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Winter Floor Care & Ice Melt Residue Removal Tips

As winter approaches, it’s important to have a winter floor care plan in place for your facilities. Winter is the most costly season for floor maintenance due to the mix of dirt, slush, ice, and snow that is tracked into buildings. Ice melt residue creates even more damage, severely wearing down flooring.

How to Remove Salt and Ice Melt Residue from Floors

Ice melt compounds tracked inside can cause damage to floors. Sodium chloride ice melt leaves a white residue, while calcium chloride and magnesium chloride ice melts leave an oily residue. If left for too long, these residues will dull floor finish, splinter wood floors, or cause dry rot to carpets.

1. Remove the floor mats from the area to be cleaned. Water can seep under the mats and cause continuous damage to floors.

2. Sweep and vacuum away debris and ice melt chunks.

3. Apply a floor neutralizer with a mop and bucket or a floor scrubber. Floor neutralizers are designed to remove organic residues such as ice melt chlorides, hard water, scum, and more. It will clean the floor and eliminate any unattractive streaks with little risk of damaging the floor finish.

Suggested Ice Melt Remover Products:

CleanFreak 'Film Off' Floor Film Neutralizer & Cleaner

Nyco® Trax-Buster Ice Film Neutralizer

If using a mop and bucket to remove buildup, make sure to routinely change out the dirty water and to let the floor fully dry afterward. When using an auto scrubber, make sure to clean the machine before storing it to prevent any corrosion from salt.

A Little Goes a Long Way…

Keep in mind ice melt dissolves into a liquid and spreads, so you don’t need to completely cover an area for it to be effective. Manufacturers recommend applying ice melt using a handheld spreading tool, like the ones used for spreading fertilizer, for a small area, or a walk-behind spreader for larger areas. This will reduce the possibility for overuse, resulting in less mess tracked into your building.

Effective Use of Matting

Make sure you’ve added extra matting to entryways. Floor mats will help keep some of the mess tracked in from being spread to other areas of the building. Your matting will require some extra maintenance in the winter month to make sure moisture does not get trapped below the mat causing foul odors.

Entry mats come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. They can be specifically designed for outside entryways, vestibules, or other intended uses. Make sure you're buying the correct option for your placement. Here are some other factors to consider when purchasing and placing floor mats:

• Since dirt and slush can be brought in at any access point of a building, mats should be placed at all back doors and service entrances in addition to main entry points.

• Mats need to be placed as close as possible to doorways so they are used right when people enter the building.

• Outside mats should be properly placed to capture debris and large particles while the purpose of inside matting is to dry and clean shoes before proceeding further into the building.

• To properly capture the maximum amount of dirt, mats need to be wide enough to cover the entire traffic area and should extend 20 feet into the building.

• Never vacuum matting that is wet unless you are using a wet vacuum. This can cause extreme damage to equipment or injury from shock.

Additional Winter Floor Care Tips

1. Winter sand and soil is the enemy of shiny floors since it can scratch and grind floor finish. Be sure to vacuum and sweep often to remove dry dirt.

2. Since labor is 90% of the cost of floor maintenance, you can save on labor by using the right products and sticking to your winter floor care plan. This will also extend the life of floors, reducing the need for costly upgrades or further deep cleaning.

3. Clean out your machines and tools frequently. Auto scrubbers can be damaged by ice melt residue and bacteria building up inside. Disinfecting often using tools such as mops, buckets, and squeegees is even more important in winter due to the soil and compounds that can build on them.

If you have any specific cleaning questions or aren’t sure of the right product to use for your winter floor care, reach out to our team of cleaning specialists. We will gladly help you find the right product for your needs.

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