How to make easy work of tough cleaning jobs

When it comes to cleaning jobs at home, the heaviest, grimiest buildup is usually found in the garage. It's where automotive grease and grime meet tracked-in dirt, grass and beyond from yardwork and outdoor adventures.

Is your garage due for a deep cleaning? Once you've cleared out last year's clutter, the next step is to get rid of the grime in all its forms – from your power tools all the way down to the dirty rags on the workbench. And yes, those nasty trash cans will need a good cleaning and deodorizing.

With the right cleaning product and proper know-how, you can make short work of all that gunky, grimy buildup. Check out a series of 6 DIY garage cleaning jobs made simple below!

Make sure all rinsing and disposal of used product is either onto the ground or down a sanitary sewer drain. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner has earned the U.S. EPA's Safer Choice label, verifying its safety and performance, so you don't have to worry about harm to people or the planet when you clean.

1. Painted Walls

Tire marks, scuffs and other marks on your walls are unappealing, and can ruin the look of even the cleanest garage. Maintain the look of your walls by keeping them clean and free of dust, fingerprints, stains and smudges with a non-abrasive cleaning solution that won't discolor or diminish your paint. Whether your walls are coated with latex paint or oil-based paint, using Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner on a regular cleaning schedule can keep dirt off painted walls and keep them looking great.

Directions: Dust all surfaces to be cleaned, then dilute 1 ounce of Simple Green to 4 cups water. Spot test a small, hidden area before use. Spray the Simple Green solution directly onto the area, and allow the product to soak for a minute or so on heavy soils such as scuff marks or crayon. Then wipe down wall surface completely, and use a damp, clean non-abrasive cloth to remove dirt & grime. Finally, dry the wall completely, and use a clean, non-abrasive cloth to wipe down oil-based gloss or semi-gloss walls for a streak-free surface. (This step is not necessary on latex.)

2. Power Tools / Hand Tools

Whether cleaning a recently-purchased power tool or a grimy old wrench set from a garage sale, proper maintenance is key to prolonging your tool's functionality.

Always check your power tool's manufacturer's guide first for proper cleaning recommendations.

Directions: Disconnect tools from any power source and disassemble any removable components. For cordless tools, the battery should be completely removed unless it's self-contained. Use a can of compressed air to loosen or blow out any accumulated dirt and grime that's collected in the grooves, nooks & crannies of your tools. Then fill a bucket with equal parts hot water and Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. Wearing work gloves to avoid any sharp edges or points on your tools, place tools in the bucket and let soak for 5-7 minutes. Take care not to submerge any power cables or motor casings. Use a wire brush to scrub off any remaining debris, and steel wool to eliminate any rust accumulation. Scrub lightly with each to avoid scratching the surface of your tools. Wipe off excess buildup with a soft rag. Rinse and towel-dry your tools, making sure to absorb any remaining moisture. Allow approx. 30 minutes to air dry. Reassemble any power tool components and check all moving parts before plugging in.

3. Garage Door

No matter what kind of garage door you have, it's going to get dusty and dirty from dust, pollen, exhaust and more, and a chalky and faded garage door can ruin the curb appeal of your home. Regular cleaning will keep your garage door running smoothly and looking great.

Direction: Hose down the surface of the garage door, and remove dirt and debris buildup from between panels as needed. Mix 2 cups Simple Green Oxy Solve House and Siding Cleaner per gallon of water, and spot test a small, hidden area before use. Then apply the solution in sections, using a pump sprayer or soft, non-abrasive scrub brush. Allow 5-10 minutes for the solution to loosen dirt, without allowing the solution to dry on the surface of the garage door. Scrub visibly dirty areas to remove heavy dirt and stains. Then rinse well with a garden hose, making sure to go side-to-side and top-to-bottom of the garage door. Air dry.

For pressure washing your garage door, follow these instructions.

4. Oily, Grimy Rags

Whether you're a seasoned auto mechanic or a do-it-yourself aficionado, if you're doing work in the garage, you've likely got a few oily rags hanging around that could use a good cleaning. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is also a powerful degreaser, great for lifting oily, grimy residue from your workshop rags.

Directions: In a small bucket or container, add 1 part Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner to 1 part water. Submerge cloths or rags, and agitate. Allow an hour to penetrate soils. Then empty container down a sanitary sewer drain, and rinse rags thoroughly before air drying. Repeat process if necessary.

5. Concrete Floor

When cleaning up spills on concrete, it's important to use a cleaner that will take care of dirty areas without damaging your concrete sealant. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner gets the job done, with a non-toxic and biodegradable formula that's safer for your kids and pets, so you don't have to worry about harsh chemical exposure.

Directions: Sweep the floor first, then dilute about ½ cup of Simple Green for each gallon of water in a bucket. Dip a mop or push broom in the mixture and spread onto the surface. Then hose down or mop the concrete with clean water and allow to dry.

6. Trash Cans / Recycling Bins

You load the trash or recyclables into their respective bins, and put them out of mind until collection day. But inevitably, they accumulate grime, grease and dirt, and will need a good cleaning and deodorizing. Outdoor trash cans can get particularly gross, with grass clippings and other refuse leaving behind a sludgy, stinky mess. Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner will power through the grimiest buildup and odors, returning your trash cans and recycling bins to their proper condition.

Directions: Empty the trash can and remove any lingering mess, then rinse out the can. If you have access to a hose, take the trash can outside and hose it down. If your outdoor space is limited, this can also be done in the bathtub or shower.

Apply Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. Spray the trash can liberally until the surface is completely covered. Don't forget the top and bottom of the can. Scrub with a stiff brush to remove any gunk, and to get into the corners of the can. Rinse the trash can, then leave it sitting upside down to air dry or wipe dry with a clean cloth.