For many, the garage is one of the most important places in the house. Not only is it great for storage, but it can be used for various projects such as woodworking and painting. Of course, there’s also the obvious—it protects your vehicle from the outside elements. Considering all its uses, it’s not surprising that the floor tends to accumulate a lot of dirt and grime. As you can imagine, debris also makes its way inside when the doors open and close. While it might be tedious, it is important that you try to keep the garage clean. For one thing, too much dust can trigger allergies and cough. Overall, it’s just not good for your health.
Why it’s Important to Clean the Garage Floors
Accumulation of dirt, dust, and other debris can have an impact on our health in the long run
Oil and grease stains on the floor can lead to slips and falls
Cleaning the floor helps to prevent damage (e.g. leaks, foundation issues) in the long run
- The dirt and grime can easily be tracked into the house
Cleaning the floor regularly will make maintaining it much easier
A mop can be quite useful when it comes to cleaning garages. Before you get started though, you’ll probably want to the prepare the area—especially if it’s been a while since your last mopping session. To be more specific, it’s a good idea to remove objects (e.g. tools, gardening supplies, bicycles, etc.) from the floor that might get in the way. After you’re done, use a vacuum to get rid of the dust and debris; this will make the actual mopping much easier later.
As you’re probably aware, there are various types of flooring that are commonly used in garages. We will be going over how to clean each of them below.
How to Mop and Clean Concrete Floors
Many garages consist of concrete flooring. Due to the fact that it is porous, however, it tends to accumulate a considerable amount of dirt. For this reason, it’s important that you clean it periodically.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll first want to remove all loose debris with a good sweep. From there, use a dust mop to pick up any leftover dust and particles. Once you’re finished, you can prepare to mop. Fill a large bucket with water and add a small amount of cleaner. Next, dip your wet mop into the container; wring out the excess liquid. Afterward, you can begin to mop the floor in small sections. Depending on how dirty the concrete is, you might have to rinse and wring out the mop frequently.
For tough stains, you’ll want to use a power washer. Given that you use it properly, you should be able to blast away most of the dirt and grime in one afternoon. To use it, just move the wand from side to side; the motion should be similar to what you’d use for mopping. Sometimes, that might not be enough to get rid of the stains. If this is the case, you’ll want to scrub it after applying a bit of bleach. For grease stains, fresh kitty litter does the trick. Spread a thick layer over the area and let it sit for a couple of days. From there, sweep it up and put it in the trash (do not dispose of it in the sewer as it can lead to plumbing issues).
How to Mop and Clean Epoxy Floors
Epoxy coatings are tough and durable. Relatively affordable, they can also be used to cover up minor imperfections on the underlying floor. Perhaps the best part of all, however, is that they are resistant to almost everything including oil, moisture, bleach, gasoline, and more. Still, they require a good cleaning every once in a while.
Remember, epoxy is vulnerable to scratching. Prior to mopping, prepare the floor by sweeping away the dirt and debris. Take your time—even if it you have to move around some of the things in the garage. When you’re done, prepare a cleaning solution by mixing one gallon of water with a small amount of dish soap. Upon mixing the ingredients together, soak the wet mop in the bucket. Wring out the excess fluid and you’re ready to mop the epoxy flooring. Unless you are cleaning a small area, you will have to rinse and wring it out multiple times during your mopping session.
Note: Mops made out of synthetic materials are ideal for cleaning epoxy floor coatings
If you clean the floor regularly, that might be all that you need to do. However, it’s not uncommon for there to be a few stains left over. For those problem spots, you’ll have to scrub using a brush with soft bristles. Avoid using ones with hard bristles as that can scratch the floor coating.
To finish up, rinse away the soap with water. While it’s optional, it’s a good idea to dry the floor as too much moisture can lead to mold and mildew. You can do so by using a sponge and a bucket.
How to Mop and Clean Interlocking Floor Tiles
Interlocking floor tiles have grown in popularity over the past decade. Relatively affordable, they are available in a variety of textures, and colors. If you want, you can even create your own design with them! Easy to install, they can be put together in a matter of hours even if you’ve never dealt with them before. Given that they snap in place, you also won’t be needing any particular tools.
Ultimately, there are two different types of floor tiles—some are made out of hard plastic while others are made out of rubber. We’ll be going over both of them below.
How to Clean Hard Plastic Interlocking Floor Tiles
Hard plastic interlocking tiles are often considered to be more versatile out of the two. Made out of high-impact polypropylene, they are resistant to many things including grease, chemicals, oils, road salts, acids, and more, which makes them very easy to clean. With that said, dirt and grime will still accumulate on the surface over time. For this reason, you should give them a cleaning every once in a while (i.e. every 3-4 months).
As with most garage floorings, the first step is to get rid of the dust and particles with a dust mop (alternatively, you can also use a soft bristled broom). From there, you can use a wet mop to clean more thoroughly; this step is pretty straightforward—just dip the mop in a container of cleaner and you can get started. If your floors are very dirty, you might have to rinse it a few times. In terms of the best cleaning product, ammonia-based solutions tend to work well as they do not leave any streaks; they also bring back the shine. Avoid using foaming cleansers as they tend to attract dust and dirt on plastic.
