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Spring Cleaning Your Garage Floor

For most concrete surfaces, such as the garage, shop or patio, cleaning can take several hours. But to make the job go more quickly, having an action plan can make all the difference.

After learning from contractors and professionals what works when it comes to cleaning tools and methods, Harper® offers a few suggestions to make the project go more smoothly:

Make a list of tools and materials. Not only does making a list help you plan how to tackle the project, it also identifies any items you might need to purchase to complete the task. There’s nothing more frustrating than getting midway through a job and realizing you need to go to a store to purchase something to finish, whether it’s due to not having enough supplies on hand or just not having the proper tool.

This list will depend on the type of cleaning you need to do and the type of stains that need to be cleaned up, but here’s a basic list to get started:

  • Brooms (corn and push broom)
  • Mop
  • Scrub/deck brush
  • Squeegee
  • Garden hose/Pressure washer
  • Dustpan
  • Bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Garbage bags
  • Disposable nitrile gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Clean rags
  • Vinegar
  • Tide powdered laundry detergent
  • Dawn dishwashing detergent
  • Concrete degreaser

Prep-clean. Unless you make a habit of regularly cleaning the surface, there’s probably a lot of dirt, grime and messy fluid spills and stains present. Thoroughly sweep the area with a broom that’s designed for a concrete surface.

To really sweep the surface clean, make sure you select the right broom type -- corn broom or push broom -- and the right material -- natural fiber or synthetic fiber. Every Harper broom is “Pro-Perfected” – built for the specific debris and surface. Get our guide: "Choose the Right Push Broom for the Job."

Pressure wash. This step removes any embedded dirt that may be left behind after sweeping.

Remove the stains. Now it’s time to get to the base of the problem – the stains left behind from not immediately cleaning up spills. If not cleaned up as soon as they occur, spills from oil or other fluids can seep deep down below the surface since concrete is a very porous medium. Different stains will require different treatments.

Oil. For fresh or fairly recent oil stains, the best cleaning agent is either Tide powdered laundry detergent or Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent. Mix two parts of the detergent with one part hot water in a bucket to make a strong solution. Pour the solution onto the surface and also apply undiluted detergent directly onto the oil stain itself. Scrub with a good stiff bristled nylon brush. Also treat the surrounding area to reduce a secondary stain on the dry concrete that may occur through oil migration from the cleaning process. Let the solution soak for a few minutes to penetrate into the concrete’s pores. For more stubborn stains or stains that have sat for quite a while, use an absorbent product (think cat litter) and strong concrete degreaser. Use a hose with a high pressure nozzle to rinse the surface. Follow up with a floor squeegee to move excess water out away from the garage.

When faced with clearing the surface of excess water or wet debris, having the right squeegee can make cleanup a breeze. Harper’s PowrWave® Squeegee features a patented Fluid Control System for more efficient clean up.

Road salt. Rinsing with just water will not effectively remove road salt stains. The best method is to mix a solution of 1 gallon of warm water and 1 cup of vinegar with a squirt of liquid dishwashing soap (example: Dawn). Pour the solution onto the stains and scrub with a stiff deck brush. Use a mop or wet vacuum to remove the solution; then rinse the surface with water. Particularly tough salt stains may require further applications of the solution.

Deicing fluids. These are various forms of liquid magnesium and calcium chloride (road salt) road crews use to de-ice the roads which tend to attach to the bottom of a vehicle where it then gets deposited onto garage floors. The liquid brine created from these deicers seeps into the pores of your bare concrete, which can then expand and slowly break apart, causing spalling. The best method for removing stains from deicing fluids is to follow the same process used for removing salt stains.

As with spills on any surface, cleaning it up before it has an opportunity to soak into the medium is perhaps the best method. But, with these basic tips, spring cleanup can be a snap with the right tools and the right methods.

No matter how tough the cleaning challenge, there’s a hardworking Harper tool that will help you overcome it and do it efficiently. For more than 115 years, Harper® cleaning tools have been the favorite for home and industrial use. Each product is manufactured in the USA, and is purpose-built to provide you with the right tool for the job; light dust to gravel, liquids to sludge.

Check out our extensive assortment of brooms, brushes, mops, and squeegees at our website. Harper cleaning tools are available at a number of fine retailers.

Harper®, the Harper® logo and Harper® graphics are the service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks owned by The AMES Companies, Inc. All other service marks and trademarks are the property of their respective owner.

© 2017 The AMES Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

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