Timely tips to clean your garage and garbage bins

Garage

A dirty, untidy garage is an inefficient use of space, and at worst, downright dangerous. If you have no idea what's in those half-empty bottles of garden chemicals and paint cans, it's time for a major clean-up.

Timely tips to clean your garage and garbage bins

1. First, pull out the car

  • Start chucking out anything in a bottle, jar or can that looks dangerous. But don't just throw them in the garbage bin — contact your local Poisons Information Centre and ask where you can take the products for safe disposal.
  • Get rid of any other junk — broken things, rusty tools and so on.
  • Roll up your sleeves, strap on a dust mask and get ready to give those rubber gloves a workout.
  • Knock down cobwebs and brush away debris from the walls with a long-handled broom, and thoroughly sweep the floor.
  • In a bucket, mix hot water and an alkaline-based household detergent according to label instructions.
  • If the walls need cleaning, wash them first, using a strong-bristled floor brush with a long handle.
  • Always start at the bottom and work up to prevent streaking.
  • While standing in one spot, wash as much as you can reach, then rinse with warm water. Continue until the walls are finished.
  • Next, scrub the floors, again using hot water and household detergent.
  • Because concrete is porous, strong odours, such as animal waste, can be hard to eradicate. If a strong scrubbing doesn't do the trick, or if the floor is grimy with grease and tar from the car, you can use a commercial concrete cleaner.
  • When it's clean and dry, you can seal the floor with a concrete sealer, which is stronger than wax. Follow the label instructions and spread it on with a mop.
  • After cleaning, open any doors or windows to air out the space and help the drying process.

2. If mould or mildew is a problem

  • And it can be in garages below ground level. Take an extra step after cleaning. Mop the walls and floors with a solution 125 millilitres of (1/2 cup) of chlorine bleach to nine litres (nine quarts) of water, then rinse well.
  • Keep in mind that the bleach will kill existing mildew, but the mildew will keep coming back unless the source of the moisture problem is found and dealt with properly.

3. Go to a large hardware chain

Invest in a series of hooks, clips and inexpensive shelving to hold, hang and store your tools, bicycles and garden chemicals, so that your newly cleaned garage remains clutter free.

4. Garbage bins

No matter how tough, most brands of garbage bags leak at one time or another. When they leak, revolting liquids always manage to find their way into your garbage bin, attracting flies and making your stomach turn every time you open the lid.

  • Clean your garbage bin outdoors, where you can do a proper job.
  • Use a garden hose to flush out any residue and then fill the bottom of the bin with a bleach solution: 125 to 250 millilitres (1/2 to one cup) of chlorine bleach for every four litres (four quarts) of water.
  • Use warm water, if you can.
  • Add a squirt or two of dishwashing liquid.
  • Use a toilet brush to clean the bottom and sides, sloshing the bleach-and-soap solution up the sides as you do. Empty and rinse thoroughly with your hose.
  • Air dry outside.

5. To repel flies, ants and other insect pests

Sprinkle borax on the bottom of the bin once it is dry. Borax is widely available at hardware stores and supermarkets.

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