Washing Cleaning and Waxing Your Garage Door Annually

Garage Door Spray Wax Griots

A simple way to extend the life and performance of your garage door is to wash, clean and wax it on an annual basis. Not only will it keep your overhead door performing well, but will also help guard against rusting, peeling, fading and chipping of the door sections.

Spring is an excellent time to clean your door as salts and de-icing agents can splash on the door in areas with cold winter seasons. Waxing your door is even recommended in coastal climates to help protect your the protective finish on the door.



1. Cleaning the Exterior Surface

Use a garden hose to spray down the exterior of your garage door. If you decide to use a pressure washer be sure to adjust the settings for a sensible amount of force or maintain a safe spray distance.Too much pressure can obviously chip off paint – especially on older doors and custom paint finishes.

Once the door has been sprayed down you can gently rub the door with a grit free rag or sponge – using a diluted mild detergent or store bought cleaner such as Mean Green. Harsh acid based cleaners should never be used to clean your garage door. After washing the door with soap and water, rinse the entire door and let it dry.


2. Cleaning the Interior Surface

Spraying the interior surface of your garage door with a garden hose is probably not the best option. Thankfully the interior of your door should have far less dirt and dust buildup than the exterior. A microfiber cleaning towel or sponge should be used with a mild detergent.


3. Can I pressure wash my garage door?

Pressure washing your garage door is generally not safe. The hard spray could easily strip the paint and protective finishes off of steel doors. It becomes even more risky on softer door surfaces like wood. The best option is to use a common garden hose with nozzle adjustment to rinse the door. If you insist on using a pressure washer make sure you maintain a safe distance away from the door or adjust the power accordingly.


4. What type of cleaner is recommended?

A solution of Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) should be used to clean most garage doors. The proper dilution should be provided by the garage door manufacturer and TSP product instructions. Common detergents like Dawn dish soap mixed with water are also acceptable cleaning agents.

For stubborn stains diluted Mean Green or Mr. Clean products can be used. Be sure to test in a small area before covering the entire door. Older garage doors of 25+ years are especially susceptible to paint coming off during cleaning.

Safe To UseNot Safe To Use
Dishwashing SoapBleach Products
Car Wash SolutionPressure Washer
Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)Scuff Grit Sponge
Spray On WaxSteel Wool


5. Waxing Your Garage Door

Garage Door Spray Wax Griots
After thoroughly cleaning the exterior surface of your garage door you may want to consider applying a coat of wax. Most manufacturers recommend waxing garage doors in coastal climates due to excess exposure to sun, moisture and salt. This becomes even more important on garage doors that are faux wood or have custom paint. It protects the invisible finish that seals in your doors paint.

Professional grade paste wax products that are clear coat safe are recommended, but several spray on wax products alternative exist for quick and easy application. Simply spray the wax on evenly over the face of your garage door and wipe it off with a clean towel. Some spray on wax products can even be applied to wet surfaces so be sure to read about the product before purchase.


6. Cleaning the Garage Door Track

Tracks should be cleaned on an as needed basis. If too much grease and gunk builds up in the tracks the rollers can have a difficult time moving through the channel of the vertical and horizontal tracks.

To clean the horizontal tracks you will first need to close your garage door. You will need a step ladder and a dry rag. Starting at the back of the horizontal track you can drag the rag towards the opening cleaning only the bottom groove of the horizontal track.

To clean the vertical tracks, raise the door to the open position with your garage door opener. If you don’t have an automatic opener you can raise the door manually and then secure the door using a vice grips, clamping off under the bottom roller.

The goal is not to necessarily to get the tracking system looking shiny. You are simply trying to remove excess build up and debris that could be interfering with the rollers moving freely.


7. Cleaning Green Mold

Scrub the garage door mold areas using a stiff synthetic bristle scrub brush.  Apply a store bought mold armor product to the door. These products attach to garden hoses for easy applications and start working within 5 minutes. The products are designed to kill mold , but may need to be applied more than once.


8. Clean Under The Door

It is also important to clean rocks and other debris near the bottom of your garage door. Small rocks sitting by your garage door can spit up from spinning car tires chipping away paint on the bottom panel.

Sweeping the area directly under the door on a seasonal basis is always a good idea. Spraying down the concrete directly in front of your door can also remove dirt and other chemicals like de-icing agents.


