How to Clean and Maintain Your Epoxy Garage Floor
Tips & Tricks

How to Clean and Maintain Your Epoxy Garage Floor

Epoxy floors are durable, tough, and resilient; therefore, they’re used in several applications, such as sunroom floors, garage floors, warehouses, and walkways. In addition, epoxy floors are a great flooring choice in areas where machinery and other large tools are continuously used. This is because they will maintain a very high luster even with continuous moving and machinery shifting.

Cleaning an epoxy garage floor is pretty straightforward, especially if you follow some ground rules. Here is how to do it:

What Do You Clean Epoxy With?

As resilient as epoxy floors are to stains and dirt, they require routine cleaning maintenance to keep their shine. If you don’t attend to epoxy floors for long periods, some coatings might start losing their gloss due to the sanding effect from loose dirt and grime that gets caught up under tires and shoes. When the gloss of a coating is gone, you can’t bring it back unless you apply a new topcoat.

You can use the following to clean your epoxy garage floor:

Dust Mop

When cleaning epoxy floors, the first thing that you should get is a dust mop. A dust mop makes it easy to remove loose dirt and dust and will make your epoxy floor cleaning duties simpler. In addition, most dirt and dust don’t stick to the floor; therefore, you can use the mop once a week or sooner if needed to keep the floor clean.  

Using a dust mop only takes a few minutes, and it also works well for floors with an anti-slip additive in the topcoat. However, if you don’t like dust mops or your floor has a coating with an aggressive anti-slip additive, then you can opt for a soft bristle push broom to get the job done.

A Paper Towel or a Clean Cloth

You can use a clean cloth or a paper towel to wipe up minor spills on your epoxy garage floors. Do not worry too much about minor spills on your epoxy garage floor because wiping alone will help you eradicate them.

Dish Soap and Water

You can clean up your epoxy garage floor by mopping it with a little bit of dish soap and water. Here is how to do it:

  • Add about a 1/3 cup of dish soap to a bucket of water.
  • Soak your mop in the soapy water and start mopping the floor. Ensure that you cover the entire floor.
  • Rinse thoroughly to ensure that you don’t leave a haze.

A mop made from synthetic fabric such as rayon might be the best choice for an epoxy floor because a mop made from natural fibers can get stuck on your epoxy floor coating and leave bits of itself behind, leading to problems in the future.

Additionally, some cleaning experts suggest that you should avoid soap when cleaning epoxy floors because it can leave a haze. However, soap will work fine when cleaning epoxy floors if you rinse thoroughly.

Ammonia and Water Solution

Ammonia and water solution works well for large stains or those sitting on the floor for a while.  Here is how you can use the solution to clean your epoxy garage floor:

  • First, add ½ cup of ammonia to a gallon of hot water in a bucket.
  • Apply the solution to the floor using a mop. Ensure that you pull the mop pad and rinse it frequently in the ammonia solution to remove the debris it picks up.

Ammonia and water solution should eliminate stains that cannot be removed by dish soap and water.

Windex

You can use the Windex solution if you need more cleaning power. If you want to use Windex to clean your epoxy garage floor, mix a cup of it with three parts water. The good thing is that the chemicals in Windex won’t leave a film on the coating and do an excellent job of cutting through residue.

You can use a soft scrub pad with the Windex solution when spot cleaning any stubborn dirt. However, ensure that you don’t scrub too hard to avoid de-glossing the surface.

Use Simple Green

If you have some serious cleaning to do on your epoxy garage floor, you can do so using Simple Green. The cleaner will work exceptionally well to clean up grease and other grime. However, you shouldn’t need the cleaner unless you have a worn floor of lower quality epoxy with many scratches that allow dirt to get embedded, or you’re dealing with a cleaning disaster.

You can clean with Simple Green by following these steps:

  • First, make a cleaning solution of 1 part concentrated Simple Green to eight parts water. Then, you can use a deck brush for scrubbing if necessary.
  • You can make a stronger solution if need be; however, it’s best to remember that Simple Green might leave a film on the coating; therefore, you should use a separate bucket of clean water and mop to rinse the floor as you proceed.  You can also use a hose if you prefer it.
  • Use a clean push broom or squeegee to push out any excess water if you’re using a hose. The floor should dry pretty quickly after the procedure.

What Not to Use When Cleaning Epoxy Garage Floors

There are a few cleaning products that you should avoid when cleaning epoxy garage floors.  Here are some of them:

  • Vinegar or citrus cleaners: These cleaners contain acids that can slowly de-gloss the finish of your epoxy floor.
  • Avoid using soap as a cleaner unless you follow it up with a thorough water rinse. If you don’t rinse well, soap can leave streak marks and a hazy film on the epoxy floor that prevents the shine of the finish. Additionally, the soapy film can also make the floor slippery when it gets wet.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners on your epoxy garage floor.

