Cleaning the garage floor is one of those things that we are all horribly guilty of putting off until we can’t ignore it any longer. Unfortunately, it is one of those jobs that doesn’t get any easier the longer we leave it. Indeed, it gets exponentially worse.
Here we look at the five steps to clean your garage floor that seek to make light work of such an onerous job. Some elbow grease is definitely still required, but if you are in need of sprucing up and tidying up your garage, cleaning the floor is a key component in doing so. Plus, by following our simple steps to cleaning your floor, you will be able to paint it, should you wish, any colour you want with garage floor paint. Cleaning the floor is a key preparation step to make sure that any painting you do undertake, leaves a fantastic finish to the garage floor paint you have chosen.
Make no mistake, cleaning your garage floor is tough. The steps here make your life easier so that you do the job properly so that you do not need to spend time redoing anything which wastes your time.
Remove Anything and Everything From the Floor
This is probably a step that most people try to take shortcuts on but will make the biggest difference to both the outcome and the speed with which you finish cleaning your garage floor – for garage floor paint or otherwise.
It is imperative, however, that the garage is completely cleared from any debris. Not only does it make every single step following it much easier and more efficient, it will help to prevent and damage to any items caused by water, paint or cleaning fluids.
Once your garage floor is completely cleared, sweep the entire expanse twice to remove any remaining debris that has encroached your garage over the years.
Prep the Rest of the Room
If you have electrical points inside your garage, remember to cover them up at this point too. The following steps include a great deal of water that these points need to be protected from. It is easy to do by simply attaching plastic sheeting across them and any other other parts of the wall that you want to stay damage free.
To continue preparing the room, for garage floor paint or a sealant, there are several options available of varying prices.
One of the cheapest is simply to attach a high pressure nozzle to the end of your garden hose in conjunction with some specially formulated concrete degreaser that will attack any oil spills or similar. You will also need a stiff brush, some cleaning solution and a little of your own patience.
Now Use Some Elbow Grease
This is the part where you sadly have to get down on your knees and scrub. Pour a little of your cleaning solution onto a part of the garage floor and start scrubbing away with it and your stiff brush. It can sometimes help if you spread the solution around a little first and leave if for a couple of minutes just so that it can start to loosen any ingrained dirt so that when you do start scrubbing it is that little bit easier. Never leave it for more than 10 minutes though and do apply more solution if, after you have scrubbed, the grime has not dislodged at all.
- Rinse and repeat
Then you need to rinse away your hard work using your high pressure hose. Once you have rinsed away the now dirty solution, move onto the next bit of floor you want to clean.
The reason you should not leave the solution to dry for more than 10 minutes in the first instance is because the dirt will only be removed if it is wet. Letting a solution dry only further dries the dirt into a concrete floor’s porous surface.
- Leave to Dry
When you have done this in several sections across the floor, let the floor then dry and see if you have missed any spots before moving onto the next stage. It is more than likely that there will still be the odd oil spill stain.
Getting The Equipment Right For Cleaning A Garage Floor
One of the reasons that cleaning a garage floor – either to cover it with a fresh lick of garage floor paint or not – is so hard, is that the concrete floor is porous and so collects dirt over many years which is made worse by the fact that the garage is where we leave muddy boots and park our dirty cars.
There are some pieces of equipment that can make cleaning the floor that little bit easier than getting down on your hands and knees with a stiff bristled brush.
A proper pressure washer is perhaps the best place to start and they have the added benefit of often being able to take some degreasing solution within it too thus making your job even easier. You don’t need to buy a pressure washer either – they are available to rent from many hardware stores. This is not expensive to do though try to get the best you can afford as they can really vary in strength and therefore efficiency.
When using a pressure washer as opposed to scrubbing your floor first, you will need to soak your floor initially in a cleaning fluid. Again, don’t let this set for more than 10 minutes. Once that time has passed, start moving over your floor in sections but ensure that you do not leave the hose on one particular spot for too long. If you do, you’re in danger of scuffing the surface of the concrete which will look 10 times worse if you then apply garage floor paint.
