Your Ultimate Guide to Rust on Your Garage Door

You can get rust off of your garage door by washing your door with steel wool and white vinegar. To prevent future rust, you can weatherproof your door.
Written by Katherine Duffy
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Garage door rust usually occurs because of specific environmental factors and how your garage door paint was applied. Get rid of garage door rust by following a simple three-step process. 
Garage doors are expensive home features and can hugely impact the look and feel of your home. So, when your garage door begins to show signs of rust, it can be incredibly frustrating. 
To help you get your garage door back in tip-top shape,
, the
super app
home insurance
, is here with all the answers. We’ll cover the reasons for your garage door rust, how to get rust off garage doors, and how to prevent garage door rust in the future. 
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How to remove rust from your garage door 

Before repainting your door or taking extra steps to weather-proof your garage door, you’ll need to remove the rust. Thankfully, this is a job you can do yourself by following three simple steps. 
You’ll need these materials before you can start the process: 
  • Cloth 
  • White vinegar
  • Steel wool
  • Sandpaper
  • Auto body filler
  • Trisodium phosphate or dish soap
  • Garden hose 

Get rid of the rust

Thoroughly wipe down all of your garage door rust with a cloth soaked in white vinegar. Once you’ve removed all the rust that you can with a cloth, it’s time to go over the rusted areas with a steel wool pad.
It’s important to remove all of the rust so it does not spread and stop the oxidization process for good. 

Fill the holes

Your garage door rust may have caused holes to form in your garage door. You can use auto body filler to fill these holes. Once the filler has dried, go over the filler with sandpaper to smooth out the putty. 

Wash your door

Once your door has been filled and sanded, it’s time to wash off any dirt, grease, dust, or debris from the previous step. While a mixture of trisodium phosphate and water will be the most effective, dish soap and water will do the trick. Once you’ve thoroughly washed your door, use a garden hose to rinse off the suds and let it dry completely. 
After that’s done, it’s time to have the door refinished. While you could repaint the door yourself, it is recommended that you have a professional repaint the door to prevent any future issues. 

Why is there rust on my garage door? 

Garage door rust can be mind-boggling and annoying to deal with, especially if you’re noticing rust on your brand-new garage doors. 
That’s right—regardless of whether your garage doors are brand new or decades old, there are many reasons why garage doors get rusty. Here are the two most common culprits: 

Environmental factors 

The kind of climate and environment in which you live is the most significant contributor to your garage door rust. For example, a home close to the coast might have garage door rust due to wind and saltwater damage, whereas a house in an area with harsh winters could have rust form from driveway salt and excessive snow. 
In general, if you live in an area that gets a lot of precipitation, is quite humid, or in an industrial area with more environmental pollutants, your home will be more prone to garage door rust. 

Paint application

Garage doors must be painted in a specific way to ensure the longevity and quality of the paint job. In fact, the
Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association
lays out specific requirements for garage door manufacturers on how paint should be applied to ensure your door is protected from the elements. 
It’s possible that your garage door was painted before these standards existed or was repainted unprofessionally, which will leave your garage door vulnerable to rust. 
Even if your door has been painted professionally, your garage door can rust if the paint has been scratched from something coming into contact with your door. Though it may seem small, a scratch compromises the galvanization process that happens when the garage door is painted—so it’ll have to be repainted to fully protect against rust. 

How to prevent rust on your garage door

There are two main ways to prevent future garage door rust. 

Have your door professionally finished 

After you clean all of the rust off your door, have your door professionally painted. The professionals will ensure your paint layers are applied properly and that the right kind of primer, paint, and sealant is used
If you live in an area with frequent precipitation, you can have your garage door professionally weatherproofed. This will keep your paint coat intact and protected from rust for a much longer period.

Wash your garage door regularly 

By keeping up with a regular garage door washing schedule, you’ll prevent rust-causing substances, like salt and other pollutants, from building up. Removing this buildup creates fewer opportunities for rust to form.
Pro Tip If you wash your car at home, give your garage door a quick wash each time you wash your car. This way you don’t forget to do it, and you make sure your garage door is washed on a regular basis. 

When should I avoid removing rust from my garage door?

If you’ve recently replaced your garage door and you notice rust forming, check if your garage door warranty covers rust. Many garage door warranties provide rust removal, so the manufacturer may be able to solve the problem. In fact, if you attempt to fix this issue on your own, you could nullify your warranty! 
Additionally, avoid removing the rust yourself if the rust is extensive. If there’ are large holes or disintegrating edges, you’re better off replacing your garage door instead. 

Home insurance and garage doors 

While many
homeowners insurance
policies include garage door coverage in their policies, most do not cover general garage door wear and tear, such as rust. However, your homeowners insurance policy generally will cover rust if the rust is caused by a covered peril.
Always check your homeowners insurance policy to see what kind of garage door coverage is included before repairing or replacing the door yourself. 

The easiest way to find great homeowners insurance 

Dealing with garage door rust can be time-consuming and expensive, but finding a great homeowners insurance policy to protect your garage door doesn’t have to be.
If you’re hesitant to switch home insurance plans or providers because you’re worried about the work involved, don’t be.
does all the paperwork for you and even helps cancel your old policy. Download the app, answer a few questions, then set your insurance updates to autopilot. Jerry will even send you new quotes every six months, so you always have the best policy at the right price. 
was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
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You shouldn’t use a pressure washer to clean your garage door because the pressure can damage or even strip the paint, especially if your garage is already showing signs of wear and tear. Your regular garden hose and dish soap are great for washing your garage door.
You should replace your garage door instead of removing the rust if your garage door is heavily rusted out. Consider a replacement if there are lots of holes and disintegrating edges.
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