How to Quickly (and Easily) Clean a Garage Floor

Admit it: cleaning your garage floor isn’t high on your priority list for this weekend, right?

If you’re like me, you know how important it is…especially if your spouse reminds you as often as mine. 

Keeping your garage floor clean helps keep it in good condition, extending its useful lifespan. 

Still, most people put off cleaning their garage floors, myself included, until it turns into an all-weekend job.  

Let’s look at a simple, step-by-step process to help keep your concrete floor neat.

But first, here are some tools you’ll need to clean your garage floor.

You’ll NeedFor…
BroomsUsed to sweep away any dust that has settled on your garage floor
Mops

Used to remove liquid spills so they don’t get tracked in and around the garage
Vacuum ScrubbersEasily removes the dirt from a garage floor. It can be used on the walls and floors.
Steam CleanerUsed for cleaning both the concrete floors and walls. The steam cleaner uses hot water to clean the surfaces, making it easier for dirt to come off of surfaces when compared to using a traditional mop or broom.
ScrubbersUsed to clean off any dirt that is stuck on the floor. They are especially useful when you have a lot of dirt that needs to be cleaned up, such as after you have done some work on your car or the lawn mower.

How To Clean A Garage Floor In 5 Simple Steps

How to clean your garage floor

Step 1: Make Sure You Can Actually See Your Garage Floor

Before you clean your garage floor, you need to ensure everything is out of the way. It’s impossible to clean the floor when your cars, bikes, and boxes are in the way. 

You need to find a temporary home for them first.

Watch out for any tools, or rechargeable batteries tucked away in a corner. I can’t tell you how often I’ve found a battery pack in random places because someone didn’t put it back where it belongs. 

Before you start cleaning, place everything back in the proper toolbox, cabinet, or shelf. Anything that won’t get in your way can stay where it is. 

Finally, sweep out dirt, leaves, grass clippings, dead insects, and other debris. 

Step 2: Cover Baseboards and Electrical Outlets

Garage wall panels made of plywood or drywall can bloat, expand, and show water stains if wet enough. Worse yet, they could start to develop mold if they don’t dry out properly. 

Cover your electrical outlets and baseboards with a plastic tarp before hosing out your garage, especially if using a pressure washer. 

Step 3: Tackle Tough Stains First

It’s a good idea to tackle any stubborn stains on your garage floor before you wash it. 

In fact, I like to do this part of the process hours or even days before I wash the floor. It helps the cleaning solution settle in and break apart the stain, making your wash soap more effective. 

Stains are unavoidable due to metal rusting, paint, and oil spills from your cars or motorcycles. Removing stains from your concrete garage floor can save you time and money. 

Fresh stains should always be removed as soon as possible to keep your garage floor sparkling.

As you might imagine, different stains call for different solutions. Let’s look at some more common stains and how to remove each from your garage floor.

Rust Stains

Rust stains can quickly discolor the surface of a concrete floor. So, you need something that will sink in and lift the stain to get rid of it.

Though some commercial products are explicitly designed to remove rust stains, they don’t do much for older stains below the surface.

To remove old rust stains, you need an acidic substance. Natural products like lemon juice or white vinegar are very effective at cleaning concrete

Natural products are less risky than harsh chemical products. Lemon or vinegar can both be used to create an acidic reaction that can dissolve rust.

Create a mixture of white vinegar and lemon juice in a ratio of 1:1 without diluting. Pour the mixture on the stain and agitate with a hard-bristle brush. Then, rinse with warm water. 

Follow this procedure:

  • Using the hard-bristle brush, clean the region with pure white vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Let it soak up for ten to twenty minutes.
  • Rinse it thoroughly with cool, clean water. 

Oil Stains

If you work around machinery, you might accidentally track oil through your garage floor. Here are some simple steps to help you remove an oil spill stain.

For more information, check out my detailed guide to removing oil stains from concrete

  • First, lay down a layer of clay kitty litter or sawdust on top of the surface. 
  • Let the kitty litter sit overnight to absorb any remaining oil. 
  • After wiping away the kitty litter, use one of our recommended oil and grease cleaners on the remaining stains. 
  • Agitate the solution with a nylon-bristle brush, avoiding damaging the concrete’s surface. 
  • Rinse it and give it a few minutes to dry.

Paint

Follow these steps to clean a paint stain from your garage floor:

  • Clean the surface thoroughly and let it dry. You can use a rag soaked with ammonia and let it sit for about 20 minutes. For stronger stains, apply rubbing or denatured alcohol or paint stripper.
  • Use a putty knife to remove the discoloration. 
  • Use a small amount of force to remove the paint. 
  • Remove any lingering paint from the area using a soft sponge and warm, soapy water. 
  • Use a paper towel to dry it up.

Step 4: Pressure Wash (Or Hose Down) Your Garage Floor

You’ve cleared your garage space floor, covered the drywall, and removed the rust, oil, and paint stains. 

It’s time to pressure wash your garage floor!

Compared to a garden hose, pressure washers use eighty percent less water than a standard garden hose and will not damage the garage floor.

  • Start by lightly misting the garage floor with a degreasing concrete cleaner solution that is water-based. This is done to avoid streaks once it dries and dust launching into the air during high-pressure rinsing.
  • Some pressure washers could have an additional reservoir where you can add a degreaser. Before spraying, pull the pressure washer for 30 seconds to let the hose’s air out.
  • Use a surface cleaner afterward, and then give the area a vigorous rinse. You might want to rinse as you spray the entire garage with the cleaning solution because it could dry up and damage your concrete surface.

FAQs

What Is The Most Effective Chemical to Remove Mildew Spots From a Concrete Floor?

Trisodium phosphate is the best chemical to clean concrete with mildew stains. Two tablespoons of the substance should be mixed with two tablespoons of laundry detergent powder and one quart of water. 

Why is it Important to Paint Your Garage Floor?

Not only does painting your garage floor add a splash of color, but the paint also acts as a barrier against dirt and grime, making cleanup much more manageable.

Should You Use A Garage Floor Mat?

A garage floor mat protects the floor from cars and bike oil spills and prevents slipping. If you use liquids in your garage (and we ALL do), you should use a non-slip floor mat in high-traffic areas. 

What Is The Best Way to Clean an Unsealed Garage Floor?

Cleaning an unsealed garage floor is similar to cleaning a sealed floor, with only a few exceptions. 

You’ll still start by sweeping or vacuuming loose debris and tackling any stubborn stains. Then, wash the concrete using a mild soap solution before scrubbing with a stiff-bristled broom. Rinse and allow to dry. 

Because the surface is more porous, you must be careful which chemicals you use to clean it. Additionally, any stains must be dealt with immediately since they will quickly seep into the concrete. 


Conclusion 

Now that you know the right techniques to clean your garage floor, you must take the initiative to add them to your to-do tasks. 

Keeping your garage floor clean doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, a simple cleaning routine can go a long way to making the process easier. 

  • Avoid letting any metal sit directly on the concrete. This will help prevent rust spots. 
  • Clean up stains immediately.
  • Frequently sweep your garage floor.
  • Use a mat underneath your vehicles and lawnmower to catch oil stains.