How to Clean Your Garage Door

How to Clean Your Garage Door

How to Clean Your Garage Door

If you’re like most homeowners, cleaning your garage door probably hasn’t made it very high on your list of priorities. We get it — a lot goes on in your day-to-day life, and finding the time to maintain your home and its visually appealing components can be challenging. However, cleaning your garage 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 are protecting your investment and prolonging the life of a door you use many times a day. Cleaning may seem like it only helps the surface. However, it’s a great 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. Ready to get started? Here are a few tips to learn how to clean a garage door.

Why Should You Wash Your Garage Door?

On average, homeowners should wash their garage doors at least twice a year — once in spring and once in the fall. Seasonal maintenance is essential for inspecting the garage door for potential repairs, expanding its life span and improving its visual appeal. In some cases, doors on homes in a harsh environment, such as a coastal area or a place that gets a lot of snow, may require quarterly cleaning. This timing difference is because excessive exposure to salt can erode the finish of a garage door more quickly.

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

1. Prolong Your Door’s Finish

Natural elements such as rain, sun, wind and dirt that impact garage doors daily can take a toll, even on the highest-quality door. Over time, the finish on your door can become dull and, in some cases, damaged or eroded. If dirt and grime cakes onto the door over long periods, it can speed up the erosion of the finish.

While professionals should refinish wood garage doors periodically, keeping them clean means you can go longer in between refinishing. For doors made from other materials, you may not be refinishing them regularly, but maintaining the integrity of the door’s surface goes a long way in keeping the door in good condition.

2. Maintain Your Warranty

If your garage door is still under warranty, you must clean it regularly to maintain the terms of the warranty. Sometimes, avoiding cleaning your garage door will void your warranty and prevent you from using it when problems arise. While we hope you never run into issues with your door, sticking to the terms of your warranty will give you peace of mind if something goes wrong.

3. Increase Your Curb Appeal

All it takes is soap and water to leave your garage door and your home sparkling clean. Cleaning your garage door removes all the dirt and grime that may be dulling the surface of your home’s exterior. This process is especially important if your home is for sale, as buyers often judge a home’s potential by its exterior. 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.

4. Prevents Rust

When salt, dirt or other substances become stuck on your garage door, rust forms. Rust causes damage to your garage door over time, making the space lose its appeal.

Regular cleaning prevents rust from forming on doors made of certain materials, ultimately extending the door’s life. After removing traces of rust and maintaining a steady cleaning schedule, it’ll become easier to remove any signs of rust or grime in the future.

5. Allows You to Inspect the Door

When you clean your door, take a few minutes to inspect it, both 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 exterior of your door also provides a better look at the door’s surface. When your door is clean, you’re more likely to notice if it has become damaged in some way. When you observe problems sooner, you can address them sooner. This practice is better than ignoring your door and leaving potentially minor issues until they grow into big ones.

Cleaning Supplies 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 ensure your door receives proper cleaning, even if you haven’t cleaned this area before. The process is quite simple, and you can typically complete the cleaning process with items you already have around your home.

Before you start, make sure you have the following:

1. Cleaning Solution

A mild detergent, such as dishwasher soap or car wash soap, is your best bet. These cleaning products make this project one of the more affordable home improvement jobs you’ll tackle as a homeowner. You can also use a detergent with less than 0.5% phosphate. A non-toxic, biodegradable cleaner will also work.

Once you have soap in hand, grab a bucket and mix one cup of the liquid soap with two gallons of water. Typically, this measurement is the best ratio for attacking ordinary garage door dirt and grime. Don’t add bleach to your cleaning solution. You should only use bleach as a spot cleaner for tough-to-tackle stains.

2. Non-Abrasive Sponges and Clean Cloths

Although they appear soft enough to use on a garage door, abrasive brushes and sponges can cause damage to the surface. Opt for a gentler alternative, such as a non-abrasive sponge or cleaning cloth to scrub the door. Avoid using dirty cloths, rags and scouring products that may have dirt or sand on them. Once the door is clean, you’ll want some soft, dry fabrics to dry off the surface.

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 protect 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 begin the cleaning process. With the right equipment, cleaning your garage door is a breeze. As you’re working, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Wipe down the surface: Start by wiping down the surface with a clean cloth to remove any dirt or grime. Rub gently to avoid scratching the material if there are any hidden pebbles or other rough fibers stuck to the door.
  2. Hose down the garage door: This 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: The best way to clean your garage door is to put some elbow grease into it. Scrub hard and use your hands to remove tough spots or dirt caked on the door.
  4. Address stains: Use a bleach and water mixture to spot clean tough stains. Some areas might be dirty from a lack of cleaning. Make sure to apply the solution to these places liberally to avoid any remaining marks after you finish the cleaning process.
  5. Scrub the weatherstripping and trim: This step will prolong the life of your weatherstripping, which saves you even more money down the road.
  6. Wash both the exterior and interior of the door: 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. Finish with a wipe 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 different your garage door looks.

If you’re wondering how to clean a fiberglass garage door, how to clean a wood garage door or how to clean an aluminum garage door, the truth is that these same basic steps apply to all kinds of garage doors.

However, if your home has a wood garage door, it’s essential to be vigilant while cleaning. A good cleaning may reveal gashes or erosion in your finish. Take note of any damage you see as you clean. These are signs that it’s time to refinish the door or, at the very least, apply a fresh finishing coat to the existing finish.

Once you effectively clean the area of all dirt and grime, you can look up or call an expert to find the type of paint your garage door needs and apply it to the scratches on the surface. This simple step can make your door look brand new even after some wear and tear.

Waxing Your Garage Door

Another difference between various types of garage doors is that you should consistently wax steel doors after a cleaning. Many homeowners are unaware that waxing a garage door is a necessary part of the cleaning process. Just as you’d use wax to protect the finish on your car, you can also use wax to protect the finish on steel garage doors.

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 if you live in a harsh climate or coastal area, as it’ll shield your door from some of the salt in the atmosphere that can erode the finish quickly.

A good rule for steel garage door owners is to follow a thorough washing with careful waxing twice a year. You should apply the wax on a clean, dry surface immediately after providing a proper cleaning routine to your door. When it comes to which product works best, a good quality automotive wax should do the trick, but make sure it’s a liquid wax. 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 ensure you complete each part carefully. Even the most durable garage doors can be damaged if you use the wrong cleaning solution or an abrasive sponge on the surface. 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 during the cleaning process is the best method. Use this tool instead of a pressure washer. While it may be tempting to apply “more power” to the cleaning process, pressure washers can harm the integrity of the door. The intense water pressure can cause damage to 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 for spot-cleaning adamant 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 from diluted water.

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

These products can scratch or damage the door’s surface and erode the finish. The last thing you want to do is cause damage to your door while you are trying to clean it.

Opt for soft cloths and sponges that keep your door looking brand new and protect your garage door’s finish. 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. When you keep these parts clean, you are keeping 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 a regular part of home maintenance for any homeowner. While cleaning, you may encounter potential problems or concerns with your door. When those issues arise, call Quality Overhead Door. Serving the Toledo area for more than 40 years, we’re committed to providing the best products and services in the area

If you suspect your garage door needs a repair or replacement, our experienced, friendly staff are ready to help. Suspect a problem but not sure where to start? We can help with that, too. Contact us today with any questions so you can get your garage door back in top shape.



Need Help With Your Garage Door? If you suspect your garage door needs a repair or replacement, our experienced, friendly staff are ready to help.

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