One of the most common reasons people choose to go with epoxy floor coatings because they’re incredibly durable and easy to maintain.
But as easy as that sounds, epoxy garage floors still need to be cleaned and protected to help them last a long time. Even simple dust and dirt can cause the epoxy finish to wear down given time.
So how do you care for epoxy floors?
Epoxy garage floors are incredibly durable, but even the highest grade epoxy floor coating isn’t indestructible if not properly maintained. To keep epoxy coatings in the best shape, here are a few things to do to clean and maintain your garage floor:
- Never use harsh chemicals to clean epoxy floor coatings – it’ll dull the finish!
- Sweep it frequently with a dust-mop or wet mop.
- Clean up any spills immediately soft cloth, kitchen scrubbing sponge, or paper towel so they don’t set in.
- For deeper cleaning, use a diluted cleaning solution of Simple Green, or even a pressure washer.
This article will give you a brief rundown of everything you need to know to care for your polycuramine or epoxy floor coating. We’ll cover the right and wrong cleaners and tips to protect your garage floor so it can last a lifetime.
So let’s get started.
Environmentally Friendly Epoxy Cleaners?
First, a quick word on selecting the right cleaning product. This applies to any cleaning product, not just ones designed for your epoxy garage floor.
Using a cleaning product – ANY cleaning product – on your garage floor means that it will quickly find its way into the ground as soon as you’re done.
That’s called ‘direct release’ into the environment.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a set of guidelines to help consumers find products that will do the job but not be toxic to the environment.
Those guidelines are called the Safer Choice standard. If you want to read more information, you can find it on the EPA’s website here.
More importantly, the EPA has a consumer-friendly search function set up to help us find effective products that are still environmentally friendly.
You can use that search page to find products that meet the Safer Choice Standard.
Each product will clearly say whether it’s “acceptable for outdoor use.”
That said, just because a product is environmentally friendly doesn’t mean that it’s friendly to your epoxy floor!
Let’s look at some types of cleaning products that you should never use on your epoxy garage floor.
Never Use These Products On Your Epoxy Floor
I guarantee at least one thing on this list will be a head-scratcher, but stick with me, OK?
As tough as epoxy garage floor coatings are, some cleaners may cause damage to the finish. You won’t necessarily see the damage right away. However, your epoxy floor won’t be as shiny and may even develop some pitting over time.
Avoid these types of cleaners at all costs!
Citrus Cleaners or Vinegar
I use citrus cleaners on my bamboo floor all the time. It’s an all-natural cleaner that helps protect a wooden finish with essential oils.
The trouble is, those same oils add an extra layer to your epoxy floor, making it very slippery.
But it gets worse.
Over time, those same essential oils will eat away at your glossy finish, and your epoxy coating will lose its shine.
Do yourself a favor and skip any citrus-based cleaners for your epoxy floor.
A quick note: Simple Green is NOT a citrus-based cleaner (source), but we’ll discuss Simple Green in more detail later in this article.
Strong Acidic or Basic (Alkaline) Cleaners
Here’s a short chemistry lesson.
The pH scale is from 0 to 14, with pure, distilled water being smack in the middle with a pH of 7. Anything less than 7 is acidic, and anything higher than 7 is called alkaline, or basic if it is water-soluble.
The farther away from 7 you go in either direction, the stronger the substance is.
For example, soaps will usually be around a pH of 7-8, while bleach will be between 12-13. Vinegar is at the opposite end of the spectrum with a pH of around 3. (source)
What does that mean for your epoxy floor?
We’re already talked about the durability of an epoxy coating that helps it protect concrete against damage from moisture and cracks.
But that coating also makes your epoxy garage floor look great.
And that’s where you want to be careful with what you use to clean it. A strongly acidic or basic cleaner will start to eat away at the coating, making it lose that signature epoxy shine.
You’re probably thinking, “You mean to tell me that I shouldn’t use soap on my epoxy floor? How am I supposed to clean it?”
I want to be clear here: A mild soap is safe to use on epoxy floors, but they might not be safe to walk on afterward.
Most soaps and household cleaners contain several ingredients that make them difficult to rinse the product clean.
If you don’t thoroughly clean all of the soap off, it’ll leave a thin residue behind, like the soap-scum film in your shower.