9. Cleaning Polycarbonate Windows

Many modern garage doors have windows that are polycarbonate based for the added safety of being shatterproof.  Regular cleaning of polycarbonate windows on your garage door is recommended to prolong the life and performance of the product. Manufacturers have unique product maintenance instructions, but all share a few common recommendations.

Only use compatible household cleaners – avoiding ammoniated, abrasive, gritty or solvent based products. As with the garage door itself mild dishwashing soap and a soft (microfiber) clothes are highly recommended for polycarbonate windows. Avoid using brushes, scrapers and squeegees as they could scratch the surface or damage tinting.

The following cleaning techniques are based on standard industry practices

General cleaning:
1) Thoroughly pre-rinse with warm water to loosen and wash away surface material, grit and grime.
2) Using a soft microfiber cloth or moist non-abrasive sponge, gently wash with a mild diluted soap or detergent.
3) Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm clean water. To prevent water spots, thoroughly dry the glazing with a dry soft cloth.

Removing heavy oils and tars
1) Thoroughly pre-rinse with warm water to loosen and wash away surface material, grit and grime.
2) With a 50/50 isopropyl alcohol-water mixture, gently rub the area with a soft non-abrasive cloth.
3) Immediately rinse thoroughly with lukewarm clean water. To prevent water spots, thoroughly dry the glazing with a dry soft cloth.

Removing graffiti, paint, marker, inks and glazing compounds:
1) Thoroughly pre-rinse with warm water to loosen and wash away surface material, grit and grime.
2) Using Naphtha VM&P grade, Isopropyl Alcohol or Butyl Cellosolve, gently rub the area with a soft non-abrasive cloth. Do not apply solvent cleaners under direct sunlight or during high temperatures.
3) Immediately rinse thoroughly with lukewarm clean water. To prevent water spots, thoroughly dry the glazing with a dry soft cloth.

Removing adhesive backed labels:
1) Isopropyl Alcohol, Naphtha VM&P grade or Kerosene will help lift stickers and adhesives.
2) Immediately rinse thoroughly with lukewarm clean water. To prevent water spots, thoroughly dry the glazing with a dry soft cloth.

Compatible cleaners
The following cleaning agents are compatible with Polycarbonate Sheet products when used according to the manufacturer’s recommendations:
• Top Job, Joy®
• Palmolive Liquid®
• Windex® Ammonia free


10. Cleaning Older Garage Doors

Garage doors can easily last 30 plus years under the right conditions. Unfortunately older doors are also most susceptible to pain chipping and peeling during the cleaning process. Oxidation, rust and mineral build up are the main issues facing older doors so special care must be given during cleaning.

Garage Door Guide Cal
Hello, I’m Cal – owner of Garage Door Guide LLC    

I write tutorials about garage door repair, installation and maintenance. With over a decade of experience in the overhead door industry I’ve learned a lot and I’d like to share my knowledge with you.

5 thoughts on “Washing Cleaning and Waxing Your Garage Door Annually

  1. John Hagens says:

    Hi Cal, I spoke to you on your way home from work today concerning 220lb extension springs for a sectional 16×7 metal door. All set to buy when I read 200 lb plus springs are not returnable, how come?

    • Garage Door Guide says:

      You can return them… The policy is set to discourage people from guessing at the weight they need vs actually weighing the door with a scale. As long as you have weighed the door with a scale properly they are returnable.

      There have been problems in the past with people just simply guessing a random weight and ordering. Springs that are 200lb+ are heavy to ship and its uneconomical to get stuck with shipping due to people not weighing the door.

    • Garage Door Guide says:

      The layers of wax provide minimal UV protection despite claims you might read. The paint you choose is much more important…mainly the “Light Reflectance Value (LRV)” in the paint you choose. I recommend a minimum LRV of 50% and staying away from dark colors (black, green, brown) is also a better option.

      Some waxes do contain UV-protection agents, but the amount of protection that a extremely thin layer of wax can provide is limited
      The primary goal of a wax is to protect the top layers of paint that contain UV-protection agents from the paint manufacture and obviously oxidation.

      Meguiar’s Spray Wax (Dry Only): https://amzn.to/3q8Gp2p
      Griots Carnauba Wax (Dry Only): https://amzn.to/3gH006Q (My personal favorite)

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