Garage Door: Tools and Tips for Safely Cleaning Your Garage Door

Cleaning your garage door regularly not only keeps it looking nice, but also keeps the mechanisms of the door operating properly. Regular cleanings increase the lifetime of you door and helps to ensure the safety of you and your property. Having the right tools, cleaners, and working methods will help you do the job right while staying safe.

Tools and Cleaners

When cleaning your garage door, you personal attire should be appropriate for the job and include: clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty and wet, safety glasses, and work and latex gloves. Tools for the job should include: a bucket, ladder, sponges or cloths, wrenches, screwdrivers, and a broom. In the realm of cleaning and finishing solutions, you will need: water, detergent, non-silicon lubricant, and brake fluid.

Cleaning Vinyl and Wooden Garage Doors

For either a vinyl, steel, wooden garage door, you should start by using a broom to brush away cobwebs, dry leaves, and other large debris both inside and outside of the garage. To clean a wooden garage door, simple wipe the door panels with a soft, dry sponge or cloth, then inspect the panels to see if they need a fresh coat of paint or stain. In order to clean a steel or vinyl garage door, you must first dilute one cup of detergent in five gallons of warm water. Next, wet a sponge or cloth in the solution and wipe each panel of the door. Clean the inner and outer sides of the door one side at a time. Once the door has been wiped clean on one side, rinse thoroughly with a hose to remove residue from the detergent before moving on to the next side and repeating the cleaning process.

Check All Working Parts

Owners of garage doors should check the working mechanisms approximately every three months. This includes inspecting the springs, screws and bolts for tightness. A wrench is needed for making adjustments to bolts and a screwdriver is needed to tighten any loose screws. Work gloves should be worn during this phase of the cleaning process to avoid pinching your fingers while inspecting the springs or getting blisters while tightening bolts and screws.

The two types of springs you need to check are the torsion springs and extension springs. Tension springs are mounted above the garage door and are high-tension springs: they should be tightly wound. Extension springs are long, horizontally mounted springs; you will find these springs mounted. You must also inspect the cables, rollers, brackets and hinges, looking for fraying, worn spots, and rust. If you notice any problems with your garage door parts, call a trained technician to repair your garage door.

Checking Balance

Before trying to check the balance of your garage door, inhibit the remote control door opener (if you have one) and hinder the opener by pulling the cord and handle that hangs from the trolley at the top of the door. After disengaging the automated opening system, manually raise the door to your waist height, then slowly release the door, dropping it to the ground. If your garage door quickly drops or rises on its own, then the door is off balance and you will need to employ a trained garage door repair specialist to restore balance to your door. If the door is off balance, avoid using it because it may function poorly and not open and close safely.

Lubricating Garage Door Parts

As per manufacturer recommendations, you must use a non-silicon based lubricant. One option is to use motor oil lubricate your garage door parts. Metal rollers should be lubricated with motor oil. Be sure that you do not lubricate the nylon rollers as doing so will cause the door to slip and become imbalanced: hindering the door from opening and closing properly. Parts that need lubrication include the all springs, bearings, and hinges. Tracks should be cleaned and lubricated using brake fluid on a sponge or cloth; you should wear latex gloves while working with brake fluid to avoid skin irritation.

Tips for Best Results

Do not use abrasive brushes or sponges on your garage door-they will scratch the surfaces. Use mild detergents mixed with water. There are special detergents specifically made for cleaning garage doors, but you can also use dish washing detergent. To remove stains, use a standard, multipurpose, household cleaner to scrub away the stains. For faster cleaning, you can carefully use a pressure washer, also called a power washer, to remove dirt and debris from your steel, wooden, or vinyl garage door.


About Neb Aleksic

Neb grew up in the garage door business. Since joining Doorcare he has moved up in the ranks, and now oversees a team, in addition to Doorcare's marketing efforts. He is passionate about what he does, and enjoys the small things in life.
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