Not many people consider cleaning their patio door tracks. But, it might be one of the spots in your house that needs immediate attention. If your patio door tracks are too dirty, they prevent your door from closing properly. It might seem like an overwhelming process, but if you have the right tools and supplies, the cleaning will be much smoother.
The thought of cleaning out your patio door tracks most likely does not excite you. On the other hand, the thought of saving time, money and having a newly cleaned door track is very exciting. Read on for simple, step-by-step directions that will guide you in cleaning your patio door tracks effectively.
Gather the Correct Tools
Cleaning your patio door tracks will be a satisfying project, but ensuring you have the correct tools.
You should be able to find all of these tools already inside your home, or you can purchase them at your local department store.
There are many alternatives to the tools suggested below and will be mentioned later in this article. The tools below have generally been found to work regardless of the level of filthiness you find in your patio door tracks. Below are the tools and supplies you will want for cleaning your track.
- Scraping tool – we usually use a 5 in 1 painter’s tool
- Vacuum crevice tool
- Paper towel or rag
- Baking soda
Use the Scraping Tool
The scraping tool(s) you decide to use depends on how thick the dirt and grime are, plus how tight space is in your tracks. Your scraping tool can be as simple as a toothbrush, but in some cases, you might need a more heavy-duty tool.
If you have not paid much attention to this part of your home in the post, it is likely quite dirty. In this case, purchase heavier duty tools that make the process more efficient. Be sure to use some elbow grease along with whatever tool you choose.
This is after we cleaned the patio door. It looks better and the doors are easier to close.
Using wire brushes will be the most effective way to scrape off the dirt and debris. A rounded wire brush will allow you to get into the corners, while a straw brush can help in hard-to-reach spaces. Use a combination of these tools to scrape up and loosen the top layer of dirt. The more you scrape up now, the better off you will be in later steps.
Use Your Vacuum with a Crevice Tool
Your vacuum most likely came with a crevice tool. You know, the tool that you rarely use because it never had a purpose. Now, it has a purpose!
After you loosen the first couple of layers of dirt, use your vacuum with the attached crevice tool to suck up the loose dirt. Alternate using the vacuum crevice tool after scraping off each layer of dirt with the scraping tool mentioned above.
Once you put down your baking soda and vinegar mixture (in the next step), you will want to avoid the vacuum and stick to using a paper towel or rag to wipe up the residue. Make sure to open and close your patio door after vacuuming to loosen as much hidden dirt as possible.
Sprinkle Baking Soda and Vinegar
Next, after you have scraped and vacuumed up the debris and dirt, there will inevitably be a layer or spots that you will not be able to remove with your tools. These will be so caked on from years of being ground into the track that simple scraping and vacuuming will not do.
At this point, you will need your baking soda and vinegar. This mixture will soften up the dirt and debris that is left behind.
- Avoid pre-mixing this solution as it will cause a bubbling chemical reaction.
- Sprinkle the baking soda on the stubborn areas and pour vinegar over the top.
- Let the mixture sit and allow the chemical reaction to take place.
- Wait a few minutes to let the chemicals work together and loosen up the dirt.
- Begin wiping the area with your paper towel.
- Continue cleaning up the layer of the loosened dirt by repeating this step as needed, which may take a few times to remove all the grime.
- Let your mixture seep into the crevices in the track to remove all hidden dirt.
Use Alternative Tools When the Above Are Not Available
The tools mentioned above are just suggestions and ones found to be most effective. You can find everyday household items that will get the job done. For your scraping tools, you may use an old toothbrush for the easy to reach spots. Furthermore, if your track is easy to get into, an SOS pad or hard sponge would work well to loosen dirt.
For the corners, a butter knife or flathead screwdriver can work perfectly. Make sure to wrap these tools in a paper towel or rag to avoid damaging your track or door or injuring yourself.
Instead of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide added to your baking soda causes a similar chemical reaction and assists in loosening up the dirt and grime. A household cleaner is another acceptable alternative but may not be as effective. Be cautious of any chemicals you use, and make sure you know whether or not it is safe to mix.
Know When to Clean Your Patio Door Tracks
Now that you have cleaned, scraped, vacuumed, and wiped your tracks. You are probably wondering, “How often do I need to do this?” The answer is that you do not want to put yourself in the same predicament and wait until your tracks get disgustingly dirty before going through this cleaning process again.
Wiping your track down weekly is ideal. If you are someone without a lot of time, cleaning the track after each season or four times a year will still allow you to avoid the dirt and gunk build-up.
You could also add wiping down your track into your normal cleaning routine. The more often you are able to clean it, the less burdensome it will be over time.
Maintain a Clean Track
After cleaning your track, you can add a lubricant to avoid a squeaky and noisy door. Maintain a clean patio door track with a silicone-based lubricant to keep your door sliding smoothly. You should plan on lubricating your track at least once every two months.
A dirty patio track can cause more wear and tear on your track, eventually needing it to be replaced. The more maintenance and attention you give to your track now, the better you will be in the long run and avoid having to pay for expensive repairs or replacements.
Avoid Dirtying Up Your Track
Once you have cleaned your patio door track, you should think about proactive steps you can take to avoid getting your track dirty.
- One step you can take is to get a doormat. The doormat will be your first line of defense from all the mud and gunk being dragged into your home.
- If you have pets, consider giving them a brush down before they come into the house. Pet hair will always find its way into your patio door track, and a proactive approach will work wonders in this situation.
- Remove your shoes before coming inside.Mud and dirt love to travel on the bottom of shoes. Having everyone remove their shoes before entering avoids this problem altogether.
Take proactive steps to avoid having to clean your patio door track. Regular and proper cleaning can keep you from having to set an entire day aside to clean your patio door tracks. However, keeping the tracks clean in the first place will make an even great difference.