The garage can be an extension of the home and provide essential storage space. However, when not properly cleaned and maintained, it can also pose health and safety risks. Follow these top 5 tips for a safe and clean garage to protect your home and family.
Declutter and Organize Your Garage
Tidying up is a simple way to prevent potential injury and eliminate trip hazards. Be especially mindful of any items with sharp edges, like tools, loose nails, and shovels. Wear work gloves while cleaning if you are not sure if sharp objects are mixed with other items.
As you declutter, donate or throw away unused items and categorize anything that remains. Invest in shelves, cubbies, or labeled boxes to make your garage easier to navigate, while keeping it clean.
Properly Store Chemicals
Lubricants, paints, and other chemicals may be flammable or dangerous to touch or ingest. Make sure to store chemicals in their original containers to avoid hazards like leaking fluid and fumes from sub-par containers. Also keep chemicals on a high shelf away from children and pets.
Check Your Garage Door
Regular wear and tear can cause issues with your garage door over time. Inspect your garage door springs and cables for damage and replace as needed. Also make sure you know how to locate and use the garage door emergency release, and test the auto-reverse safety feature is working properly.
Take Garage Fire Safety Precautions
Garage fires can go undetected for longer than fires that start in other parts of the home. This makes it important to take proper safety precautions:
- Keep a fire extinguisher inside the garage or just inside your home access door.
- Check all electrical cords for damage and replace as needed. Never staple cords to walls or run them across room where they could be a trip hazard.
- Avoid using extension cords or light bulbs that are not the proper wattage to reduce risk of overloading circuits.
- Keep flammable items away from electrical appliances and other heat sources.
- Consider having your garage checked by a professional for proper electrical wiring and fire-retardant walls/ceilings.
- If you have an attached garage, install a carbon monoxide detector to help prevent dangerous gas from leaking into your home, and make sure home access door is fire-rated.
Reduce Security Threats
Keep the garage door closed even if you are working in the yard or nearby. If you store valuables in your garage, keep them out of view of doors and windows. This will help reduce risk of a prospective thief seeing something of interest and returning later. Additionally, for attached garages make sure access door just as secure as your front door.
If you have a habit of forgetting to close the garage door, install a garage door sensor or automatic closer. These can notify you if the garage has been left open, or close it automatically after a set period.
Don't overlook potential safety and security hazards with your garage. The next time you visit your garage, consider taking some of these simple preventative measures to keep your home and family safe.