Few things can ruin the look of your home more than a stained garage door. Because your garage door encompasses a large portion of the front of your home, an unappealing panel could significantly reduce your house’s curb appeal.
It’s best to brush up your door once or twice a year, ideally in spring and fall, (quarterly in coastal areas). This allows you to regularly inspect your garage door for issues, and keeping the door clean can maintain your warranty, prolong your door’s finish, and prevent rust from forming.
Before you shell out some dough for a professional cleaner (who might be costly or use toxic solvents), consider trying the following stain removal tips using ingredients you probably already have in your cabinets.
1) Start with a clean garage door.
Before you begin, thoroughly scrub your garage door with a mild detergent and warm water. Dishwashing liquid, car wash soap, or a non-toxic biodegradable cleaner, such as Simple Green, will work. This can help make it easier to remove difficult stains. Be sure to use non-abrasive sponges or rags, the same you would use when washing your car.
2) Try cleaning strength vinegar.
Cleaning strength vinegar is slightly more acidic than the vinegar used for cooking. Using a spray bottle, saturate the stain and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Next, take a gentle brush and try to scrub the stain out. You may need to repeat this process a few times.
3) Baking soda.
If you’re not having any luck with the vinegar, baking soda may work. Baking soda is abrasive and can remove tricky stains but you may want to consult with your garage door manufacturer before proceeding. If you scrub too hard, you could scratch the door or strip the paint. To apply, mix a small amount of water with the baking soda until it resembles a paste-like solution. Apply the paste to the stain and scrub vigorously.
For the trickiest of stains, you may need to resort to a heavy-duty cleaner like bleach. Dilute your bleach with water and scrub well. Never mix bleach with other detergents or cleaning solutions.
5) Wax and Wood Finish.
The above suggestions apply to fiberglass, wood, aluminum or steel, but wood or steel garage doors might need one more step. Steel garage doors should be waxed immediately after their spring and fall cleaning, using a liquid automotive wax. Wood garage doors should be checked for flaws and freshened with a new coat of finish if necessary.
When the Stain Still Won’t Come Out
If you simply can’t get the stain off no matter what you try, you have a few different options available. You could use sandpaper or a sanding tool and strip the stained area off. You’ll likely need to repaint the door or reapply a protective coating after this. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser might be able to eliminate some stubborn scuffs and stains, but avoid using the Eraser on dark surfaces, wood, or stainless steel garage doors. Do not resort to using a pressure washer, which could damage the integrity of your door.
If you’ve had the garage door for a while, you may want to consider buying a new garage door. A replacement garage door is often considered an investment and not a cost as it can increase the overall value of your home, making it a great return of investment.