April showers bring May flowers.
April showers may also make things a little messy before you can enjoy the blooms of spring. You may find layers of dirt covering your driveway, walkways, and your unfinished garage floor, however, we have some solutions to help you manage spring cleaning with ease.
Respect for the garage
When buying a new house, often the builder’s idea of finishing the garage is to install drywall, tape, and mud it. They seldom paint the drywall and having them pour a concrete floor might be considered an upgrade. If you’re watching your budget and considering other enhancements to your new property, the garage might not receive the attention that it deserves.
There was a time, not that long ago, when the whole family left home to go off-site for education, exercise, shopping, and work returning home later in the day or early evening. We did not spend that much time in our homes, and for the most part we accepted the condition of our homes.
Now, we cannot avoid looking at our dwellings from many different perspectives. When space is at a premium for families who are bursting at the seams; basements, guest rooms, laundry rooms, and garages are prime candidates for expanding, waiting to be repurposed to accommodate home offices, online schooling, and work out spaces.
Clean up time
Bring out the hose, the rakes, and the shovels – that is if you can find them if the garage has become a dumping ground.
With the change of seasons, tennis racquets and other athletic equipment may not have not found their way back to their designated areas, if they ever really had one.
Storing sports equipment and holiday décor can become a revolving mess, and many homeowners dread the seasonal re-organization of this rarely-thought-of space – also known as the garage. Here are recommendations to make the task easier.
Garage spring cleaning checklist
You are only as good as your tools. For this job you are going to need the following:
- Work gloves
- A sturdy step stool for hard-to-reach places
- 4-gallon bucket
- Microfibre cloths
- Stiff-bristled brush
- Push broom and a regular broom
- A clean spray bottle
- Black, permanent marker
- 5 empty boxes or bins
Label 5 boxes for their eventual destination:
- Dispose (for hazardous waste dispose at your local waste disposal center).
- You will also need various products, in addition to hot water, to help get out stubborn stains.
- Baking soda
- Environmentally friendly soap
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Cornstarch or clay cat litter
- White vinegar
- Crystal Simple Green
End up with a clean slate
First things first – empty the garage. This is a great time to sort and donate. The key to efficient cleaning is to work from top to bottom, left to right. Sweep the ceiling, corners, and walls, and then close the garage doors and clean it as well. Hose it down and let it thoroughly dry and air out.
Now you can see stains on the cement. In a bucket of hot water, add ½ cup of baking soda and a generous amount of ecologically friendly detergent. With a good push broom, scrub the grimy areas. Rinse and let dry.
For hard-to-remove stains, re-wet the surface and drizzle with hydrogen peroxide or Crystal Simple Green. Neither of these will not harm your lawn or bordering plants when you rinse. Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse the garage floor and the broom. Let dry.
Elbow grease may be necessary
Oil drips from cars, lawnmowers, and other equipment stain concrete, because it is porous, but it can also leave slick, slippery areas on the garage floor. To soak up lubricants, apply a thick layer of clay cat litter, or food grade diatomaceous earth. Let it sit for at least 24 hours, then sweep it up and safely discard it with your household trash. Keep watch during the process to ensure that it is lifting the oil as you will see grease seeping through.
Next, add environmentally friendly soap to a bucket of hot water. Scrub the area with a brush or broom, rinse and let dry.
Mold, moss, mildew, and moisture
When it comes to mold and other unwanted organic materials, sweeping alone will not solve the problem. The plant spores must be killed.
In a spray bottle mix equal parts of hot water and white vinegar. After spraying the area, scrub with a brush or a push broom. For stubborn mold and mildew, mix a ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide in a gallon of hot water, cover the area and let it sit for about half an hour. Rinse the surface and let it dry.
In colder climates, check to ensure that downspouts were not damaged during the winter, and that rainwater is being diverted away from the home and the garage. Make sure to clean up leaves and other debris, and check rain gutters. Autumn leaves can clog eavestroughs, and trap moisture around your dwelling, which can also cause mold and mildew stains on patios, decks, and walkways.
Once you have cleaned your garage and removed stains, consider applying a professional sealant to your garage floor which last years longer than DIY brands needing to be re-applied every two to three years.
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