Often we think of seasonally cleaning the home or prepping it for winter weather, but what about your garage? If your messy garage is leaving you with a safety hazard, what do you do?
We’ve got the solution: a garage maintenance and cleaning checklist.
Your garage is a home for many important personal items such as your vehicle, gym gear, seasonal items, sporting goods, and much more. Keeping your garage safe and secure, whether in the heat of summer or cold of winter is essential to ensuring your personal items also are taken care of.
That’s why transforming your messy garage into its own sort of haven is important!
Messy Garage Maintenance and Cleaning Checklist
Having a garage maintenance checklist to refer to can help keep you aware of what you need to do to make sure you get the best out of your garage, even if you aren’t the most organized. Garage maintenance should be a key part of your home maintenance. To help make it easier, we’ve compiled a garage maintenance (with some cleaning points) list for you whether you have a messy garage, detached garage, or attached garage.
If your garage has a garage door, as most do, you should know that it is the largest entryway and access point for your garage. If your garage is attached to your house, it is also the largest entryway into your home. It is important to keep it operating efficiently as any repairs or breaks can be costly and even dangerous.
✔️ Garage Door Balance Check:
Doors that are automatic must be checked for balance regularly. To do this, close your garage door and entirely disconnect the automatic opener. Once your garage door is disconnected and the electrical power is unplugged, lift the garage door manually about 6 feet and then release it down (slowly). Well-balanced garage doors should move easily and smoothly in the tracks and when you release it, the door should remain open. If the garage door is difficult to lift, does not remain open upon release, or if there are any other signs of unbalance, your door may be out of balance. At this point, calling a professional to repair the door is the next step.
✔️ Visually Inspect:
Look for wear and tear, loose hardware, or other warning signs. Make a note to inspect the springs, cables, pulleys, rollers, bolts, and all pieces of hardware. Do not tighten bolts if they are marked with a “red tag” because these must be adjusted by experts. Check the exterior finish to see if you need to re-paint or clean your door.
✔️ Lubricate Moving Parts:
Applying a high-quality lubricant on an annual basis is essential for extending the lifespan of your garage. You can use WD-40 for hinges, tracks, pulleys, and more. This will also reduce excessive friction or wear on your garage door’s metal components.
✔️ Reversing Mechanism Testing:
Most garage doors have built-in systems to keep you and your family safe. Regularly test these reversing mechanisms by:
- Touch Test: Laying an object (such as a piece of wood) beneath a spot where the garage door would touch when it’s closed. The garage door should reverse automatically when it touches the object.
- Beam Test: As your garage door is closing, wave an object (a stick or broom) in front of one of the door’s “photo beams.” The garage door should reverse automatically when the beam is broken by the object.
- Force Test: As your garage door is closing, carefully grab the bottom of the door when it is about 4 feet from closing with stiff hands and apply counter pressure upward. The garage door should reverse automatically upon the applied pressure. WARNING: If it does not reverse and continues to close, quickly pull your hands away from the bottom.
✔️ Clean Interior and Exterior Door and Weatherstripping:
Keeping the exterior door and weatherstripping clean is important so that you can spot any cracks or damage. If necessary, you may need to replace your weatherstripping seal. Make sure to regularly remove dust and cobwebs from the inside as well to ensure all the hardware operates smoothly.
✔️ Refer to the Manufacturer Maintenance Recommendations:
Your manufacture guide and user instructions should include a more extensive list of safety protocols. For best practices, refer to that guide for your garage door maintenance routine.
Your garage floor must endure heavy vehicle traction and large objects being moved around. Whether you have a raw slab of concrete, added protective flooring, or something else, caring for your garage floor will keep your garage looking great and nice and clean.
✔️ Vacuum, Scrub, and Clean:
Regular cleanings of your garage floor are important to prevent things like bugs from infesting your space, damage from spills or tires bringing in corrosive road debris, and to simply keep your garage and home clean. If you or your children are in the garage barefoot or fall, it is important that there are no nails or other dangerous substances underfoot.
