Like all household tasks, cleaning garage floors is much easier with routine maintenance rather than a once-every-ten-years-all-out-effort. (So easy to put that off for another six months anyway!) Keep the floor clean in the first place and you will find the work of washing it to be much easier and perhaps even unnecessary.
Garage Floor Maintenance
Heavy-Duty Shop Vacuum
- Declutter. Have a few things actually on the garage floor as possible. Use racks and shelves to lift everything off of the ground. Keeping your garage clean and tidy is a never-ending process – get in the habit of putting away a few things every time you pass through.
- Protect. Keep your garage door closed when not using it. This helps keep dust, leaves, and trash from blowing in and collecting on the floor.
- Vacuum. Vacuum once a month. A shop vacuum with a long-handled attachment is the most effective way to get up dirt and trash. A broom works but has a tendency just to move dust around. A vacuum will suck out dirt and gravel from all the cracks.
- Catch oil. Place oil pans or oil absorbing mats under your cars or anywhere spills might happen.
Garage Floor Cleaner
Did you know that the water that washes down storm drains is not treated, but rather goes directly into the natural waterways of your community?
This means that you need to think carefully about any spills you are washing away and products that you use when cleaning garage floors. In general, spills should be cleaned as much as possible without rinsing and cleaning products should be strictly biodegradable.
Washing the Floor
By regularly vacuuming your garage and using drip pans under your cars, you may never need to wash the floor. It depends somewhat on how neurotic you wish to be about keeping your house clean. If you do decide to wash it, follow these steps:
- Declutter. Remove everything that is touching the floor. Hopefully, you have already applied the tip about getting everything up on shelves and out of the way so you will not have much to move.
- Vacuum. Vacuum completely.
- If you own a higher-pressure washer, now is the time to use it. Otherwise . . .
- Cleaning Solution. Mix up a bucket of warm water and your favorite biodegradable cleaner. Mild dishwashing liquid works great. A couple of squirts added to a bucket of water should give all the cleaning power needed for cleaning garage floors that are not exceptionally dirty.
- Pour and Scrub. Open up the garage door and pour some of the cleaning solutions into the far interior corner area. Use a long handled scrub brush and work the solution into the floor.
- Keep Going. Continue pouring on the solution and scrubbing, working from the interior towards the exterior of the garage. You may need to use several buckets of solution depending on how large your garage is.
- Rinse. Use a hose with a spray nozzle to rinse off the floor starting from the back and working to the front. The dirty soapy water should wash down your driveway.
- Squeegee. Now use the scrub brush or a floor squeegee to push out any excess water from the floor.
- Dry. Allow drying completely before putting things back and closing the door. Cleaning garage floors is best done on warm days so this step goes quickly.
Oil stains should be removed from the garage floor before washing and are much easier to remove if you react as soon as you notice the spill.
- Cat Litter. Wearing shoes, grind several handfuls or more of clay-based kitty litter into the stain. Allow to sit for an hour then sweep up all of the litter and the oil along with it.
- Poultice. Mix paint thinner with sawdust or cat litter to make a paste. Apply this to the stain then cover it with plastic wrap for a few hours before sweeping it up. The paint thinner helps dissolve the oil and the sawdust absorbs it.