Can You Power Wash Epoxy Garage Floor?

Most people usually think that epoxy floors are painted with a protective coating; however, that is usually not the case. An epoxy floor is created by combining an epoxide resin with a polyamine hardener, and putting these two compounds together causes a chemical reaction that hardens the coating.

You can pressure wash an epoxy coated floor; however, you probably won’t need to do it. When making the epoxy floor, the curing process makes it resistant to damage and extremely easy to clean up. You can use a medium bristle brush or a simple mop to remove almost anything on your epoxy garage floor. Additionally, epoxy floors can become etched if you use a power washer in the wrong PSI setting; therefore, ensure that you use the correct PSI setting if you opt to pressure wash your epoxy garage floor.

How Can I Make My Epoxy Floor Shine Again?

Epoxy floors look shiny when new; however, they might fog over time. Several solutions help your epoxy floor shine again; however, it’s best to understand what made the floor lose its shine.

Why Does Your Epoxy Garage Floor Look Dull?

Several reasons might contribute to your dull-looking epoxy garage floors. Here are some of the reasons:

Surface Residue from Cleaners and Soap

When cleaning your epoxy garage floor, it’s always best to use an epoxy floor cleaner because many cleaning products can leave a very thin residual film on the surface if you’re not careful. The residue can build up after several cleanings and dull the finish. It might also make the floor very slippery when it gets wet.

Irregular Cleaning

Dust, dirt, and other materials can build up on your epoxy garage floor if you don’t clean it regularly. These items can act like fine sandpaper, and over time, the scrubbing and scuffing actions of vehicle and foot traffic can permanently de-gloss your epoxy garage floor.

Use of Lesser Quality Coatings

DIY coatings are one of the main reasons for lack of shine or a dull finish. This is because most of the coatings are not commercial quality; hence, they de-gloss much faster because of wear than quality coatings. In addition, most of the DIY coatings have a semi-gloss finish, to begin with.

Worn Out from Years of Use

Sometimes your epoxy garage floor might look de-glossed because it’s worn out after many years of use. The rate at which your floor loses its sheen might also depend on the quality of the coating system installed.

Tips for Making Your Epoxy Garage Floor Shine Again

You can make your epoxy garage floor shine again by following these tips:

Protect Your Epoxy Floor from Damage

The materials used in making epoxy floors are highly resistant to degradation and form a solid adhesive bond with base materials such as concrete. This property makes epoxy coating the most durable surface on any floor; however, the floors are not indestructible.

You can embrace protective measures to reduce damages on your epoxy floors. For example, it’s advisable to put soft pads on your motorcycle and bicycle stands when you park them on an epoxy garage floor. Additionally, it’s best to ensure that any furniture with metallic and sharp legs has footpads because staying without them can potentially ruin surface integrity.

Have Routine Maintenance Cleaning

Your epoxy flooring requires routine maintenance and cleaning to ensure that it remains shiny and appealing. Cleaning your epoxy floor regularly helps the floor maintain its shine and enables you to avoid annual time-consuming floor restoration projects.

Wiping stains or liquids immediately they spill on the floor is very helpful for most floor surfaces, including epoxy. You can use different cleaning methods and equipment for cleaning your epoxy floors. For example, vacuum cleaning is perfect for eradicating debris and dust.

Eradicate Tough Stains

Routine cleaning might not eliminate some tough stains, such as grease and engine oil, which might damage the epoxy. Therefore, you should exercise a lot of care when handling such tough stains. However, you can deal with the stains effectively by using a cleaning product that contains ammonia and water because the solution is strong enough to act on the stains fast.

The secret to dealing with tough stains is to treat them as soon as you notice them on the floor. A quick response always results in the best results. Of course, if you’re dealing with a larger surface, you can always soak the mop in the water and ammonia solution and use it to clean the floor.

You might have to deal with tougher stains such as rust by scrubbing them lightly using a kitchen scrubbing pad. Ensure that you don’t use anything too rough, such as steel wool, because you don’t want to damage the floor’s shiny coating. Likewise, it’s best to avoid abrasive cleaners and acidic chemicals because they could lead to damaged or cloudy floors.

Do a Deep Cleaning Annually or Semi-Annually

You might install an epoxy floor due to its elegant and glossy appearance; however, the surface might lose its sparkle due to high foot traffic as time progresses. Therefore, scheduling for thorough cleaning of your epoxy floors at least once or twice a year can restore their lost glory.

