How to Remove Stains from Your Epoxy Floor
If you’ve put in the cost and time to install an epoxy floor in your garage or work space, you’ll want to keep it in top shape. Fortunately, epoxy floors are very durable and typically don’t require a lot of maintenance. You can remove most stains yourself with just a little elbow grease. Here’s how:
Assess the Stain
First off, you need to determine how to handle the stain. If it’s a minor and/or fresh spill, simply wipe it up with a clean paper or microfiber towel. If it’s been sitting for a while or is large enough to require more than a quick wipe, keep reading.
Before beginning any stain removal project, you’ll want to prep your work area first by sweeping the floor to clear away dirt and debris. Use either a soft-bristle broom or a dust mop. If it’s been a while since the last full cleaning, you might want to consider sweeping the entire floor rather than just the stained area. If so, move any furniture, toolboxes and other items out of the way.
Now it’s time to get your cleaning solution ready. Because epoxy coating is designed to resist damage, most stains can be lifted with a simple mixture of hot water and ammonia. The measurements don’t have to be exact, but it’s recommended to work with about 4 to 5 ounces of ammonia per gallon of water. Soap products aren’t recommended because they can leave a dull film behind.
Now that your floor is swept and cleared of obstacles, you’ll need to mop with your cleaning solution. You’ll want to use a mop made from synthetic fibers, as natural fibers can get trapped on the coating and lead to problems later. Mop from the farthest point of the room or garage to the door so that you don’t accidentally trap yourself in a corner while waiting for the floor to dry.
Mopping should be enough to get rid of most stains. However, some tougher stains might require a little more work. In this case, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub the stain with the same water and ammonia mixture. Be sure the bristles aren’t too hard or inflexible, since they can scratch or otherwise damage the epoxy.
If the ammonia mixture isn’t cutting it, try a gentle kitchen scrub, but make certain it doesn’t contain bleach. You should never mix bleach with ammonia due to the toxic fumes that result.
Once the stain has been removed, it’s time to finish up. Rinse the floor with clean water to clear away as much leftover residue as possible.
Next, you’ll need to dry the floor. It’s important not to leave standing water; besides being slippery and creating a safety hazard, it can also lead to mold and mildew, particularly along the seams of the floor near walls. Use a squeegee to sop up excess water. If possible, such as in a garage setting, you can work from the back of the room to the front and push the extra water out the door. If that isn’t an option, use the squeegee until it becomes saturated, squeeze the water into a bucket, and then repeat until the floor is completely dry.
Now that your floor is clean and dry, you’ll want to take some simple preventative measures to keep it that way. This can be as easy as putting down a mat near the door to trap dirt, leaves and other debris from visitors’ feet before they walk in. You’ll also want to sweep periodically so that small particles aren’t ground into the coating over time. Check out this post on epoxy floor coating maintenance tips for more.