Complete Story


Cleaning Your Storage Doors

by Jackie Belau, Controller
Everbrite, Inc


Time for spring door cleaning- Before the summer heat sets in!

The weather is beautiful outside now, soon to come are 110° days. It’s time to get out there and get your facility cleaned up before the summer heat sets in.

While other cleaning projects can be done in any temperature, door and metal building cleaning should be done while the sun is not beating down.  If you are cleaning metal surfaces while it is too hot, you will have issues with soap residue and water spots. Not to mention you can avoid a sunburn and heat-stroke!

It is important that this task gets done in the spring, as dirty, chalky or grimy storage doors can detract from the curb appeal of your facility.  Eventually, doors that are not cared for can damage your paint and lower your property value.

Even if your doors aren't extremely oxidized or faded, dust and grime can make your property look like it is not well maintained. Customers tend to rent from facilities that look clean and well cared for. Curb appeal is an important factor when customers are considering where to keep their treasures.

The paint on your storage doors is baked on paint and will last for years without fading.  After time, the paint on your outside doors can chalk. The top layer of paint is burnt off by the sun and the paint will chalk and oxidize.  Customers do not appreciate this chalky oxidation that can get on their hands and dirty their clothes. 


Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for cleaning storage doors.

  • Do wash the doors in the shade, if possible. Just like washing your car in the sun, hard water can leave spots.
  • Do use a small amount of free rinsing detergent to clean your outside doors. These soaps rinse off easily and are not harsh on your paint.  Just a little bit of mild, biodegradable soap in a bucket of water will work wonders.  You can also use a solution of household ammonia – one cup of ammonia dissolved into 5 gallons of water with a little soap added for wetting. Be sure to wash in the early morning or in the shade to keep the soap from drying on the surface.
  • The safest way to clean the doors is by hand with mild soap and water with soft bristled brushes on poles or with microfiber towels and plain water. If there is heavy oxidation, chalk or stains on the doors, you can use a no-scratch scrubby pad to clean the doors before the washing process.  Wash from side to side on rollup or panel doors, do not allow the soap to dry on the surface. Rinse completely with plain water and let dry.
  • Do remove any chalk on the doors. Your doors will look better and your customers will appreciate not getting chalk on their hands and clothes.
  • Do rinse the doors completely. Rinse the doors with a soft spray of a hose or you can just let the water run down the door.  This will remove the dirty water and soap residue.
  • Do not use water under pressure to wash your doors. Water can get into the units. People have their stuff in cardboard boxes just inches from the door.  Power washing or pressure washing is not recommended for cleaning self storage roll-up doors because most doors to not have seals that will keep water out of the units. Water under pressure, even with a nozzle on a garden hose can get water in the unit.  Care must be taken to avoid the opening above the door and the "c" channels on the edges.
  • Do not apply soap solution to a dry surface. It can cause streaks.  It is recommended to test a small area first to make sure that your paint is compatible with any cleaning procedures.
  • Do not use vinegar. The acid can etch your aluminum hasps and bottom causing rust.
  • Do not use silicone-based products like Pledge®. Silicone will not allow future paints or restoration coatings to adhere to them.
  • Do not use oily products like WD40. Dirt and dust is attracted to these oily products and will make a real mess later that is difficult to clean up.


What if your doors are clean but are still dull or faded?   If your doors have lost the luster and you can see the difference when the door is wet and when it is dry, the topcoat on your doors is probably gone.  A quality clear protective coating that is made for metal will restore the color and luster of your doors.

It is important to choose a high-quality clear coating. You want to choose a coating that is formulated to be flexible and will not crack, chip or peel when the doors roll up and down thousands of times. You want a coating that can be applied again years later for maintenance; stripping the coating can lead to paint damage. Also important is not just a glossy shine, but advanced UV protection to actually protect the paint from the strong Arizona sun rays, otherwise the doors will fade again soon. 


What if you have peeling paint?  If your doors are peeling, chances are that your doors have been repainted in the past.  If the paint is peeling, the peels or loose paint will need to be removed, the area should be feathered in and primed and painted. This should be done by a professional painter. Painting metal, especially metal that is flexible like roll-up doors, has challenges that a professional painter can help you with.


Interior Doors have different challenges when trying to clean them or interior panels.  Doors inside hallways do not have a protective lip in them and any water that is spilled in a hallway will seep under the doors or walls to damage your customers goods. 

It is not a good idea to clean the doors in hallways with buckets of water.  If you were to accidentally spill a pail of water in the hallway, you may have some very unhappy customers. Imagine the cardboard boxes on the floor and the contents getting wet and soggy.

  • There are waterless wash and wax products available that can be sprayed on the doors and wiped off with cloths that will clean and shine at the same time.
  • Spray cleaners like 409 or Fantastic will work for spot cleaning. Microfiber towels work well because they clean well without leaving lint or fibers like rags or terrycloth towels.
  • The black marks from carts can be easily removed with a 000 synthetic steel wool pad. Do not use “Magic Erasers” as they will remove layers of paint along with the marks.

So, get out there now and clean up your doors and metal buildings so they look better all summer!  The better the curb appeal, the better you can attract and keep happy customers.  

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