You can clean the epoxy floor with hot water and dry it using a squeegee. This simple cleaning technique is enough to give the floor a shiny look; however, if there are still some spots left, you might want to invest in an all-purpose surface cleaner. Then, all you have to do is wring a soft cloth in the cleaner and rub off the stains by hand.

This epoxy cleaning and restoration technique ensure thorough scrubbing, which lifts stains from the floor’s surface.

How to Clean Tire Marks off Epoxy Garage Floor

Tire marks often make your garage look dirtier than it is, especially if it’s not been cleaned for weeks. You can use degreasers to remove tire marks from epoxy floors without having to scrub the floor or rinsing the area. Degreasers draw up the oils from the floor and dry them into a powder, making them easy to clean.

If you’re using a degreaser, you can drip it on the tire marks and stains and allow it to saturate for at least ten minutes, depending on how heavy the marks are. Once the degreaser dries up, you can sweep the epoxy floor to remove the dirt. You can also use a soft nylon brush to scrub the marks gently.

If the above tips do not restore your epoxy garage floor’s sheen, then you might have to consider these options:

Apply Wax for Floor Coatings

You might have to apply specialty floor wax on your epoxy garage floor. This is the least expensive option; however, it might require regular maintenance to maintain the glossy look. In addition, you might have to apply a minimum of two coats of wax and leave it alone to achieve a semi-glossy look.

Apply a New Clear Coating

You might have to apply a clear topcoat to your epoxy garage floor to make it shine again. If the color coat isn’t worn through, using a new clear coat will restore the original rich luster and provide a new glossy surface.

You shouldn’t worry if your floor had a clear topcoat previously or not. If it only had a color coat, adding the clear topcoat would help protect the color flakes and add gloss to the finish.

How Do You Restore an Epoxy Garage Floor?

Although an epoxy floor is durable, it is still prone to chips and cracks, especially when a heavy piece of equipment or tool drops on it.  However, you can protect your epoxy floor from further damage by following these procedures:

  • Clean the floor: Cleaning involves much more than just sweeping the floor. You will have to remove any grease, oil, or dirt on the floor using an epoxy floor cleaner in an area more expansive than the damage.
  • Cut the chipped or cracked area: For best blending results, you will have to remove an area a few inches or larger than the damage using a hobby knife or a box cutter.
  • Warm to remove: You can use a blow dryer or another device to warm the epoxy. Once it softens, you can carefully remove the paint from the floor.
  • Apply a new coating of epoxy: At this point, the bare floor is ready for the paint. You can apply a fresh coat of epoxy and ensure that you touch up the edges so that they can blend with the old ones.
  • Ventilate the room well: Ventilate your room well because proper ventilation is essential if you want to avoid inhaling too much of the epoxy fumes.

Once you fully restore your new coat of epoxy, you can use that section of space again. You should avoid using chemicals because epoxy is made to resist chemicals. If you want to prevent any future damages, you should consider investing in a floor covering, such as a small mat to use where you’re working. The extra protection can extend the floor’s durability when a heavy object hits it.

How to Clean Oil from Epoxy Garage Floor

Oil stains on a garage floor are prevalent, and they can remain there for a long time if you fail to address them immediately. Oil stains on your garage floor give a messy and dirty feeling, and they are pretty dangerous when wet. Cleaning oil stains is not always an easy task because they are somewhat difficult to clean up.

Here are some tips to help you clean up oil stains from your epoxy garage floor:

Why Is My Garage Floor Stained With Oil?

Oil stains on your garage floor can be due to various reasons, the primary one being that your car is losing oil due to a leak. The most common reason for oil leaks is that the screw that empties the crankcase isn’t tightened correctly. A leak might be inevitable if the screw was not adjusted as it should during the last oil change. Ensure that the screw is drawn well or change it if damaged.

Additionally, a leak is most likely to happen if the level of oil in your car is very high. The oil level could be increased if you added more oil than necessary during the last oil change. If that is the case, the surplus is eliminated through a leak. Maintaining a higher oil level than recommended is harmful to the engine because it will produce impurities, which will accumulate in the engine.

Oil stains on your epoxy garage floor can also occur if the gaskets in the oil filler cap or the cap have dilated with time or are not in good condition. You might have to change the boards to solve this problem.

If there are several oil spots on the floor and you find new ones throughout the day, then the failure might be from one of the sleeves of your vehicle. On the other hand, if the drip is constant, you can find the problem in the crankcase.

How to Remove Oil Stains from an Epoxy Garage Floor

Before you deal with the oil stains on your floor, it is best to determine if the stains are recent or they’ve been there for some time.

