When it comes to sprucing up a property, we often focus exclusively on the inside. But the exterior of your home is just as important and goes a long way to giving a great first impression and boosting kerb appeal.
Your garage is just as much a part of your property as the rest of the façade, and it needs regular maintenance to keep it looking its best. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips on how best to clean your garage door and what you need to avoid to maintain its appearance for as long as possible.
Materials you’ll need to clean your garage door
Before you can start cleaning your garage door, you need to make sure you’ve got the right tools for the job. You’ll need a hose, a mild soap or cleaning detergent (what you use for your dishes or your car will work fine), and a soft sponge or cloth. You will also need a ladder to reach the top of the door and lastly spray wax if you have a steel garage door and especially if you live in a coastal area, as this will protect against corrosion.
How to wash a garage door
The first step to cleaning your garage door is to remove any debris and grit that has built up on the surface, which means hosing it off with clean water to lift any loose dirt and grime. Once you’ve removed the worst of the dirt, you can then use a wet cloth or sponge to wipe the door, using a mild soap mixed with warm water.
Wipe down the surface of the door thoroughly and then hose it off again to remove any soap suds. Make sure you dry the door with a clean, dry cloth or towel to remove the moisture and when it’s fully dry, you can then go in with a spray wax, depending on the material your door is made from, to protect the door from corrosion.
When you’re cleaning the door, don’t forget about the other features besides the main panels. For example, the weatherstripping along the bottom and sides can collect moisture and mildew plus mould can develop, so it’s worth wiping these down regularly. Likewise, the garage door tracks should be cleaned to keep them functioning well. A garage door lubricant can be applied to the metal components of your door to keep them operating smoothly and to prevent rust.
What to avoid during the cleaning process
Cleaning your garage door is just as much about knowing what not to do in order to preserve it for as long as possible. Here are a few common mistakes property owners make when cleaning their garage door that you should avoid if you want to minimise the risk of damage.
- Skip the pressure washer: It may seem like a way to speed up the process, but pressure washers are too powerful for a garage door and you run the risk of denting the surface or chipping the paint, regardless of the material it’s made from. A standard garden hose may take a little longer but it’s gentler and will remove the grime and soap without causing any damage to the door itself.
- Don’t use harsh cleaners or sponges: Harsh cleaners, abrasive sponges and bleach will scratch your door’s surface and could erode the finish. Mild soaps will preserve the appearance while still being effective in removing any dirt and debris. If there’s a stain, use a dedicated cleaner that’s designed for the job and avoid using bleach.
- Wash the door out of direct sunlight: You may think washing the garage door in the sunshine is the right choice, but actually it’s a large area that traps heat (especially if it’s a dark coloured door). If it gets too hot, it will break down the chemicals in the soap or wax as you apply them, resulting in a chalky finish which you want to avoid. Instead, clean the door early in the morning or late afternoon for the best results.
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How often to clean your garage door
It’s recommended you wash your garage door at least twice a year – once in the spring and once in autumn. Naturally, the more often you clean it, the less you’ll need to do each time, making it a relatively quick and easy task to complete. But if you live near the coast, or near a busy road which kicks up a lot of dust, dirt or grit, it’s worth cleaning the door a bit more regularly to keep it well maintained.
The material it’s made from also impacts how often you’ll need to clean it – a wooden garage door, for example, needs to be cleaned more regularly to remove the build-up of moisture so it doesn’t develop rot or mildew.