Another piece of equipment that can be really useful to get your hands on is a floor buffer. You’ll need a specialised head for concrete but both component parts are usually quite cheap to rent as well. A buffer machine works like you would with a stiff bristled brush so take your time if you are using one of these and sometimes help the machine out a little by adding more water to the floor. Machine buffers have sometimes been known to lighten the colour of a concrete floor by several shades once the job is completed.
What To Do On Stubborn Grease Stains
Getting rid of grease stains from oil spills or otherwise is, perhaps, the most frustrating part of cleaning a garage floor. You can only really do it when you have cleaned everywhere else and can see what dirt patches are left.
You will need to apply degreasing solution to the stain that has not been watered down, but you do need to wet the stain first. This will stop the solution going onto the clean parts of your floor.
Then get down on your hands and knees again and start scrubbing away at the stain. If needed, attack the stain with more and more degreaser until all you have to do is rinse it away with the high pressure nozzle on your hose.
There are other home made solutions that have been known to help on grease stains but a specialist degreaser is perhaps the easiest remedy.
The older the stain the more difficult it will be to remove and the more likely it is to have caused a discolouration on your floor. It can mean that sometimes you are not sure if you cleaned the area properly or not. To check this, all that you need to do is put some clean water on the area. Only a few drops are needed. If the water collects in small beads, there is still some grease or oil there. If it soaks in, the surface has been cleared of any oil.
How Do I Clean Rust Stains From My Garage Floor
Other than grease, rust is another way that your garage floor gets stained over the years. Luckily, it is a little easier than grease to remove and can be treated with some much softer chemicals that can be found in your kitchen cupboards.
To start with, soak the spots in either lemon juice or white vinegar. Both are equally successful in removing rust. Leave the liquid on the stains for about five minutes to let the acids do their work. From here, get out your stiff bristled brush again and scrub away at the stain. When it looks like it has been removed from being embedded in the surface, rinse the area completely with some fresh clean water.
How To Remove Paint Stains From Your Garage Floor
We are all guilty of spilling paint on our garage floor only to forget about cleaning it properly so that it dries out and becomes a much bigger problem in the future. Yet, if you are planning on painting your garage floor to get it looking brand new, you actually need to remove these stains before you apply any more paint. Plus it needs to be done before you start trying to clean your floor of any dirt or grime.
There are a couple of ways you can do this. Firstly, you can look into hiring a chemical stripper. These are highly effective, though they can be relatively expensive to hire outright – regardless of the model you choose. However the bonus is that they are good for the environment in a way that many cleaners that are powerful enough to remove paint, are not.
A floor grinder is the other option which can not only remove paint, it can also remove mastic and sealers as well. It is certainly a lot messier to use a grinder than a chemical stripper but it is less physically demanding on you. They are more expensive to hire however. They work the same way an electric sander would work on a wood surface, gently scuffing away the paint along with a thin layer of the concrete that is imperceptible to the human eye.
Getting Your Garage Floor Clean – The Bottom Line
Remember that getting your garage floor clean will take some time and effort. Any short cuts you take will probably end up making you expend more energy in future trying to rectify what you did wrong or simply didn’t do in the first place.
Getting your equipment ready and prepared before you start is a good tip that will make the whole process much easier in the long run. In addition to the equipment mentioned above, a big mop or highly absorbent sponge or two comes in very useful when you need to dispense with all the water from a hose or a pressure washer. They’re cheap to buy too and can be used again around the home.
If you have cleaned your garage floor with the intention of applying garage floor paint afterwards, do not rush through the cleaning process. Painting over dirt will not only leave a shoddy looking finish, it will also not last as long and will need redoing much sooner than if you were to have cleaned the floor more carefully.
Keep in mind the final result when you are cleaning your floor too as it can be quite demotivating work due to how laborious it can be sometimes. But it will make your garage look so much better and much brighter when you have finished – so much so that you will kick yourself that you didn’t do it sooner in the first place.