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How to Clean Your Garage and Get Rid of That Musty Garage Smell

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How to Clean Your Garage and Get Rid of That Musty Garage Smell

When we don’t know where to store something in our home, we often toss it in our garage. It’s an accessible and convenient open space to store any type of item. But as time passes, it gets fuller and messier. You add cleaning your garage to your to-do list, but push it aside seeing what an anxious mess it’s become. 


We understand how stressful and challenging it is to declutter and clean out your garage. Not to mention, how to get rid of that musty garage smell! So buckle up, as we dive into how to properly and efficiently clean out your garage. 

5 Key Steps in Organizing and Cleaning Your Garage Space

Whether you’re dealing with a lack of space or clutter, there are five key steps that will help you simplify the art of cleaning and organizing your garage space. 

1. Take It All Out

In order to efficiently clean your mess, start by taking everything out of your garage and moving it to your driveway. Laying everything out will help you see what you might want to get rid of and visualize how to properly organize your garage space. Moreover, this will give you time to think of what kind of storage solutions will work best for your items.

2. Keep or Toss?

Now that you have everything laid out, go through each item and determine whether you should keep it or toss it. Often times, our garage space gets so full and messy because we have things we don’t really need or rarely use. So it’s important to carve out time to purge things in order to create a new and clean beginning. 


And don’t get us wrong, it’s hard to let things go! To help you out, we’ve compiled a few questions that will help you determine if you should keep or toss something. If the answers to the following statements are a yes, then consider keeping the item: 


  • Have you used this item/device more than once in the past year? 
  • Is this in good condition? 
  • Would it be difficult to borrow this elsewhere?

3. Donate, Sell, or Toss the “No” Items

Now that you’ve determined what stays, what do you do with all of the stuff you don’t want or need? 


    • Donate - The best option is donating. You’ll have the opportunity to pass it onto someone or a community that can make good use of your items. Organizations such as Goodwill or Salvation Army are great options to donate your things to, or you can even advertise and give them away on social media platforms. 
  • Sell - If you don’t think some of your items are appropriate to donate, or if you’d rather make some money off of them, use platforms such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to list your items for sale. 
    • Toss - And of course, if the two options above do not work, dispose of the items. Depending on how large they are (say you have large pieces of old furniture), you may want to consider renting a dumpster.

    4. Deep Clean the Space

    While you have an empty garage, take advantage of this time by washing it down. Clean your garage from top to bottom. 


    Start with any cabinets or shelves. Scrub them down using a damp cloth, and then wipe down your garage walls with a mild household detergent and a sponge mop. Once you’re finished wiping down the walls, use a flat head mop with a microfiber cloth to dry the. 


    Finish by sweeping, mopping, and hosing the floors. There are a variety of methods you can use to remove different types of stains from your floors: 

    Oil/Grease Stains 

    Cat litter, dish soap, and a nylon-bristle brush will help get rid of oil/grease stains. Sprinkle cat litter on the oil/grease stain and leave it on for a day. This will help absorb the oil/grease. 


    After a day has passed, sweep the cat litter and drizzle dish soap on top of the stain. Let the soap sit for 45 minutes. Pour water over the soap and using a nylon-bristle brush, scrub the area. Rinse the area with water, and repeat this process as needed. 

    Rust Stains

    To remove rust stains, squeeze lemon or white vinegar on the area, and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Use a nylon-bristle brush to scrub the stain and rinse the area with water. Repeat as needed.  

    Paint Stains

    Start by using a putty knife to scrape off any loose paint and sweep the area around the paint. Wearing gloves, mix TSP (trisodium phosphate) and water. Pour the solution on the paint and rinse it with water. Scrape any remaining bits of paint on the floor and rinse again.

    General Cleaning

    If you’re lucky enough that you don’t have tough stains in your garage and simply need to do some basic cleaning, you can use baking soda and water. Mix half a cup of baking soda with a gallon of warm water, and use this solution to scrub your floor. This will help remove dirt and light stains. You can also opt to mix laundry detergent with water to clean. 

    5. Organize

    The type of storage to select depends on the types of items you have and the way you want your garage space to look. Useful tools and ideas that help maximize your storage space are: 


  • Overhead garage storage - There are various handy overhead tools that help you store large and heavy items such as your kayaks, bikes, and rooftop tents. They will help get rid of clutter on your floor and neatly hang up your gear.
  • Cabinets - You can cover one of your walls with nice cabinets that will help your space look neat and organized. And you’ll have a plethora of space to store all of your items!
    • Pegboard - This allows you to easily attach hooks and baskets to conveniently store your items such as your tools, shovels, and rakes. 

    How to Get Rid of a Musty Smell in the Garage

    While you’re deep cleaning the space, if you notice a musty smell in your garage the chances are, you have mold or mildew. This is often due to poor ventilation and low air circulation. So before it gets any worse or pervades through other items in your garage, follow these steps to get rid of the mold/mildew and smell quickly: 


    1. You can use several different products such as bleach, vinegar, or tea tree oil to clean up mold. If you use bleach, use one gallon of cool water with one cup of chlorine bleach in a bucket. 
    2. Use a spray bottle to apply the solution and with a sponge or cloth, scrub down the mold. 
    3. You don’t need to rinse the surface (unless it may be touched by children or pets). The bleach will prevent future mold growth. 

    Prevention Tactics

    Take proper measures to avoid future buildup of mold, mildew, and a musty stench: 


    • Conduct regular clean-ups to prevent having a musty garage. The more frequently you clean, the less likely mold and mildew will form. 
    • Create proper ventilation in your garage. Inviting fresh air is key to counteracting a musty garage smell and other bad odors. Prop a window open or use a dehumidifier. 
    • Place open boxes of baking soda around your garage and replace them every month. This will help absorb bad odors in your garage.

     

    Cleaning your garage can turn into a long-term project, so don’t get discouraged if it’s taking you longer than you expected or if you need to harness a lot of manpower in the process. Take your time with it, because you want to be sure you do it right and create your ideal garage space.

    The Best Storage Solutions for Your Clean Garage

    Garage Smart understands the importance of having functional tools and solutions to create the garage space of your dreams. Learn more by checking out our products like the Universal XL Lifter. Clean, practical, and easy to install, this lifter will help you remove clutter in your garage and craft an organized space to get your work done.

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    • Erica Burton