call in the professional help.
In summary, maintaining your garage door involves understanding your garage door’s material, gathering the right cleaning supplies, following a step-by-step cleaning process, protecting your door post-clean, maintaining the mechanics, addressing weather stripping and seals, inspecting and preserving the interior side, considering seasonal factors, and tackling stubborn stains and rust. And while you can tackle a lot of these tasks by yourself, don’t hesitate to call professionals for complex repairs, safety concerns, or when facing limitations in DIY maintenance.
Remember, your garage door is more than just a door. It’s an integral part of your home’s exterior that contributes significantly to your home’s curb appeal. So, let’s give it the care it deserves and keeps it looking its best!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best thing to clean a garage door with?
To clean a garage door, use a car wash soap like the Amor All Ultra Shine soap. If you don’t have car wash soap then a mild detergent like dish liquid is an effective and economical options. Avoid detergents with more than 0.5% phosphate or use a nontoxic biodegradable cleaner.
How can I make my garage door look new again?
To make your garage door look new again, wash and dry the garage door sections and then follow it up with a car wax to bring out the paint color and make the door look new again.
Can I pressure wash my garage door?
No, it is not recommended. Pressure washing can potentially damage the door’s finish and rubber seals. It is safer to manually clean the garage door.
What materials are commonly used for garage doors?
Common materials used for garage doors include steel, aluminum, fiberglass, composite, and wood, each with unique care instructions and characteristics. The cleaning instructions we’ve provided above are for steel garage doors. If you have a garage door made from one of the other materials it is recommended that you contact the manufacturer for the proper cleaning instructions so you don’t damage the garage door finish.
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