How to Clean Your Garage Door

When your daily life gets hectic, carving out time for projects like garage door cleaning can be challenging. But we hope this article will inpsire you to change that, as cleaning your garage door is essential for various reasons.

The average garage door lasts approximately 20 years with the proper care and maintenance. When you clean your garage door, you protect your investment and prolong the life of something you use many times daily. Though cleaning may only seem to have superficial benefits, it’s an excellent way to prevent more serious issues. In other words, spending an hour cleaning your garage door now can prevent many hours of work and thousands of dollars to repair or replace it later.

There’s no time like the present. Are you ready to get started? Here are a few tips to learn how to clean a garage door.

Why Should You Wash Your Garage Door?

It’s a best practice to wash your garage door at least twice annually — once in the spring and again in the fall. Cleaning will keep the garage door looking its best, improve its life span and let you spot any areas needing repairs. Seasonal maintenance should include inspecting the garage door.

You may want to switch to a quarterly cleaning schedule to deal with Toledo’s harsh winters and prevent premature damage. For example, the rock salt you use to de-ice your driveway can accelerate the wear and tear on your garage door’s finish.

Keeping your garage door clean makes your house look tidier, which is a bonus if you care about curb appeal. Learning how to clean garage doors also provides several other benefits.

1. Preserving Your Door’s Finish

Everyday exposure to the elements can wear down even the highest-quality door. The constant rain, wind and dirt can cause damage. If you don’t regularly clean, the grime accumulates, eroding the finish.

Regularly cleaning wooden garage doors can extend their life span. For doors made of other materials, cleaning will also maintain its integrity and keep it in good condition.

2. Upholding Your Warranty

While we all hope for a trouble-free experience with our garage doors, neglecting upkeep can void the warranty and leave you unprotected if other issues arise. Adhering to the warranty’s maintenance requirements adds a layer of security and peace of mind in case of unexpected problems.

3. Increasing Your Curb Appeal

All it takes is soap and water to leave your garage door and home sparkling clean. Cleaning your garage door removes all the dirt and grime that may dull your exterior. This process is especially valuable if your home is for sale, as buyers often judge a home’s potential at first glance. You can increase your curb appeal significantly by keeping up to date with your garage’s visual appearance to make a higher profit when selling your home.

you can increase your curb _appeal_

4. Preventing Rust

When salt, dirt or other substances become stuck on your garage door, unsightly corrosion forms. 

Regular cleaning prevents rust from forming on metal doors, ultimately extending their life. After removing traces of rust and maintaining a steady cleaning schedule, this chore will become easier in the future.

5. Allowing You to Inspect the Door

When you clean your door, take a few minutes to inspect it inside and out. Think of cleaning as a reminder to check on all the moving parts — the photo eye sensors and other parts of your garage door opener, the spring, the tracks and, of course, the door’s surface.

Cleaning the door’s exterior also provides a better look at its surface. When your door is clean, you’re more likely to notice damage and quickly address the issue. This practice is better than ignoring your door and leaving potentially minor issues until they grow into big ones.

What Cleaning Supplies Do You Need?

Once you understand the benefits of regularly cleaning your garage door, it’s time to begin the process. You can take a few precautions to do a thorough job, even if you haven’t cleaned this area before. You can usually complete the project with items you already have around your home.

Gather the following supplies before you start.

1. Cleaning Solution

Choose a mild detergent like dish liquid or car wash soap. These simple options are the most economical and are effective against typical garage door dirt and grime. You can also use a detergent containing less than 0.5% phosphate or a nontoxic biodegradable cleaner.

Choosing an environmentally safe solution is a wise choice if you have small children or pets who play outside. Think about where the water will run off — if you choose something harsh, it could kill your lawn or nearby plants.

To prepare your cleaning mixture, follow the directions on the label. With garage doors, you want to dilute the solution. For example, a cup of the product mixed with two gallons of water is ideal for handling everyday dirt on your door. Avoid adding bleach, which can cause discoloration and harm the environment. If you have stubborn stains, only use bleach as a spot treatment in that small area.

2. Non-Abrasive Sponges and Clean Cloths

Though they appear soft enough to use on a garage door, abrasive brushes and sponges can damage the surface. Opt for a gentler alternative such as a non-abrasive sponge. You can also use a clean, damp cloth. But don’t use dirty cloths, rags and scouring products with dirt or sand on them. Once the door is sparkling, dry the surface with a soft, clean cloth.

A good rule is to use the same type of sponges or cloths you’d use on a car. Just as you’d protect the surface of a vehicle from scratches, you also want to prevent harming your garage door.

3. Step Ladder

Even the tallest homeowner probably finds reaching the top of their garage door a challenge. Using a step ladder guarantees quality cleaning from top to bottom and provides you with a safer alternative compared to makeshift stools. Using this tool will also help as you inspect the parts of your garage door, ensuring everything is in good working order.

