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How to Clean a Garage Floor

How to Clean a Garage Floor
Learning the steps on how to clean a garage floor is a type of skill that every homeowner who has a garage should know. Cleaning your garage floor is one way to keep your garage to stay in excellent condition. But remember that cleaning your garage floor will depend on several factors and one of these is the materials used for your floor. Is it made of wood, cement, concrete, etc.?

Depending on the type of garage floor that you have and how dirty the flooring is, there are several different methods of cleaning your garage floor that you can use.

Scrubbing the Garage Floor

To achieve the best results, the first thing that you have to do when it comes to cleaning the garage floor is to remove all the things on the surface of your floor and to sweep off the heavy dirt as well as the debris as well. If the drywall on your garage is painted or that there are low electrical outlets in your garage, you may want to first cover those especially the ones that are lower than three feet. You can do this by taping it with some plastic drop cloths on the walls. This is to avoid water spots and short circuits due to electrical damage.

The easiest and the cheapest thing to do is to make use of a concentrated concrete degreaser, garden hose that has a high pressure nozzle, deck brush and elbow grease. If you do not own a degreaser, you can make use of a laundry detergent for cleaning the garage flooring.

First, you need to mix the laundry detergent to a bucket of warm water. It should be a ratio of 1/3 cup of detergent to a gallon of water. If you are using a degreaser, then refer to the directions recommended by the manufacturer. It is much easier if you divide the floor into sections when cleaning.

Afterwards, pour the soapy solution into a section and then scrub off the floor with the use of a deck brush. For extremely dirty floors, it would be a good idea if you allow the solution to set in for a few minutes right after the initial scrubbing so it will work with the dirt and grime. Right after it has set in for about ten minutes, pour in more solution and then scrub again. Follow it up with proper rinsing using the garden hose with a high pressure nozzle. When you are done, you can move on to the next section.

Keep in mind that you have to make sure that the solution you use to scrub off the floor will not dry up easily right before you rinse it off. The reason is because the contaminants on the concrete pores will be emulsified and lifted off in the solution while it’s still wet. This will make it easier for you to rinse off with the use of the hose with high pressure nozzle. If the solution starts to dry out, the contaminants might be left behind during the rinsing process.

Using Equipment in Cleaning the Garage Floor

Concrete is porous by nature and it can easily be embedded with dust, dirt and grime as time goes by, especially if you will not clean it quite often. So if you are dealing with a garage floor such as this, you may need to consider using an equipment to make the job so much easier and to achieve great results even if your garage floors are extremely dirty.

One machine that you might want to consider is the pressure washer. The pressure washer can save you a lot of time in having to scrub off the floor and it is a great equipment to use for cleaning concrete floors. Some pressure washers will make use of a degreaser to achieve additional cleaning action.

If you do not own a pressure washer, you can consider renting. The machine is not really that expensive to rent and you can easily find them at any home improvement store. There are also equipment rental centers that offer rental services for pressure washers so you may want to check on these. To achieve effective cleaning with great results, go for a pressure washer that has a minimum of 3000 PSI and that it should be used at a water flow rate of three gallons per minute.
The best way to use the pressure washer in cleaning the garage floor is to presoak the concrete to a cleaning solution for the first ten to fifteen minutes then work in sections. As soon as the area has soaked up, pour in more water to the floor and then grab the pressure washer and start rinsing the dust and grime.

For extremely stubborn areas such as floors that have stains, you can make use of a pressure washer that has a more powerful tip. You just have to be careful not to stay longer in one area if you are using the pressure washer and make sure that you keep the tip to move regularly. Since the water action is very abrasive, you could end up etching the surface of the garage floor if you are not careful.

There is also another device that you may want to consider using which is the floor buffer that comes with a nylon scrubbing head. This is ideal for use in concrete floors. You can choose to rent this equipment as well and it’s also inexpensive to rent. Make sure to inform the rental company however that you will need the buffer that has a head ideal for cleaning concrete floors.

If you are using a floor buffer, you can clean the garage floor in the same manner with using a deck brush. Simply substitute the deck brush with the floor buffer and take your time as you go on to let the buffing machine do the work. You may want to add a little amount of water as you scrub off the floor in order to keep the solution to stay wet and foamy.

Cleaning the Grease and Oil Stains

After the heavy cleaning on your garage door is done, you can now deal with the oil stains and greases that have not been completely taken off by simply scrubbing.

The best way to deal with oil stains and greases is to wet the stain as well as its surrounding areas and then apply the degreaser towards the oil spot in full strength. The reason why you may need to wet it first is to keep the contaminants of the stain from spreading towards the dry area. Scrub the degreaser and let it for a while then apply more degreaser then scrub off the floor and rinse with the hose that has a high pressure nozzle.

You can mix a laundry detergent with heavy concentration to water and it should have a consistency similar to a liquid paste. Make sure that the concrete is wet right before you apply it and then start scrubbing again. And once again, let the floor sit without drying it out before you rinse it off. Doing these things can help to address the usual oil stains and grease spots that are common on garage floors.

Removing Rust Stains

There are certain ways on which you can get rid of the rusts on your garage floor. For small spots, the easiest way is to make use of white vinegar or lemon. The white vinegar is much easier than lemon, especially if the rusty spots are larger. Simply squeeze the lemon towards the area with rusts or pour the vinegar then leave it there for five minutes or more. You can add more lemon juice or vinegar if the rusts have not gone off then scrub it well with the use of a stiff brush. Rinse the area well with water and repeat the steps if necessary.

The oxalic acid is another product that you can use in removing tougher stains and rusts on your garage floor. You can purchase this from a home improvement store or any hardware store in your area. Some of the concrete cleaners used for rust stains are made of oxalic acid and you can simply mix the concrete cleaners with water to achieve a soapy paste texture. Then, apply the oxalic acid directly towards the area with rusts and leave it there for five minutes before you begin scrubbing again. Make sure that you rinse it well afterwards and repeat the steps if necessary.

For extremely tough rust stains, you can make use of a mild solution of muriatic acid. But be very careful with using the product and it is recommended that you prepare a ratio of 10 parts of water to one part of muriatic acid. More is not always better in this regard except if you are preparing the concrete floor for coating. If you mix it with a very strong concentration, it could etch the concrete and will make it look different than the rest so your garage flooring will look unsightly.

Removing Old Paint and Sealers

If you plan on applying coating on your garage floor, then you may need to remove any kid of residue in the surface, like old paint, topical sealer with thin film or mastic. This must first be done before any attempt is done for cleaning. There are two different ways you can use and it mainly depends on what is added on the concrete floor.

The first method is the use of chemical stripper. This product is more expensive than solvents and might take more time on working on the product. However, it is much safer for you to use and for the environment as well. If you need to clean the floor right before you lay down a floor covering like mats and tiles, then removing the old sealers is absolutely necessary.

Final Tips

One of the tools that you can use on cleaning the garage floors aside from the tools that were already mentioned is the squeegee. This tool is very effective at moving large amount of water out of the garage and for clearing the water on low areas. If you do not own a squeegee, then you can make use of an old push broom. It is a great alternative to consider.