Garage Door Maintenance – dealing with spores

When most folks think of garage door maintenance, they think of lubricating their springs, or cleaning the cobwebs off of their safety sensors – they don’t think of dealing with mold spores! These spores sound unpleasant and ugly but few know that mold spores are downright dangerous and even deadly! Here in Carrollton, Georgia, we have very humid weather and this atmospheric wetness combined with the dark interiors of our residential garages, leads to rapid mold growth. Many assume that mold grows in bathrooms, basements and under kitchen sinks and indeed it does; but it also grows and thrives inside garages, too. Carrollton Garage Pros offers some easy to follow tips on how to prevent mold growth in your garage and if you already have it, how to eliminate it.

New construction

If you are just now building your home and the garage is not yet finished, try using construction materials that discourage mold growth. These include the use of metal, aluminum and vinyl instead of the usual wood and drywall. Be sure and talk to your contractor about your mold concerns and have him take measures to not use any materials that can foster mold growth.

Already constructed and moldy!

Don’t fret – if your garage is already built or even if it’s old, you can still control the growth of any mold spores by taking certain precautions and using a few simple cleaning methods. Start with the basics; keep your garage interior as dry as possible. Remember, mold loves dampness and darkness. A dry garage interior can help prevent the growth and spread of spores so be sure to mop up any spills or leakages that occur inside your garage. This can include leaky water heaters, car radiators, water softeners and the like. If you have to leave your garage door open a few inches or even use a fan or space heater to dry out your garage interior, do so. If you notice a leaky roof, be sure to get it fixed as soon as possible. They are most easily recognized after a rain storm or bout with snow.

Mold; be gone!

You don’t want most of your mold gone; you want it ALL gone! In this way, mold spores are much like cancerous growths; leave just a little bit and you are asking for trouble! Be thorough in your cleaning and try and remove every bit of mold wherever found.

Look out for porous materials

Mold spores love porous materials to grow and thrive in. Look around your garage – your floors, walls and doors are all made of porous wood, concrete, plaster or drywall. These are the areas where you’ll be looking out for mold and also cleaning it up there. Basically you just need a bleach and water mixture. Use one-part bleach to four parts water and thoroughly clean using a sponge or brush. Don’t forget to use gloves as bleach can be very corrosive towards bare skin! Using a respirator is also a good idea; you really don’t want to breathe in bleach fumes as it’s not good for your lungs.

I hate bleach!

Okay, if you don’t want to use bleach, there is an alternative cleaning material that works wonders and is much gentler; vinegar! Don’t use the apple cider variety; you’ll want to use the white vinegar for your mold cleaning. Change the portions to one part white vinegar to one part water and scrub using a brush or sponge. Would you like added strength to your solution? Add one tablespoon dishwashing detergent to each quart of solution that you make.

Denatured alcohol is also a good cleanser that removed mold spores. If you use this method, go full strength and don’t dilute at all. Either apply with a sponge, brush or use a spray bottle to spritz it on and wipe off. Always remember to ventilate your garage while cleaning! Leave the garage door open or at least half way open. If cleaning during the winter or cold months, be sure to use a space heater or fan to circulate the air and breathe as little as possible of the fumes.

Look out for these moisture sources

We’ve already mentioned water heater and car radiators that leak. Be sure to watch out for additional moisture sources that can enter your garage in other ways. Lawnmowers, skateboards, bicycles, motorcycles and your cars can bring snow, rain and dew in from the tires. Even driving over a puddle can trek water into your garage and directly onto your porous concrete floor.

Mold loves cardboard!

Watch out for other porous substances inside your garage including cardboard, newspapers, wet rags, books, old files, etc. Instead of using cardboard boxes to store these things in, try using plastic containers, preferably with lids that close. Keeping your stored items in closed containers not only helps control the mold growth inside your garage, but it helps limit the bugs that can find their way into your boxes and containers.

Don’t wait too long to get rid of your garage mold!

If you find mold spores inside your garage, be sure to eliminate them as soon as possible! Clean your garage walls and floor and of course, the garage door itself with any of the solutions mentioned above. Try to get all of the mold removed; not just most of it. It only takes a few mold spores to survive and come back in greater amounts than ever before. Professional mold remediation is available in most big cities but it is very intensive as well as expensive. Unless your garage interior is “saturated” with mold, opt instead for do-it-yourself mold cleaning and control. Remember; mold is dangerous for human and pet health and should be removed whenever found. Strive to eliminate moisture and total darkness in your Carrollton garage by using effective cleaning and aeration methods listed above. Clean up any spills or leakage from water heaters, radiators, water softeners or roof leaks as soon as possible and fix whatever is causing the leak.