Washing Your Garage Door

Once your supplies are ready, you can officially begin the cleaning process. With the right equipment, cleaning your garage door is a breeze.

Once your supplies are ready, you can officially start your project. Cleaning your garage door is a breeze with the correct equipment. Remember these tips as you work.

  1. Wipe down the surface: Start by wiping down the surface with a clean cloth to remove any dirt or grime, rubbing gently to avoid scratches.
  2. Hose down the garage door: This step ensures a blank slate for you to apply your cleaning products. You can use a nozzle on the end of your hose to quickly and gently remove any remaining debris.
  3. Start scrubbing: Using elbow grease is the best way to clean your garage door. Scrub hard and use your hands to remove tough spots or dirt caked on the door.
  4. Address stains: Use a bleach/water mixture to spot-clean tough stains. Some areas might be grimier than others. Liberally apply your cleaning solution to remove any remaining streaks.
  5. Scrub the weatherstripping and trim: This step will preserve your weatherstripping, saving you even more money in the future.
  6. Wash the door’s exterior and interior: The interior — especially the bottom portion — can attract dirt and grime. Give your garage door some well-deserved TLC as you wrap up the last step of the cleaning process.
  7. Wipe it down: Wipe down both sides of the door with a dry cloth to ensure a shiny new finish to your home’s exterior. You can now celebrate your triumph by admiring how much better your garage door looks.

Waxing Your Garage Door

Another difference between various garage door materials is that you should consistently wax steel garage doors after cleaning them. Though many homeowners with steel doors are unaware of this step, a layer of wax will guard against the daily wear and tear your garage door experiences and repel dirt and grime. This polishing step is crucial in Toledo’s harsh climate, as it’ll shield your door from the elements that can quickly erode the finish.

A good rule for steel garage door owners is to thoroughly wash and wax them twice a year. Immediately apply the wax on a clean, dry surface. A good-quality automotive wax should do the trick, but make sure it’s liquid. Don’t use paste wax on your garage door.

Follow the wax manufacturer’s application instructions for a proper polish. Cover all exposed surfaces of the door, including the bottom interior, since grit and grime from the outdoors can cake onto the door.

If you’re unsure what kind of wax to use or if your door requires a coat of wax after washing, let the helpful staff at Quality Overhead Door direct you toward the right products. We’re always ready and willing to help you make smart choices to protect your garage door.

What Not to Do

Washing a garage door is a relatively simple process. However, you should still take precautionary steps to carefully complete each part. You can damage the most durable garage door with the wrong cleaning solution or an abrasive sponge. So, as you prepare to clean your garage door, keep these helpful tips in mind.

1. Don’t Use a Pressure Washer

Using a gentle hose to wet the door’s surface and wash away soap is the best method. While powering through the cleaning process may be tempting, pressure washers can harm the door’s integrity. The intense water pressure can damage wood, steel or aluminum garage doors by chipping the paint or creating dents.

Stay from using power tools and opt for gentle handwashing and waxing instead. This step may take a little bit longer, but it’ll protect your door and keep it in good condition for years.

2. Don’t Mix Cleaning Solution and Bleach

You can use a bleach/water mixture to spot-clean set-in stains. However, you shouldn’t apply this cleaning solution while the soap is still on the door. If you need to use a bleach solution to remove a stain, wipe off all cleaning solutions in that area of the door first and then apply bleach diluted with water.

3. Don’t Use Abrasive Sponges, Cloths or Solvents

Products such as abrasive sponges can cause permanent damage to a door surface and destroy the finish. The last thing you want to do is harm your door while trying to clean it.

Opt for soft cloths and sponges that keep your door looking brand-new and protect your garage door’s surface. Avoid harsh cleaning products or chemicals that may strip away your door’s finish.

4. Don’t Forget to Clean Other Parts of Your Garage Door

While cleaning, don’t overlook the weatherstripping along the bottom of the door. Also, take a few minutes to wipe down the garage door tracks and photo eye sensors for your door opener. Cleaning these parts keeps them in good working order. Maintaining your garage door and door opener can also avoid problems down the road and save you money.

Need Help With Your Garage Door?

Cleaning your garage door should be on any homeowner’s maintenance checklist. While cleaning, you may encounter potential problems or concerns. When those issues arise, call Quality Overhead Door. Serving the Toledo area for more than 40 years, we pledge to provide the best products and services in the area

If you think your garage door needs a repair or replacement, our experienced, friendly staff are ready to help. We can also provide expert advice if you suspect a problem but are unsure where to start. Contact us today with any questions so you can get your garage door back in top shape.


Updated 12/22/23

Additional Resources on Garage Door Tips & Tricks:




Subscribe to our Newsletter