Once you’re done mopping, take a look at the floor. If there are stains leftover, you can use a soft brush or a rag to gently scrub it out (with a cleaner, of course). When you’re done, rinse away the soap with water.
How to Clean Rubber Interlocking Floor Tiles
The other type is made out of PVC, a synthetic plastic polymer. Due to their rubber-like properties, however, they are often referred to as rubber tiles. Known for their solid construction, they are not only watertight, but are resistant against road salts and other chemicals. There are a few drawbacks, though. For one thing, they are generally more expensive; they are also prone to staining. Because of this, many people choose to protect it by applying a layer of acrylic coating.
As you can imagine, it’s not uncommon for small debris such as dirt to get lodged in the tiles. Fortunately, getting rid of them is easy—just use a broom or a vacuum. Once the particles are gone, you can get ready to mop the tiles.
Note: Do not use an acetone-based cleaner as that can stain the rubber tiles
One safe solution is to mix warm water with white vinegar in a bucket (alternatively, you can use a mild dish soap). Upon doing so, dip your mop in and you’re ready to clean. If there’s a particularly stubborn stain, you might have to apply a bit of extra pressure when you’re mopping. In some cases, you’ll have to use a hand brush to scrub the spot. When you’re done cleaning, you can just let the floor tiles air dry; there should be no visible streaks.
How to Mop and Clean Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring is tough and durable, which makes it ideal for garages. In addition to being easy to maintain, it is comfortable under foot as most are backed with a thin layer of foam or felt. As you can probably expect, it is also available in a range of colors and patterns to match your decor. It is important to note, however, that vinyl is prone to being be damaged by sharp objects.
Prior to mopping your vinyl floor, give it a good sweep to get rid of all the loose dirt. Not only will this make the later steps easier, but it will help to prevent particles from scratching the floor. If you don’t want to use a broom, you can use a vacuum cleaner—just be sure to use the right setting.
Once you’ve vacuumed or swept, you can begin mopping. Before doing that, however, you’ll want to prepare the right cleaning solution. If you don’t want to buy a commercial cleaner, you can make your own with vinegar and water. After mixing it, dunk the mop head in and you’re ready to go. Be sure to wring it out though, since too much water can damage the vinyl flooring. Never use bleach with vinyl flooring as it will lead to permanent stains
Note: Do not use a steam mop as the high-temperature vapor can damage vinyl floors
Don’t worry if there are still scuff marks after you’re done mopping. You can easily get rid of them using WD-40. Just spray it on a soft cloth, and rub the area. Within a few seconds, it should come right off.
How to Mop and Clean Carpet Tiles
Although it’s not as common, carpet tiles can be used in garages. As a matter of fact, they are relatively resistant to staining and some chemicals. Easy to assemble, they also help to insulate the flooring from cold temperatures. Having said that, there are a few drawbacks. For instance, they do not do well with metal shavings or wood chips. If you like tackling projects in the garage, you might want to go for a different type of flooring.
As far as cleaning goes, it is pretty straightforward. First, you’ll want to use a vacuum to get rid of the dirt and debris that’s embedded in the carpet. Next, you can use a steam mop to give it a thorough cleaning; the high-temperature steam will effectively sanitize and clean the tiles. In some cases, you might be able to use a cleaning solution with the device.
If there are stubborn stains, you can remove the problem tile for easier cleaning. For instance, you can spray it with a mild detergent or with a carpet shampoo. If necessary, scrub the area gently with a soft bristled brush. When you’re finished, rinse the tile thoroughly and let it dry completely. Do not put the tile back until it is fully dry (otherwise you might have to deal with mold and mildew). When you’re sure that it’s dry, you can snap it back into place on the carpet.
Note: If you don’t want to wait for it to dry, you can hasten the process by using a hairdryer
How to Mop and Clean Porcelain Tiles
When it comes to garage flooring options, porcelain tile is probably not one of the first things that you think of. Interestingly enough, however, it is becoming more and more popular in residential garages. Due to the fact that porcelain is very high density, it absorbs very minimal moisture; it is also resistant to staining. As an added plus, it is luxurious and fairly easy to maintain. Of course, there is also a variety of colors and textures that you can choose from.
As is the case with other floor types, you want to clean porcelain tile regularly to keep it in tip-top condition. More specifically, sweep the surface with a soft-bristle broom (you can also use a vacuum with a brush attachment). From there, mix a vinegar and water solution. Depending on your mop (steam mops are a good choice), you can either apply the cleaner directly to the floor or to the mop head. Mop the floor thoroughly from one corner to another (it is best to clean in small sections). If necessary, remove objects from the ground. When you’re done mopping the garage, rinse it with plain water. The final step is then to dry the surface with a clean microfiber cloth or towel.
Note: Do not use bleach or ammonia-containing products as those chemicals can stain the tiles. Also, avoid cleaning porcelain with hard bristles as that can lead to scratches.
For tough stains, sprinkle a bit of baking soda onto the tile before scrubbing it gently with a soft cloth. Afterward, wipe it again with a dampened mop. Alternatively, you can spray more cleaning solution to the problem area.