The Ins and Outs of Cleaning Your Storage Unit Doors

November 20, 2023

A clean storage unit door next to a spotless, clean one.
4 min

There’s one problem that all facilities have in common – wear and tear. 

Things break down, slow down, or lose their shine over time. No one is the exception to that, but that doesn’t mean you have to go down without a fight; and one of the signature features of your facility is the cleanliness and condition of your doors. 

Aside from maybe your sign, your doors are first thing that a tenant notices about your facility. More importantly, it’s also the first thing a potential tenant notices about your facility. 

Be honest with yourself: if you saw a shiny, clean-doored facility next door to one with dirty, oxidized paint, which would you choose? The answer is going to be the cleaner facility ten times out of ten.

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Not only is cleaning your doors a selling point to your future tenants, but it also keeps your current ones happy. A facility that has spotless doors is a facility that is cared for.

It’s also worth noting that a facility that is cared for appears a lot safer than one that isn’t. Not only is cleanliness appealing, but it’s also repulsive to people looking for an easy steal. 

We like to refer to it a lot at StoragePug as the “eye test.” 

What is the first thing you notice when you see your facility? Is it weeds and rusty doors, or is it a well-tended structure with obvious care? Your future tenants will make their judgment in 1/10th of a second. 

That doesn’t give you much time to explain that it’s just been a muddy season this year.

A lot of people think that self storage means you aren’t selling a product, but you are. You’re selling to your tenants that you’re a place that is secure, watched, and maintained for them to safely store what matters most, and what’s worth keeping. You’re selling your image!

Your doors play a big part in that. 

The Ins and Outs of Cleaning Your Storage Unit Doors3

Cleaning Exterior Storage Unit Doors

Let’s start with what your tenant will see first: the outside.

Fortunately, cleaning the exterior of your storage unit doors is the easiest part of your facility maintenance. If your doors are well-maintained enough to have not rusted or oxidized, all you really need to do to make your doors look brand new and spiffy is a bucket and a mop! 

Since your facility is built to keep water out of the unit, you’re free to wipe down the doors directly with a mop. While it’s almost too easy, there are a few simple rules and pointers to keep in mind while you clean.

First, you want to add less cleaning agent to your water than normal; in this case, less is more. Most of these cleaning supplies aren’t meant to be used on surfaces with paint (especially silicone-based cleaners like Pledge) so it’s important that what you use isn’t going to deteriorate your paint.

Second, remember to wash your doors in the shade! If you wash your doors in the harsh sunlight, the doors will be covered in watermarks and ultimately will not look as clean as they should.

Clean your exterior doors by:

  • Lightly mixing cleaning supply to water
  • Mopping liberally 
  • Avoiding sunlight 
  • Using paint-friendly cleaners

Now that you’ve cleaned your exterior doors, is that all there is? Well, if you’ve been in the self storage business for long, you already know the answer is NO!

It’s time to inspect. Do your smart locks need a new battery? Are the mechanisms on the doors working properly? 

Cleaning is also the perfect opportunity to make sure everything is working properly.

Depending on the features and type of storage unit doors you have, it’s a wise idea to make a checklist for each move-out!

Pug Pro Tip: Want to make those doors shine a little more than just a wash? We recommend using carnauba wax! It works well with paint and brings out the best of your color. 

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Cleaning interior storage unit doors

Your gut instinct may be to assume that cleaning the outside of your doors is the same as cleaning the exterior of them. In reality, it’s almost entirely different!

For starters, you can’t use a mop like the exterior because your doors are designed to lock in! That means all the water is going to sit there inside the unit, affecting humidity and possibly rusting and damaging your doors. 

Jackie Belau from Everbrite gave us her expertise on how to clean your interior doors on our “Keeping Up with Your Facility” session of GabFocus. 

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Fortunately, as Jackie said, there are plenty of alternatives for cleaning interior doors that don’t involve water. It can be as simple as using a Swiffer mop - this won’t leave behind pools of water but still gives the doors a clean shine.

Since your interior has less chance of getting dirt on it, it can be as simple as using a microfiber cloth also. The point of cleaning your doors is really to show your tenants that you pay attention. Sometimes that’s as simple as wiping off the dust!

Waterless cleaning alternatives for interior storage unit doors:

  • Swiffer mops
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Classic dust brushes
  • Non-silicon-based wet wipes
  • Spray cleaning supplies (like Formula 409)

Cleaning your doors is a no-brainer. It makes your tenants feel more safe, tended, and overall gives you an edge over your competitors. 

When a storage unit empties, make the most of it!

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