The garage, I think, is hands down the hardest “room” in the house to clean. Why? Because everything you don’t want in the house usually ends up there (I speak from personal experience).

The garage is boiling hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter. It’s dirty. It smells. And worst of all, THE BUGS. Oh my gosh, THE BUGS. Last week alone it was me against 3 bees, 12 flies and a spider the size of a golf ball…but I got through without a sting or personal encounter (phew!).

While cleaning the entire garage is a job and a half as they say, I often find it easier to chunk big jobs like down into smaller projects to make it more palatable (and frankly so that it will fit into my schedule).  So, if you don’t have time for a full-on, heavy-duty garage cleanup but want to get cracking, here are one of two garage makeovers you can do in 30 minutes or less!

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Tools and Gardening Equipment

Tools may be tough, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve some loving once in awhile.  And, when I need my tools the most (or uh…when Chad does), that’s the last time I want to think about cleaning them.  Clean tools work better and last longer, not to mention aren’t super grungy when you need them the most.  So here’s a quick method that you can use to give your tools some TLC and make them look display-worthy.

Give your tools a bath

This is way easier than bathing a toddler or a puppy, I promise!  Create a romantic bubble bath for your tools with nothing more than a teaspoon of blue Dawn and add it to a gallon of hot water.  Stir it up and get it nice and bubbly (save the wine for later, though!).  Now, why Dawn for tool cleaning?   Allow me to explain: it is used to wash dishes, yes. But while you’re using it on your dishes its fighting grease – which tools are COVERED in. I’ve found it does a really great job of getting rid of grease on so many things, which is why I’m suggesting it specifically.  Naturally, being soap, it’s also amazing at getting rid of dirt too.  I’d rather use this than purchase an expensive degreaser since it’s effectively doing the same thing.

Time to scrub

Now that your soap and water combo is ready, place each tool in the bucket one at a time and scrub with an old rag or soft sponge. Remember to wear rubber gloves if the water is too hot for your hands!  Now, don’t leave tools in there to soak – some tools can rust or etch so the safest bet is to do this one tool at a time to keep water exposure down.  You should be scrubbing actively the whole time the tool is submerged.   Once everything feels and looks grease free (that ‘squeaky clean’ feel), rinse it off with clean running water and dry well with a towel.  Remember: incomplete drying can lead to rust.


If you have a pegboard or have always wanted one, now would be a great time to start using it or to pick one up! When Chad and I moved into our house there was already one in our garage (so awesome!) and we love how easy it is to find everything and keep the tools organized.  It also *kinda* feels like you work at a store when you get to put pegs wherever you want and hang things up.  Secretly fun, right?  For smaller things like nails and nuts and bolts, plastic drawers with labels or old plastic food containers are super useful and don’t take up a ton of room. And for those tools that you don’t really use very much but don’t want to get rid of either, keep them in your trusty toolbox.

Looking better already! How do you keep your garage tidy between big clean ups?

Disclosure: I’ve been working with Dawn on the very exciting Alternative Uses project to share some amazing ways you can use it around the house!

If you’re looking for more tips and tricks to keep in mind when cleaning check out our E-Book Bundle! It gives you access to our E-Books My 3-Wave Cleaning System, 50 DIY Cleaning Recipes, and The Complete Guide to Essential Oils!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. hi there – re: coconut oil – great use is the oral health direction of coconut oil pulling. upon getting up in the morning take about a teaspoon or so into your mouth and swish for about 20 minutes – i do mine while i am in the shower/preparing breakfast and it also allows for some silent moments of reflection thoughts. while in the shower/bath i also wash my delicates like my bra gets washed by using her as a washcloth and on my head to gently scrub my head and it. my undies usually land up as a body cloth or even under my feet to wash it. thereby saving water, soap and time and giving a nice time frame for the body to enjoy the shower/bath. also do laundry the shower/bath towel(s) after the third shower as the bacteria likes what it finds in that towel like the flaky skin cells, etc.the bed sheets need a weekly laundry also for the unhealthy stuff that gets on/in them while you and your body engage in the sleep. hope the helpful hints can be shared and passed along. thanks you and blessings on all your endeavors.

  2. Just from a recent experience, I would caution people to not use a bleach. I didn’t realize how caustic it is and got a pretty good burn. Also, you might suggest a light coat of WD40 or 3 in 1 oil coating after washing and drying tools.

    Great program – keep it up.

  3. Hi.I have been cleaning for as long as I can remember.As a business to put me through college and of course for my own home.I will reserve my opinion until I have seen several more videos.

  4. everything you have posted – I try – good job! Love your ideas and inexpensive too!
    Wow the dishwasher, washer were awesome ideas and more. I clean every day – live
    in dusty AZ. Bugs too! We have a bug guy and also use sticky traps to see if any are missed.
    Keep up the good work and hope you a rewarded. Thank you, Debbie – Bullhead City, AZ


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