Recent Oil Stains

It is best to distinguish if the oil stain is recent and still fresh or if it’s an old one entirely absorbed by the substrate because the method varies depending on the case. For example, you can deal with a wet oil stain on your epoxy garage floor using the following steps:

  • First, put a newspaper, or throw sawdust, sand, talc, or ash on the stain.
  • Let the substance chosen stay for about an hour to help soak up the oil.
  • Then, remove the oil-soaked substances and place them directly into a garbage bag.

Dried or Old Oil Stains

If oil sips through your epoxy garage floor, you can use a degreaser to get rid of it.  Here is how to do it:

  • Apply the degreaser on the oil stain, rub gently, and leave it for a few minutes.
  • Soak a cloth in hot water, and use it to remove oil stain remains.
  • Repeat the process as much as possible to ensure that the oil stain is eliminated.

You can also use WD-40 to help remove oil stains from your epoxy garage floor. If you opt to use WD-40, spray a generous amount of it on the oil stain and then let it sit for at least twenty minutes. Wipe the area with a clean cloth soaked in hot water. You can repeat the process to ensure that you completely get rid of the stain.

How to Clean Non-Slip Epoxy Floor

If you have a non-slip epoxy floor, you can follow these steps to ensure that it’s clean:

  • Sweep the floor thoroughly using a soft push broom brush. You can also opt for a dust mop floor sweeper.
  • Apply epoxy floor cleaning chemicals on the floor surface using a deck brush.
  • Give the cleaning product enough time to emulsify foreign material. Ten or fifteen minutes should be enough.
  • Scrub gently using a deck brush to help remove foreign materials.
  • Remove the cleaning product from the floor using a squeegee (soft, neoprene squeegee). Don’t use a water spray to remove the cleaning solution from the floor because it might over-dilute the solution, making grease and oil fall back onto the floor.
  • Rinse the floor with clean water.
  • Use a squeegee to remove water from the floor.

How to Clean Battery Acid on Epoxy Garage Floor

If you have an electric golf cart, you should be aware of the overflow if you don’t maintain your batteries properly. Battery acid is one of the chemicals that will hurt your epoxy floor.

Should Golf Cart Batteries Leak?

Proper functioning golf cart batteries should not leak. However, the batteries generally leak when filled with water before they are fully charged. When the batteries are filled with water when cold, the water heats up and expands as they charge. This expansion could cause the batteries to overflow with water if overfilled.

To avoid leaking, you should always fill water into your batteries after they are fully charged. This action will result in batteries that don’t expand with water, causing leaking. You should also consider getting a golf cart parking mat or using a cookie sheet beneath the battery compartment.

Additionally, motorcycles and other vehicles with small batteries often have a vented battery that might occasionally discharge small amounts of acid onto your epoxy garage floor. It’s best to get a tray or mat for these as well.

Check this too: How to Clean Pet Urine from Concrete

How to Remove Battery Acid from Epoxy Garage Floor

When battery acid leaks out of your batteries and onto your epoxy floor, you should clean it up before it damages the surface. However, before you begin cleaning, you should ensure that you’re wearing safety gear such as a face shield or safety glasses, proper clothing, and gloves to ensure that your skin is not exposed.  The protective equipment ensures that no acid gets on your skin.

Follow these steps to remove battery acid from your epoxy garage floor:

  • First, choose an alkalizing cleaner that will neutralize the acid; you can use baking soda in this case.
  • If it was a small acid spill, you can pour baking soda over the acid and give it some time to neutralize the battery acid.
  • Clean up the spot using paper towels after the acid has been neutralized. Ensure that you dispose of the paper towels appropriately.

How to Prevent Batteries from Leaking on Your Epoxy Garage Floor

If you have an electric golf cart, you will eventually have battery acid leakage on your floor. Here are a few tips to help you prevent your batteries from leaking onto your garage floor:

  • Do not overwater the batteries: The water level should cover the plates inside the battery. Most batteries have a gauge that you can use to ensure that they are at the proper level.
  • Only refill your batteries after they’re fully charged: Water expands during the charging process; therefore, your batteries might leak if they are too full.
  • Disconnect your golf cart from the battery whenever it’s not in use.

Although the tips above might prevent leakage, some of it might still occur. Therefore, you should always endeavor to protect your floors so that if leakage occurs, you will be ready for it.

What Damages Epoxy Garage Floors?

If you’re having problems with your epoxy garage floors or want to avoid future damage to your epoxy garage floor, then it’s best to understand the leading causes of epoxy floor issues. Cement before the epoxy was laid is the source of most damage to an epoxy floor. Additionally, your floor can easily get damaged if it isn’t installed by a professional.