In the short term, that makes your epoxy coating slippery when wet, so you’ll need to be extra careful when walking on it, so you don’t slip and fall.
Over time, the soapy film accumulates, and that beautiful epoxy shine starts to look dull and faded.
I feel I don’t need to go into a lot of detail on this one.
Abrasive cleaners, such as Comet or harsh chemicals, can damage the surface of the epoxy floor, leading to the weakening of its protective coating over time.
Also, avoid using steel wool, plastic mesh pads, or other physical abrasives to try to clean tough stains. You might clean up the stain, but you’ll take a good chunk of the epoxy finish as well.
What Do You Use to Clean Epoxy Floors?
Believe it or not, the best cleaning product for your epoxy floor is plain old, ordinary warm water.
In most cases, that’s all you’ll need.
Remember, an epoxy floor coating is a layer of protection and durability, not only against damage to your floor but also against stains and dirt.
It’s not as good as the Teflon coating on a non-stick frying pan, but it will make it harder for dirt and liquids to stain the floor.
If you spill something on your epoxy garage floor, it shouldn’t cause any issues if you clean it up quickly.
If you don’t want to hassle with hosing out your garage, a hand vacuum cleaner or Shop-Vac will make quick work of dirt and dust.
For an even quicker cleaning, a hard foam mop works wonders too.
Either a dust mop or a vacuum will let you clean your epoxy floor without using any harsh cleaners that may damage the floor.
Stubborn Stains on your Epoxy Floor?
If you’ve got a tough stain, it doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck.
Spills such as oil, gasoline, or other chemicals can end stain your epoxy coating if not cleaned quickly.
When you need more cleaning power, use a mixture of one gallon of hot water and one-half cup of either ammonia or Simple Green.
Use caution with ammonia, however. It is moderately alkaline (pH of around 11), so be sure it is diluted well!
Personally, I prefer using Simple Green which has a pH of around 9. You can use either the general all-purpose cleaner or Simple Green Oxy Solve Concrete and Driveway Cleaner. It helps remove tire marks, too.
Both can be used with your pressure washer for a deeper clean.
That’s right, pressure washing is safe for your epoxy floor as long as you follow some simple safety guidelines! I go into all of those and offer some tips in my article discussing whether you can pressure wash garage floors here.
Light-duty cleaner that's great to use with your pressure washer for everyday stains to give your garage floor a brighter, cleaner look.
Sample Schedule for Cleaning Epoxy Garage Floor
The easiest way to keep your epoxy floor looking great is to make cleaning it a part of your regular routine.
Take it easy. I don’t mean that you have to worry about your garage floor every day.
Follow these few simple steps to keep your epoxy floor looking like new.
Once a Week:
Once a week, or more for high traffic garage floors, use a dust mop to quickly clean off dirt and dust. If any areas need attention or if there was a spill you missed, this helps ensure nothing sits on the epoxy floor surface long enough to cause permanent staining or damage.
Once a Month:
Each month use a damp mop or sponge mop to go over the entire floor surface after using the dust mop.
This will pick up any smaller debris, such as tiny pebbles or even sand that may be left behind. There is no need to use any cleaning solutions unless you need to take care of a spill or stain.
Twice a Year:
Even epoxy floors can use a deep cleaning from time to time.
A couple times a year, it’s good to thoroughly clean your garage floor. This is the perfect time to use Simple Green or polish your epoxy floor.
Make sure to rinse your garage floor with fresh water when you’re all done.
Quick Tips for Protecting Your Epoxy Floor
Here are a couple of bonus tips to help keep your epoxy floor looking its best and lasting a lifetime.
- Consider placing garage mats underneath when storing heavy items. This prevents dust and dirt from settling and helps protect the floor from impact damage.
- Things that could leak fluids such as oils, gasoline, or even water should be placed on shelves or garage cabinets that let you clean under them. Preventing spills can go a long way to keeping your epoxy garage floor coating looking great.
As you can see, it’s simple to take care of epoxy flooring and only takes a little bit of time.
I hope you found these cleaning tips helpful. This is a general guide to cleaning epoxy garage floors. Always follow any specific instructions provided by the company that installed your flooring. They will know the particular cleaning requirements for the epoxy formula they have applied to your floor surface.
If you’re still deciding whether epoxy flooring is right for you, check out my article titled Should I Epoxy My Garage Floor?