How To Clean And Lubricate Garage Doors?

Garage doors won’t operate well indefinitely. Beyond their functionality that may eventually break down through overuse and age, they also require semi-regular cleaning and lubrication to keep them operating well. 

Without scheduling the cleaning of garage doors along with using the right type of lubricant on them, stiffness in the door mechanism and squeaking sounds will result.

Here is what to do to clean and lubricate the garage doors yourself. 

Get Prepared

It’s necessary to get a few supplies at the ready before you get started.

A clean, dry cloth is required. Also, if the door is particularly dusty or has accumulated various bits of debris, then getting the vacuum cleaner ready isn’t a bad idea either. A sponge and a bucket of soapy water will be ideal for washing the garage door. Keep a ladder handy to access the tallest parts of the door mechanism too. 

Doors don’t need oils or even a degreaser in most cases. For most garage doors, using these gums up the works rather than smoothing out their operation. Instead, you’ll need a silicone-based spray or white lithium grease spray as a secondary option.

Make The Garage Door Safe to Work On

Once you have the right supplies ready, go ahead and close the garage door.

Then turn off the breaker for the garage and check that the garage door no longer has power. This is essential for your safety. The breaker box is easier to access than the power for the garage door mechanism. Furthermore, disable the garage door opener too.

Wash the Door

Washing the door is a good idea. 

Use soapy water and the sponge to wash the door and wipe it down. It’s possible to wax it too, but we’d probably suggest waiting until after the door mechanism clean has been completed first. Then wash the exterior and wax inside and out.

For now, the goal is simply to get the interior of the door clean. That way, it’ll be easier to see what remains to be done from there. 

Weather Stripping is Next

The weatherstripping needs to be sprayed with the silicone lubricant every quarter. 

Otherwise, it will dry up, begin to crack, and either become unusable or no longer remain in place. 

Make a note to replace any weather stripping that isn’t salvageable, pick some supplies up at the hardware store, and add what’s needed later.

Clean the Garage Door’s Tracks

The tracks pick up all manner of grime, dirt, and anything else that’s carried in by the wind over time.

Use a wet cloth to wipe the tracks down and remove anything that shouldn’t be there. These deposits can give the rollers a hard time moving up and down on the tracks. 

For stubborn tracks with grime build-up that won’t shift, a brake cleaner from the auto industry might do the trick. Usually, though, it’s not that bad. 

If there are numerous little bits of debris all along the tracks, then use the attachment hose on the vacuum cleaner. Do not lubricate the tracks. It won’t help and could damage them. 

Lubricate the Garage Door Rollers

The door rollers are one of the main reasons for a stiff door opening and closing action. 

Garage doors have rollers on either side of them near to the hinges. Rollers are circular and contain ball bearings that should move smoothly along the tracks. With lubrication, they work better.

A silicone lubricant has a thin plastic attachment. Point this at where the ball bearings are located. Be careful with rollers made from nylon because lubricant can damage them; just lubricate inside.

Apply sufficient lubricant to get everything rolling smoothly. Don’t overdo it though, otherwise, it’ll make a puddle on the garage floor.

Lubricate the Bearing Plates and Springs

Look at the uppermost areas of the door because that’s where the bearing plates and springs are usually found. 

Use a ladder to carefully reach the top of the door. Spray lubricant on the springs. Then move onto the bearing plates. Once both are lubricated well, this will assist the door in operating with a smoother motion. 

While you’re there, visually check the springs for any obvious damage indicating that they need replacing. 

Don’t Forget the Hinges Too

Metal hinges are often the big noisemakers in a garage door mechanism. They will also benefit from being sprayed with lubricant. 

This part is tricky because to reach them, the garage door needs to be manually elevated to the point where the hinge is bent at the top. It’s possible to prop open the door but it’s safer to have a friend or family member support the door in an opened state while you add lubricant to the now-exposed hinges. 

Add Lubricant to the Rail Top and Lock

The rail top and lock also require lubricating. 

The top of the rail needs some lubrication using the spray and then smoothing the lubricant across the area with a cloth to ensure wide coverage. 

With the lock, adding lubricant inside the keyhole including the internal locking mechanism can avoid rust developing or the lock from sticking in the future. 

And Test Thoroughly

Testing is required by flipping the breaker again and trying to open the garage door. 

If some areas are still sticking or making a sound, track it to its source, and repeat the process for that troublesome area. Be sure to turn the power back off at the breaker first though!

While it’s mostly a one-person job, having someone around to hold up the door to allow the hinges to be lubricated makes life much easier.