The 13-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Garage

Learn how to clean your garage like a pro for a spotless and tidy space.

Published February 22, 2023
Man standing in front of the garage holding broom

Knowing how to clean your garage will make the process easier, smoother, and faster. Having a plan is the key to getting any space in your home refreshed and tidy. Tackle your garage with confidence when you have a cleaning checklist set in place.

Move Everything Out

Cleaning is stressful when there is clutter all around you and boxes to trip you up. Move your car into the driveway and do your best to clear out as much as possible from the garage. Move everything into your driveway or a designated room of your home so you have all the space you need to clean your garage.

Remove Cobwebs and Dust From Ceilings

Before you clean the floors or try to vacuum, you need to make sure you remove all the dust and cobwebs from your ceiling. Use a broom to release stuck on dust from beams or ceiling tiles. An extended duster will help sweep those cobwebs away.

Sweep or Vacuum Dust and Debris

Start by opening your garage door to let in fresh air and give you a way to clear out dust. You can use a standard or heavy duty vacuum to remove dust from your garage quickly and effectively. Use a broom to sweep all the larger debris and dirt right out the door.

Man sweeping the floor of his home garage

Wash Walls and Doors

A simple warm water and dish soap mixture will help break down the dirt and grime on your garage walls. Use a microfiber cloth or a large sponge to clean with your solution. You can even attach a microfiber cloth to a flat mop to reach the taller spaces. Use the same method on the garage door or the interior door that leads to your home.

For any places where you are concerned about mold, use either a diluted vinegar solution or bleach to clean the area. Remember, never mix your bleach and vinegar solutions as this produces a harmful gas.

Wipe Down Shelves and Work Benches

Any tabletop or shelving surfaces in your garage need to be cleaned as well. Use a gentle soap solution or an all purpose cleaning spray with a microfiber cloth to clean surfaces like work benches, shelving units, and even outdoor furniture or kids' outdoor toys.

Sanitize and Disinfect Where Necessary

Make sure you're not just cleaning, but disinfecting where needed. Use disinfecting spray, disinfecting wipes, or a vinegar and water solution to give sanitize and disinfect your garage surfaces. Pay close attention to areas you see the potential for mold or mildew exposure and consider using bleach where needed. Sanitize common areas that germs may live, like door handles, light switches, children's toys, or sports equipment.

Make Repairs Where Needed

If you notice some areas in need of attention while you're cleaning, be sure to tackle those before you call it a day. Take care of any exposed wires, lightbulb replacements, loose screws, or broken shelves.

Pretreat Stains on Your Floor

Before you clean the entire garage floor, you want to get the heavy duty stain work out of the way. If there are oil stains on the floor, start with a warm and sudsy solution combined with scrubbing. You can use a carpet stain remover as your pretreatment, along with a bit of scrubbing. Degreaser oil or strong cleaning solutions may also work. You can even place kitty litter on your pre-treated stain to help absorb the oil and easily sweep it away.

Clean Your Garage Floors

Once your stains are pre-treated and scrubbed, it's time to clean the entire floor. Your favorite cleaning solution will work, or you can opt for something stronger that is specific to your garage floor type. Olive oil based soaps work well on concrete floors. Baking soda or a bit of dish soap also work effectively. Spread your solution around with a mop or use a broom to get more scrubbing action. Use towels to collect excess water or soap solution and let your floors dry thoroughly.

Get Rid of Odors

Many of the smells in your garage may disappear after a thorough cleaning, but you might need to take a few extra steps for those stubborn odors that linger. Make sure you take the time to clean and deodorize common sources of smells like lawn equipment or sports equipment. Coating your garage floor with an epoxy finish can help maintain the freshness you worked so hard for.

Toss Cardboard Boxes

If you're storing garage items in cardboard boxes, consider swapping them for plastic storage bins. Cardboard will not protect your items in the event of flooding and can increase risks of mold or mildew growth. Toss those cardboard boxes and use clear bins to see your items at a glance and keep your garage organized.

Cardboard boxes next to garage door

Declutter as Much as Possible

Keep your garage tidy once it's all clean by decluttering as many items as you can. Consider getting rid of items that are rarely used. Move specific items to rooms in your home where they will be more useful. Move holiday decor, seasonal clothing, or keepsakes to your basement or attic.

Woman tidying and decluttering the garage

Donate Items You Don't Use

If you're holding on to a few items that are in great condition but are no longer serving the needs of you or your family, consider donating them.

  • Your local Habitat for Humanity group will take gently used lawn equipment and power tools.
  • Local churches or daycare centers in your area might be happy to take outdoor toys and equipment for kids off your hands.
  • Police and Fire Departments often keep small toys like stuffed animals on hand to comfort children they encounter while on duty, so consider reaching out if you have boxes full of unused toys.
  • If you have emergency food storage items that will expire before you can use them, reach out to your local food pantries to ask about donating.
  • There are plenty of wonderful organizations that will gladly take your used sports equipment and use it for a good cause.

Get Your Garage Clean for Good

Once you've put in all the hard work to get your garage clean and tidy, make a habit of cleaning it regularly. If you take care of spills quickly, keep items organized, and air out your garage often, it will stay cleaner for much longer.

The 13-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Garage