Keeping your garage clean and tidy ensures that you have a safe and functional space for storing your belongings, your car and working on those DIY projects. From general cleaning to more advanced garage improvements, if your garage is looking a little tired and cluttered it can be difficult to know where to start.
To help you keep the area in ship shape, we’ve got a few tips on how to maintain your garage, including cleaning tips, security advice and ways to optimise the space available to make the most of your garage.
Maintaining Your Garage Door
Ensuring that your garage’s external door is up to scratch is essential if you want to keep your possessions safe, dry and secure. And for garages with an internal connecting door, it can also help with insulation. What’s more, as garage doors can be extremely heavy-duty, any faults could have the potential to cause damage or injury when opening and closing it. For these reasons, you should inspect your garage door from time to time, and address any concerns that you may have immediately.
Dirt can accumulate in the tracks and hinges of your garage door, which can hinder the smooth opening and closing and even cause it to jam. So when cleaning your garage, don’t forget to tackle the door as well as the shelves, floor and your belongings! Use a slightly damp cloth to remove excess grease and dirt, without removing the lubrication of the hinges themselves. If these are squeaky or dry, buy a garage door lubricant to touch them up – you’ll notice how much easier the door moves when you do!
Next, you want to ensure that your garage is safe and secure. Check that none of the screws are loose – if necessary, tighten these up to ensure that moving elements are in good working order. Then, open the door itself and assess the condition of the handle and lock. Changing weather conditions can gradually warp the lock, reducing its ease of use and ultimately compromising its security.
For traditional garage doors with a lock inside the handle, stiffness can usually be addressed with a little lubricant. However, if this doesn’t solve the problem, it may be time to replace the garage door handle. Ideally, you need two people to complete the job effectively – one person should unscrew the handle from the inside, after which point the new handle can be slotted into position, to be secured from the inside.
For an electric garage door, check that the controls work to both open and shut the door. This may be unnecessary if you use your garage regularly, however you want to be sure that it’s accessible when you need it, and secure when you don’t. If the controls aren’t working or seem faulty, it could just be that the battery in the remote needs changing. However if the problem persists, your garage door opener could need a new motor. To replace this, make sure you choose an appropriate horsepower for the size of your door and garage, and ensure that the door is closed before disconnecting the old motor and assembling the new one.
Cleaning and Painting Your Garage Floor
When you’re rushing in and out of the garage, you want to minimise the risk of slips and falls by ensuring that the floor is clean and properly coated. A concrete floor can soon accumulate dirt, grime and oil, so it’s a good idea to give it a thorough clean every few months. Especially in wet weather, this can become slippery and extremely dangerous, so spend some time caring for your garage floor to reduce the risk of accidents.
Regular cleaning can prevent tyre marks, oil stains and hardwearing dirt from becoming stubborn and even permanent, so a monthly sweep and mop is good practice when maintaining your garage. First, sweep dirt and dust towards the exit, before inspecting the floor for any stubborn stains, such as tyre marks. To remove these, invest in a concrete degreaser or strong cleaning solution, and use a brush to gently scrub the spot. Once you’ve tackled these areas, mop the whole floor and leave to air-dry, ensuring that you work from the back towards the exit. If your garage floor has a coating, avoid using acidic cleaning solutions, as this can cause the coating to lose its shine and resistance over time.
Every few years, you should consider painting your garage floor, to improve its resistance to wear and tear, as well as its safety. A freshly painted floor not only stands up to the test of moving traffic, dirt and grime; done well, it will also add a burst of colour to your garage, so you feel like you’re driving into a showroom every time you bring the car in for the night. Painted concrete is also far easier to clean, so you can spend less time maintaining your garage in the long run.
Anti-slip floor paints are available in a range of colours, sealing your concrete or stone floor with a protective coating. Alternatively, epoxy floor paint requires a little extra effort during the painting process, but is extremely durable if you spend a lot of time in your garage.
Ensuring the safe-working of your garage electrics is essential if you want to avoid getting stuck in the dark or risking electric shock when using appliances. Appropriate lighting will reduce the risk of slips and trips, whilst making it easy to locate items quickly, day or night. Check that your lights are working properly from time to time, and always keep a spare bulb in the house in case it breaks.
If your garage has plug sockets, you should also check that these are working properly. Electrical socket testers are cheap and readily available, and can give you peace of mind that your garage plug sockets are safe and in good condition. As garages are much more vulnerable to problems such as damp, it’s crucial to pay attention to safety when using electronics in these rooms. Any problems should be addressed by a qualified electrician, rather than attempting to fix the electrical socket yourself.
Organising Your Garage Storage
Your garage can very quickly descend into a dumping ground if you don’t have any prescribed layout for storage. Do you have a designated area for tools, outdoor clothing and accessories, bikes and gardening equipment, and other miscellaneous items such as Christmas decorations? If not, you may find that assigning a layout for your garage will make it easier to manage and maintain. Spend some time clearing out your garage, to de-clutter and get rid of things that you no longer use, and sort the remaining items into categories.
Then, identify convenient areas for storage. Items that you use often, such as gardening items and tools, should be placed in more accessible areas of the garage; the harder-to-reach areas will be better suited to boxes of sentimental items and spare furniture.
If you find that floor space tends to become cluttered, consider installing additional shelving, to make use of the available wall space instead. Old drawers and filing cabinets are great for organising bits and bobs, and by labelling these you’ll find it easier to locate items when you need them. By taking the time to organise your garage into a logical setup, keeping it clean and tidy will become much less of a chore.
When maintaining your garage, there are three main elements to consider – its safety, its cleanliness, and its practicality. Often, these factors are interlinked: a grease stain could cause slips and trips, as well as reducing the appearance of your garage floor. Cleaning your garage doesn’t simply involve dusting the shelves and giving the floor a sweep; thoroughly checking the floor and door every few months, and keeping on top of its organisation, will ensure that you make full use of your garage year-round.