Parking Garage Cleaning
Most parking garages are semi-enclosed or fully enclosed spaces with limited airflow. Over time, traffic and wind will bring in dirt and debris, vehicle exhaust leaves fine black soot particles, people leave trash or spill drinks, and vehicles leak oil. You must clean a parking garage on a regular basis in order to maintain it properly. A parking garage that is not maintained will become full of trash, contaminates, and impurities. It will become not only an eyesore, but a health hazard as well.
Cleaning Methods For Parking Garages
Sweeping is the process of using a vacuum truck to remove dirt, leaves and debris from a parking garage. These trucks do not actually have a broom that sweeps (we have a gutter broom to help direct dirt to the head) but they use a very-large vacuum head that can be lowered on skids to clean up the dirt. While there are some sweeper trucks that actually have a broom, they are very large and will not fit into a parking garage. Our trucks are low-profile so we don’t have clearance issues. As long as your garage has at least 6’8″ of clearance, we can sweep it.
At C & D, we send one truck with a two-person crew into the garage. Both crew member are equipped with a backpack blower. Upon arrival each crew member gets out of the truck and begins blowing the dirt and trash away from the entrances, elevator landings, stair wells, walls and wheel stops and out into the drive lane where the sweeper truck can pick it up.
When starting a new garage that hasn’t been swept in a while, it takes multiple services to get it into good condition. Often, the first few sweeps will stir a lot of dust into the air, which settles out long after we finish sweeping. This residual dust is then picked up again on the next sweep.Over time, the condition will improve.
We perform most parking garage sweeps on a weekly or monthly basis. We recommend sweeping them at least monthly in order to properly maintain them. Waiting longer than a month allows for too much dirt and trash to collect for the trucks to do a good job and you will not be happy with the cleanliness of your garage.
The Limitations of Parking Garage Sweeping
Sweeping alone will not keep your parking garage clean. Our sweeper trucks are designed to pick up dirt, debris and some dust, however, very fine dust cannot be collected by the filtration system in our trucks. Over time this dust accumulates, causing the parking garage to become dusty. Our trucks also have a difficult time removing dirt, dust or debris that becomes adhered to the walls or pavement of the parking garage. When this happens, it is time to power wash the parking garage.
Power washing is the process of using high pressure water to clean the pavement in a parking garage. Our power washing units use hot water and have pressures that range from 3,500 – 4,000 pounds per square inch. They have volume outputs of 5.5-7 gallons per minute. In our decades of experience, we have found that any power washing unit smaller than this just not big enough to efficiently clean a parking garage. When pressure washing, the gallons per minute is what lets you effectively clean a parking garage and you cannot find machines with this kind of volume at the local hardwood store – they are specialized equipment. Power washing a parking garage allows you to clean all the fine dust and soot particles that accumulate on the floor and walls as well as liquid stains, gum and other impurities that cannot be removed via sweeping. We believe that a necessary compliment to sweeping in order properly maintain your parking garage.
We believe that parking garages should be power washed top to bottom at least once a year. Waiting any longer allows for too much dirt and contaminates to build up to get the garage completely clean in one wash. In some cases, we recommend washing more frequently than this. When we begin a program to power wash a garage that hasn’t been cleaned in a long time, you will notice a huge difference in the color of the concrete and number of stains on the ground. You would be surprised how much dirt and contaminates come out of the concrete, which is porous, when we wash your garage. Parking garages are usually dirtier than they look.
The Limitations of Power Washing a Parking Garage
Parking garages are often not designed with power washing in mind. As such, they sometimes do not have sufficient drainage or they are sloped in such a way that water can run into the elevator shafts, building, electrical rooms or down the outside wall of the garage. In these situations, we have to create dams in order to direct the water where we want it to go and sometimes we have to use water recovery equipment to get the water out of the garage. Cleaning these garages becomes more expensive than a garage with good water access and sufficient drainage. If a garage has not been washed in many years, it often takes several washes to get it clean. Oil stains cannot be completely removed either, but they can be lightened – especially over time when there is a regular washing schedule. Sometimes, the height of the ceiling and design of the fire sprinkler system can be a hindrance to power washing. If the ceiling or sprinkler heads are too low to the ground, there is a risk that the exhaust from the power washing engine can set them off.
About C & D Commercial Services
We have been cleaning parking garages since 1981. During this time, we have gained a lot of experience – you can say we’ve pretty much seen it all. At one time or another, we’ve probably cleaned most of the parking garages in the Dallas area. Let us help you on your next cleaning project.