The garage floor is the workhorse of all floors. It is meant to be – even made to be – filthy. Oil stains, paint splatters, grease marks, heavy-duty cleaning solution spills, you name it and the garage floor has seen it.
Businesses with a garage working area, such as automotive repair shops, service stations, machine shops, even home businesses with a garage door entry, need to keep their garage floors clean for two purposes: Appearance and safety.
Keeping up with appearance
A clean garage immediately says that this is a business that pays attention to details. Scrubbing away oily residues and grease puddles also reduces the risk that these hard-to-clean substances will be tracked into a carpeted, lobby area of the business.
For this reason, don’t wait until the end of the day to hose down the garage floor. Soak up spills immediately to prevent any harmful liquids from damaging the floor’s surface and causing possible staining discoloration.
An easy way to quickly trap a wet substance is to sprinkle on an absorbent material like cat litter, baking soda, sawdust or a commercial cleaning product like absorbent pads or all-purpose absorbent. Let the material sit on the spill for a few hours so it thoroughly soaks up all the liquid. Then, sweep the dry material away and dispose of properly with other toxic substances.
For safety’s sake
Any liquids or greasy substances instantly create a slipping hazard in a garage work space. To protect the business from liability and employees from injuries, post clearly marked “wet floor” signs in an easy-to-spot yellow shade.
Clean the area and then keep the “wet floor” signs posted until the space is completely dry. Test the cleaned space out before re-opening the area for use.
For large spills, have some oil absorbent booms on hand. These are placed around the spill to surround it and absorb the liquid at the same time. They can easily absorb oil, gasoline, grease, acid and other solvents.
Tackling old, set-in stains
There is bound to be some old stains on the garage floor now and then. Try using a pressure hose or steam cleaner to break up stains without any cleaners at all.
If those methods don’t produce the desired results, sometimes old-fashioned dishwashing or laundry soap formulated with grease lifters will take care of the problem. Other times stronger, commercial cleaning solvent made just for concrete floors will be needed.
Powdered commercial cleaners often contain a disinfectant and sprinkle on a bright color so you can see where they have been applied at a glance.
Whatever you choose, make sure to test a small area first so you know if the cleaning agent will leave behind a discoloration on the floor.
A deep cleaning treatment
Once a month or so, consider giving the garage space a complete cleaning. Here’s how to do it:
– Start by watching the weather. Some cleaning agents don’t work well in temperatures below a certain level and since some garage environments aren’t heated, cold weather can become a factor
– Check for adequate ventilation. It’s important when using commercial cleaners to always maintain quality ventilation as fumes can quickly build up in the air without the user even realizing it.
– Gather together the proper tools. When working with garage floor cleaners, employees will want to use gloves to protect their skin and possibly goggles to prevent cleaning solvents from splashing into the eyes. You may also need a wet/dry vac or squeegee to whisk away the water after cleaning.
– Clear the area. Remove as many items out of the garage as possible. This will protect those items from water damage as the cleaning solvents are rinsed away. Moving things around can also reveal new stains that were hidden underneath these items.
– Prep the space. Anything that can’t be moved or that contains sensitive electronic equipment should be covered with a high quality water-resistant covering to protect them from being damaged.
– Apply a quality product like Metso Green concrete cleaner as directed. Be careful not to overuse flooring cleaners or completely saturate the flooring with water.
– Protect the garage floor surface from future spills and stains by purchasing disposable pads that cover the work space or by treating the surface with a product or sealant that the specifically designed to help the floor resist absorbing stain-causing agents.