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woodworking tools hanging neatly on a garage wallYour garage can be one of the most heavily trafficked areas during the winter.  It is exposed to the wind and weather, vehicles bring in dirt, sand, leaves and salt and snowblowers, lawnmowers and other equipment track oil over the floors. Rodents and other pests oftentimes will use your garage as a home during the winter. The best way to keep that dirt from entering your home is to clean it up before you start your other spring cleaning.

Here are a few tips to help you clean out your garage and therefore keep your home clean as well:

Is that mold growing on the cement? Most likely no. Unfinished cement is porous. When the water table underneath your garage goes up and down with flooding and freezing, it pushes air through the pores in the cement. That air contains minerals which will settle on the floor. Sometimes they can also crystalize into what looks like a white pillowy mold called “effervescence”. It is best to sweep or vacuum it up. There is no need for bleach or cleaners. You can seal then also the cement which keeps the effervescence out as well as making it easier to manage dirt from tires and muddy boots.

No guests. Take a few minutes to check nooks and crannies. Rodents will oftentimes move in during the winter. It is best to make sure they don’t become permanent residents. Check corners, gaps and areas near gutters, in rafters and next to external doorways.

Get it into the light. Many people say the best advice is to pull everything out of your garage once a spring. Stage it in your driveway and then either clean it and return it or send it to the dump. Piles of unused stuff quickly become piles of dirty unused stuff that no one wants. Keep your garage clutter free so you can continue to clean it effectively throughout the year.

Use the walls. Keep the floors of you garage as clear as possible by hanging items from walls and beams. Maintenance of a garage should mostly be a periodic sweeping. For that to be effective the floors needs to be clear. Wind will push dust and dirt every time the garage door is open. It items are on the floor, dust will collect on top of them and won’t be removed by sweeping.

Stop dirt at the door with effective mats. When someone enters the house there should be adequate place to kick of the dirt and mud from shoes. The mat should be course and have deep enough grooves to scour souls as well as trap dirt. The mats should be cleaned every few weeks.

Cleaning your garage first will save time and effort as you clean your home. Regularly sweeping and dusting will also make lighter work of maintaining the inside of you house.

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