Your garage door is an important part of your home. Keeping it in the best condition possible helps ensure it stays fully operational for years to come.
In addition to professional routine maintenance, cleaning plays the most important role in keeping your garage door in excellent condition. Taking the time to properly and thoroughly clean your door will help keep it looking good and working as it should. In some cases, cleaning might be a condition of your door’s warranty, too.
However, the cleaning process can vary depending on the material of your garage door. To get started, take a look at our guide on the best ways to clean your garage door.
Video provided by Clopay®
How to Clean Different Types of Garage Doors
One of the most common forms of damage you may see on a garage door that isn’t well maintained is rust. It can build up on the door when foreign materials such as salt stick to the door’s surface. Routine cleaning helps prevent rust before it ever becomes a problem.
There are a few different techniques to use if you are cleaning wood garage doors as opposed to steel garage doors, but this process performed twice a year works for almost all door types:
- Hose down the door with a light spray: Do not use a powerful spray since the water could strip the door’s protective coating along with the grime.
- Prepare your soap solution: Use one cup of a non-toxic and biodegradable cleaner mixed into five gallons of water or a gentle dish detergent. Do not use an abrasive, ammonia-based cleaner. You’ll strip away more than the dirt.
- Select a soft cleaning tool and wash the door: Use a new sponge or a soft cloth — soft microfiber will do the trick — to rub and lather the solution onto the door. Like the non-abrasive cleaner, you want something gentle, so you don’t remove the door’s finish.
- Start at the top and work your way to the bottom: Find a ladder if necessary to reach the top corners. You don’t want to miss a spot during cleaning. Use gentle, circular strokes to loosen up the grime. When the cloth gets dirty or dry, add more cleaning solution.
- Spray the door again to rinse: Once you have applied soap across the whole door, spray the door once again with a light stream of water. Allow it to dry naturally, or wipe it down with a chamois cloth.
Tips for Cleaning Your Garage Door
While cleaning your doors is a simple process, paying attention to the fine details will make a world of difference in keeping your door looking great. Here are some of the dos and don’ts of garage door tips and tricks.
Special Areas for Detailing
Cleaning a garage door goes beyond just getting the grime off the surface. You also want to make sure you clean the parts of the door you can’t see, such as the following:
- Garage door tracks: A lot of different debris can get stuck here, and unless you take a closer look, you might miss it. Dust, pet hair and leaves are just a few of the objects that could accumulate and cause the door to stick or jerk when opening or closing.
- Photo-eye sensors: These are especially important to clean. Without a clear visual path to each other, the photo-eye sensors will not allow the door to close all the way. Be sure they stay aligned as your are cleaning as well.
- Weatherstripping: This element of the door takes most of the responsibility for the garage’s climate control. Make sure you free the rubber from dirt and debris that would prevent it from doing its job.
Washing the Windows
The process of properly cleaning the windows does not vary too much from washing the surface of the door. The only extra step involves removing inserts as necessary.
As with the garage door surface, use a soft cloth and mild soap. Abrasive ammonia or solvent-based cleaners can cause damage.
Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be on your way to clean windows:
- Remove any window inserts.
- Clean with warm water to remove layers of dirt, grime and salt.
- Use a solution of mild dishwashing soap to complete the cleaning process.
- Wait for the window surface to dry.
- Replace the window inserts in the opposite manner you removed them.
When cleaning a Clopay garage door, the inserts have four tabs you can snap in and out of place to carefully remove the insert.
When cleaning your garage door, there are a couple of common mistakes to avoid:
- Using too much water pressure: A powerwasher might get the cleaning job accomplished quickly, but the powerful spray could strip the pre-finish from steel doors or tear away the top layer of a softer wood on a garage door. Taking your time and using a regular hose along with gentle cleaners will give you the results you are after.
- Using abrasive cleaning methods for the weatherstripping: When cleaning the weatherstripping, continue using a soft, damp cloth like you used on the outside. An abrasive tool, such as a broom, could cause damage to the weatherstripping. Since the weatherstripping plays such an important role in the insulation of your door, small nicks in the material could make it less efficient.
For Tough Conditions
If you live somewhere near the coast or in an area that would expose your garage door to a lot of road salt, wash the doors quarterly. The high salinity puts more of a strain on the surface of the door, so paying special attention to the door’s surface will help it stay looking good and last longer.
To further protect the door, consider adding a wax sealant to it. This is easy to apply. You can buy spray-on wax, and you only need to add a light spray after washing the garage door. Then wipe the applied wax spray down with a cloth. This way, your door will benefit from an extra layer of protection to help it stay safer longer. It only takes a few minutes, but it could make a world of difference to the surface of your door.
A Final Walk-Through
Once you finished your cleaning and detailing, try opening and closing the garage door. Watch carefully to make sure it moves smoothly and safely.
If you’re unsure if you cleaned the door correctly, you need professional service to get your door back to excellent shape, or you need a new garage door; contact Consolidated Garage Doors today. We’ll be happy to answer any maintenance questions you have and help make sure we meet all your garage door needs.