Here are some of the things that can damage your epoxy garage floor, especially during the installation stage:

Wet or Stained Concrete

If your concrete is old and used, some chemicals, oil, or water might have been spilled. Concrete is porous and absorbs the liquids, sometimes creating stains and adding moisture to the concrete. If an epoxy coating is laid on the moisture, it becomes trapped. Additionally, the liquids can separate from the concrete and pool underneath the layer, causing flaking and bubbling on your floor.

It’s essential to remove all stains before epoxy floor coating installation.

Excessive Humidity During Epoxy Floor Installation

If the humidity level outside your house is above 60%, it’s not the appropriate time to lay an epoxy floor. Condensation can form on the floor during the cure causing a dull finish. Wait for a dry season to schedule your epoxy floor installation to ensure that you get a shiny floor.

Improper Installation

If your epoxy coating is not installed correctly, you might end up with an unsatisfactory product. Bubbles may form on top of the coating if the epoxy coating is not applied at the proper temperature or if it’s cooled too quickly,

Sealant on Concrete

A sealant on your concrete floor might prevent the epoxy from properly bonding with the concrete. This might eventually cause flakes and bubbles on your epoxy floor.

New Concrete

If the concrete has recently been poured, ensure that it has had proper time to cure before applying an epoxy coat. If the cement is not fully cured, moisture in the concrete can lead to several problems.

Epoxy Garage Floor Maintenance and Protection Tips and Tricks

Epoxy coating is a popular choice for garage floor finishing because of its many benefits, such as resilience, toughness, and they require minimal maintenance to be in shape. As a result, you can expect the floor to maintain its high luster even after several years of continuous use. However, you can only maintain an epoxy garage floor if you observe these simple practices:

Do Proper and Regular Maintenance

It’s best to keep your epoxy garage floor clean and free from dirt and grit, especially if you move your vehicles often off the floor. Dirt will settle and scratch the epoxy floor surface if you don’t clean regularly. Eventually, multiple scratches can show damage regardless of how tough your epoxy garage floor is.

It is advisable to dust mop the floor at least once a week; however, the frequency of dust mopping and vacuuming also depends on how much you have used or soiled your garage floor at a given time.

You can use warm water and diluted ammonia to clean your epoxy floors. However, avoid using harsh cleaning products that contain vinegar or citrus because they remove the glossy finish of the epoxy floor.

Place a walk-off mat or a doormat outside the garage to help remove dirt or water from the shoes of anyone coming inside the garage. You can place a longer mat outside the garage during winter.

You can also keep your epoxy floors in good shape by deep cleaning the entire garage every month or as frequently as necessary.

Protect the Floor from Damages

You can protect your epoxy garage floor from damage by using plywood and mats as an extra platform. If you’re dealing with heavy loads, ensure the area doesn’t have debris that might scratch the surface, especially before using rolling jacks.

Always use a welding mat to protect your epoxy garage floor from splatters and heat.

Clean up Chemicals Properly

Epoxy floor coatings are highly resistant to stains; however, motor oils and gas will damage the floors if left alone for too long. Using a paper towel or a multi-purpose shop towel, you can easily spot clean brake fluid, gasoline, and car chemicals.

You shouldn’t allow battery acid onto your epoxy floor because it will discolor and damage it, as well as the concrete below the epoxy coating. However, if battery acid finds its way onto your epoxy floor, you should clean it off immediately to prevent any further damage.

Do Not Use Soap-Based Cleaners

Soap-based cleaners leave a haze on your epoxy floor that builds over time. However, you can use dish soap and warm water if you need extra scrubbing power, but be sure to rinse the area thoroughly.

Spot Clean the Floor as Needed

It will help if you spot clean the floor areas that need help instead of cleaning the whole floor daily. If you’re dealing with small spaces with dry dirt, you can sweep or vacuum the dirt up. If you’re dealing with spilled liquids, it’s best to first remove the accumulated dirt and solid debris before spot cleaning using a degreaser and shop towel.  When done, proceed to mop the area with hot water.

Epoxy floors are water-resistant; therefore, you can clean them quickly with the proper installation of a quality floor system. You can use a soft scrubbing pad in case of water stains on the epoxy floor; however, do not scrub too hard. If the floor has stubborn rust stains, you can use rust removing agent to help remove them faster.

Epoxy floors are durable and stain-resistant; however, not caring for them can lead to damaged and dull-looking floors. Caring for your epoxy floor requires a minimum amount of time; however, you’ll need to do it regularly to ensure that the floors serve you better.

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