How to Clean Your Garage Door and Preserve Its Finish

Door Washing

When it comes to your home’s exterior, proper care today means better curb appeal tomorrow. Beyond weather and sun exposure, regular use can contribute to wear on your door over time, especially when the garage is used as a primary entry point to your home. Cleaning and waxing your door is essential to keep it looking great and preserve the finish for as long as possible.

Any interior or exterior metal surfaces of your garage door should be cleaned and waxed at least twice a year. If you live in a harsh environment like a coastal region, or a region with high road salt during winter months, your door should be cleaned quarterly. This is essential for adhering to your garage door’s warranty requirements, so prevent the loss of your warranty coverage by keeping a regular cleaning schedule.

Cleaning and waxing your door helps to prevent rust, which is caused by foreign matter or salt adhering to the door. It also helps restore the look of the factory-applied finish by removing dirt and chalking from materials like road salt.

  1. Choose a cleaning implement. Options include a very wet cloth, sponge, or soft bristle brush with either of the following solutions:
    (a) One cup of Simple Green® or other non-toxic biodegradable cleaner (less than 0.5% phosphate) into two gallons of warm water – OR –
    (b) Household liquid dishwashing detergent such as Dawn®.
  2. Clean your door from top to bottom, making sure to clean behind the stop molding on the sides and top of the door.
  3. After you’ve washed your door, rinse clean water and allow to dry.

Note: DO NOT use scouring powders or solvents when cleaning the door. If you are painting your door and need preparation information, or would like more information on caring for your door, view your garage door’s Care & Maintenance manual.


Follow these basic guidelines when cleaning:

  1. Always wear protective eye wear and skin protection when using harsh cleaning compounds.
  2. Apply the solution with a soft bristle brush using medium pressure.
  3. Rinse well with clear water after cleaning.

Read more about how to remove mold and mildew from your Coachman overlays here.

Waxing your garage door’s steel surfaces is a great way to preserve its finish and is a very important part of your quarterly maintenance routine if you live in a coastal or harsh environment. The following Clopay® garage door collections should be waxed as part of your regular cleaning routine:

Using a liquid wax (do not use paste), apply wax to the steel portion of the door following the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to wax any surface that may be exposed to elements such as salt, including the interior of the bottom section of the door.

Note: Be careful not to get wax on decorative hardware as this may cause discoloration.

Click here to read about how to clean paint chalking from garage door window frames.

Click here to learn how to revitalize garage door window frames.

Cleaning Clopay Studio Series Windows

Use a quality grade automotive paste wax and buff with a soft cloth a minimum of once a year.

Click here to learn how to clean frosted glass.

Cleaning Clopay Impact-Resistant Windows Made Of Polycarbonate

Using a clean sponge or a soft cloth, wash the surface with a mild soap or detergent and lukewarm water. Rinse well with clean water, and dry thoroughly with a chamois or moist cellulose sponge to prevent water spots. Do not scrub or use brushes on this product.

To clean your Polycarbonate windows, consider one of these detergents:

  • Joy
  • Top Job
  • Palmolive Liquid

Minimizing Scratches In Your Polycarbonate Garage Door Windows

The appearance of hairline scratches and minor abrasions can be minimized by using a mild automobile polish such as:

  • Johnson Paste Wax
  • Novus Plastic Polish #1 & #2 (Novus, Inc., Minneapolis, MN)
  • Mirror Glaze Plastic Polish (M.G. M10) (Mirror Bright Polish Co., Pasadena, CA)

Follow the manufacturer's instructions and test a small area of the window with the product prior to use.

When cleaning polycarbonate doors, DO NOT do any of the following:

  • DO NOT use abrasive or highly alkaline cleaners
  • Never scrape Polycarbonate with squeegees, razor blades or other sharp instruments
  • Benzene, gasoline, acetone or carbon tetrachloride should never be used
  • DO NOT clean Polycarbonate in hot sun or at elevated temperatures

To find a dealer near you for garage door repair or service, use our Where to Buy locator. Look for the Elite Authorized, Master Authorized and Advanced Authorized Dealer seals to find the dealers with the highest acclaim from our team.

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