By Marty Ross
Cleaning your garage floor is one task that rarely makes it on your list of to-dos. However, without regular cleaning and maintenance, serious clutter and grime can build up leaving the garage in poor condition. Removing dirt, chemicals and unwanted stains will keep your garage floor from wearing away and safe for you and your family.
Occasional oil or grease stains are inevitable in a garage. Cars, lawn mowers, and other outdoor power equipment may leak fluids. You may also spill a drop or two of oil when working with tools. It’s best to try and clean these spills right away to avoid slipping on fresh oil, tracking it into the house, or leaving a stubborn stain.
To clean a fresh spill, sprinkle cat litter or sawdust on oil or grease to absorb the liquid. Leave the litter or sawdust on the spill for about a day, then sweep it up and dispose of it properly.
Once you’re done sweeping, pour dry dish soap or laundry detergent onto the stain. Let it sit for 45 minutes. Next pour water on the area and scrub with a nylon-bristle brush, which will not scratch the surface of the concrete. Allow the soap to sit for 10-15 minutes and scrub again. After scrubbing, rinse with a power jet wand, diluting and directing the soapy water out of the garage.
Older stains are more difficult to remove. You can repeat the cleaning process several times, or buy a de-greasing product at a home- or builder’s-supply store. Even with these products, you may need to apply them and scrub several times to remove stubborn stains.
Rust stains leave a telltale mark on concrete garage floors. Tools like screwdrivers, hammers or nails, will leave rusty spots if they sit too long on the garage floor, especially if they get wet. Wheel hubs, garden tools or metal buckets can also leave rust stains.
To remove these stubborn marks, squeeze a lemon or pour white vinegar on the stain and allow the liquid to sit for 10 minutes or so. Then scrub with a nylon-bristle brush and rinse the area with water. You may need to repeat the process several times for stubborn rust stains.
Another option is to make a thick paste using laundry detergent that contains baking soda. Mix water and detergent together and leave it on the rust stain for an hour. Be sure to continually keep the paste wet otherwise it will harden and become ineffective. Finally, scrub with a nylon-bristle brush and rinse with a hose.
Paint stains can be hard to remove. However, with a few simple steps, you should be able to get rid of them. First, use a putty knife to scrape off loose paint, then sweep the area around the stain.
Mix a solution of TSP and water, follow directions on the label and wear glove. Pour the solution on the stain and scrub it into the remaining paint. Rinse with water. Next, scrape any remaining bits of paint off the concrete floor and rinse again.
For tough paint stains, you may need a commercial paint stripper. This solution should stay on the stain for several hours before scraping or scrubbing the concrete. Wear gloves and make sure the garage is well ventilated.
For regular cleaning, a solution of baking soda and water will loosen dirt and grease and help keep your garage floor clean. Mix a half-cup baking soda in a gallon of warm water and use it as an all-purpose cleaner.
You can also mix baking soda with a few drops of liquid soap, to make a paste, and use it to scrub light stains.
Don’t underestimate the power of warm, soapy water to keep your floors clean and remove minor stains. Mix about one-third cup powdered laundry detergent in a gallon of warm water, and scrub with a nylon-bristle brush. After cleaning your garage floor, always rinse with your power jet wand. The power jet wand is perfect for this job because the powerful stream will make rinsing quick and easy.
A garage is a hard-working room and spills are bound to occur. Put a little muscle into existing stains to clean them up, and take care of new spills without delay. Doing it a bit at a time makes it easy to keep your concrete garage floor clean.
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