✔️ Consider a Floor Sealant:
Many garage floors are simply concrete slabs. Adding a sealant can help protect your foundation and make it easier to clean.
✔️ Floor Mats:
Floor mats not only help protect the floor, but they help catch debris and dirt. Be sure to clean your mats regularly.
✔️ Check for Concrete Cracks:
If you spot any foundational cracks, you may need to repair these. Small, hairline cracks are typically not a problem. Keep an eye on them though, if they grow larger, it may be necessary to repair them with a small concrete kit or you may even have a bigger foundational issue.
Garage Structure and Foundation
Remember to always check both the exterior and interior of your garage. Foundational and structural issues and become costly in the blink of an eye. So, catching big issues before they become too big is important.
✔️ Mold and Moisture Check:
Visually inspect your garage to uncover any spots that have signs of mold or water damage. If you see water spots or discoloration, you may have cause for concern.
✔️ Crack or Damage Inspection:
Look for cracks or any other signs of damage or deterioration. Cracks wider than ¼ in. might indicate a problem. If you have structural issues, you will likely need to hire an expert.
✔️ Bowing or Unusual Sloping:
If you notice that any part of your garage walls, flooring, or structure has signs of shifting or structural movement, it is important to keep an eye on this. It could indicate more complicated issues at hand.
✔️ Clean Gutters:
Often structural problems are caused by improper drainage. So, keeping your gutters clean is an important preventative step in garage maintenance. Remove any leaves, sticks, or other debris as often as needed.
Garage Windows and Entry Doors
Your garage is meant to be a source of shelter for your car and other items stored in your garage. Taking care of the points of entry is crucial to maintaining a safe and dry storage environment.
✔️ Clean the Windows:
This will help keep your garage bright and looking clean. Plus, properly cleaning means that you will remove all pieces of debris that may have accumulated in the tracks and help ensure your windows close securely.
✔️ Check the Seals:
Ensure there are no drafts or moisture coming in from the window or door seals when they are closed. If so, you may need to replace the seals or add caulking.
✔️ Moisture Check:
For double or triple-paned windows, observe whether or not water drops are starting to form between the panes. This might indicate a seal is broken and needs to be replaced. Broken seals reduce the insulation of your windows.
✔️ Open and Close Fit Check:
If you spot problems in your windows and doors such as the components are difficult to move or aren’t moving together correctly, you may have excessive moisture or even structural problems. Swelling, warping, or misalignment are all signs of problems.
Be sure you have the proper devices in your garage to help keep you and your family safe. Running car engines and the storage of chemicals in a messy garage are very real causes for safety hazards. Here are some items to either add to your safety line-up or double-check to make sure they are working properly.
- Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Heat Detector
- Security System
- Motion Detection Lights
Garage Pests and Creature Problems
Whatever the season, shifts in weather can drive certain species to seek shelter. Garages can be quite attractive nesting spots for these little pests. Keep an eye out for any living creatures that might have decided to make your garage their home. While they may be cute, they can also invite other problems like destroying items you have stored in your garage or posing a danger to your family’s safety.
✔️ Organize and Clean Your Messy Garage:
Keeping your garage organized and tidy means that you won’t have piles of junk where animals might burrow inside. This might be the motivation you needed to finally organize!
✔️ Move the Garbage:
Don’t keep your garbage stored in the garage without proper closures. If possible, keep your garbage outside. Garbage attracts rodents and bugs. Flies, ants, and maggots could become an issue if you leave your garbage inside your garage.
✔️ Check for Droppings:
One of the first signs garage owners notice are droppings littering the floors and hidden corners. If you notice any droppings, you likely have mice or rats in your garage.
✔️ Clean Rafters and Inspect Framing:
Often bees and wasps like to make nests in high corners. If you see a nest, remove it as soon as possible or hire a local exterminator for bigger problems (like termites).
Say Goodbye to Your Messy Garage
We hope this guide helped you get your messy garage under control. Maybe you’ve been meaning to get it organized and in tip-top shape because you need the extra space or perhaps you are considering expanding your home into your garage. Either way, this list is a great way to ensure your garage is functioning and stays maintained through all seasons!