Ice melt can be a saving grace during periods of harsh, wintry weather.
It has the ability to eliminate ice and snow build-up, and continue to protect against those hazards even after it’s applied to the ground. In doing so, it also reduces the likelihood of liability issues stemming from slip-and-fall hazards on outdoor walkways.
But ice melt can lead to its own host of problems too. .
Without proper use, and some preventive measures in place, it can easily find its way into your facility, leading to damaged floors and carpets. Hazy white streaks and thick oily stains are common issues brought on by residue getting tracked from outside, onto carpets and floors. Luckily, with the right preventive measures and careful use these issues can be avoided
To help combat the issues that ice melt residue can cause, we’ll review three easy ways to reduce the migration of residue into your facility.
- Use the Right Amount of Ice Melt Around Your Facility
- Prevent Ice Melt From Entering Your Facility With an Entryway Matting System
- Reduce Ice Melt Residue Buildup with Floor Neutralizer
Tip #1: Use the Right Amount of Ice Melt Around Your Facility
The first step towards reducing the amount of ice melt residue in your facility is to make sure that you’re using the right amount of ice melt.
So, what is the right amount? You’ll find recommendations saying to use anywhere from half a cup to a full cup of ice melt per square yard of snow. Of course, it also depends on the amount of snow or ice that’s on the ground.
Generally, we find that the best practice is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. They can typically be found on the product label, or on the manufacturer’s website. This is a good rule of thumb because each manufacturer has its own chemical formula, applications, and use guidelines, all of which affect how much product you should use..
There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding which specific ice melt product is best for your operation. Some things to think about are the chemical makeup, the lowest melting temperature, and how it interacts with its surroundings (e.g., metals, concrete, vegetation).
We won’t be going in depth on the different types of ice melt today, but if you’re interested in learning more, make sure to check out our article on the matter, What is Ice Melt? Selecting The Best Ice Melt For Your Facility.
Instead, we’ll focus on why you need to be sure you’re using the right amount of ice melt.
If you use too little ice melt, it won’t act effectively, leaving you with snow and ice build-up.
If you use too much ice melt, the leftover product can kill vegetation, corrode metal, flake concrete, and damage or dull your floors.
Using the right amount of ice melt ensures that the product is effectively used up, allowing it to properly do its job, while leaving behind an easy-to-clean amount of residue, as intended.
An effective method for using ice melt is to apply a thin, preemptive layer the night before you’re expecting snow or ice. Another popular application of ice melt is to lay it down immediately after snow removal. Both of these ways act towards preventing a large initial build up of snow or ice, making for an easier clean up.
Let’s look at this in terms of savings: by using just the right amount of ice melt, you are not only avoiding damages, but you also end up needing to restock and clean less often, which saves you on product and labor costs in the long run.
Even when you do follow manufacturer guidelines, though, there’s no how much snowfall you’ll actually get. When it doesn’t snow as much as you think it will, and there’s ample ice melt residue left on the ground, an entryway matting system is the next best line of defense.
Tip #2: Prevent Ice Melt From Entering Your Facility With an Entryway Matting System
The best way to reduce the amount of ice melt in your facility is to prevent it from entering in the first place. That’s where an entryway matting system comes into play.
Ice melt is almost exclusively tracked onto floors and carpets through residue sticking onto the underside of occupant footwear. Think of the areas around your facility that rely most on ice melt: the parking lot, sidewalks, the front walkway.
These are all areas that, by design, have a lot of foot traffic. So, it’s no wonder ice melt residue keeps making into the facility.
That’s why a solid entryway matting system is crucial; it’s impossible for people to avoid getting ice melt residue on their shoes, so you have to be proactive at removing the residue from their footwear before they enter the building.
Let’s go over the best up for a solid winter entryway matting system.
An effective entryway matting system for the winter needs to be at least 15 ft, and will be composed of three sections: scraper mats, wiper mats, and scraper/wiper mats. Each section should be 5 ft long, any shorter and they wouldn’t achieve maximum efficacy.
Scraper mats make up the first section of the matting system. You want them to be situated at the front of the facility, leading up to the main entryway. The job of this type of mat is to remove large particulates, like ice melt and rock salt, by trapping them in the rough fabric.
They transition to scraper/wiper mats. These mats are the first ones you walk on after entering a facility. Their job is also to remove and trap large particulates, while also absorbing moisture from people’s footwear.
The last section of the matting system, wiper mats, should extend into the facility’s first room. They remove and trap finer contaminants, like most dirt and soil particles, as well as finish drying off footwear so that they are residue and moisture free when they reach the hard floor.
The downside to a good matting system is that people can choose to walk around it, tracking ice melt residue onto the floors anyways. When that happens, it’s time to break out the floor neutralizer.
Tip #3: Reduce Ice Melt Residue Buildup with Floor Neutralizer
Floor neutralizer is the go to product for dealing with ice melt residue.
Not to be confused with neutral floor cleaner, floor neutralizer is used to dissolve chlorides, a popular group of chemicals that are used in many brands of ice melt. It is able to do a better job of cleaning up ice melt residue than floor cleaner because it has a slightly more acidic pH.
Pro Tip: Can’t tell neutral floor cleaner and floor neutralizer apart? Watch our 50 second Commercial Cleaning Coach to learn the difference.
Floor neutralizer is especially effective at removing powder white streaks left behind by ice melt residue on hard floors. It is also very effective at removing oily stains from ice melt residue left behind on carpeted surfaces.
You can’t use it everyday because it is still an acidic product, that would risk causing damage to the floor’s finish. So, we recommend frequent use.
By using floor neutralizer frequently, you can effectively deter ice melt residue from building up and causing damage or leaving behind any stains.
Pairing frequent use of floor neutralizer with a solid entryway matting system is a surefire way to keep your facility’s floors and carpets free of ice melt residue build ups and stains.
Ice melt is a widely used product during the winter. It’s almost impossible to avoid it entering your facility on occupants’ shoes, so that means you need to develop some methods for dealing with ice melt residue.
Ensuring that your business doesn’t use too much ice melt is a great way to do this, but you can’t prevent people from tracking residue in from elsewhere.
That’s why a solid entryway matting system is key. Its ability to prevent particulates and moisture from entering your facility are integral to the wellbeing of your floors and carpets. But, you can’t have mats set up 24/7, and people will track ice melt residue in.
When that happens, floor neutralizer is your best bet for cleaning up ice melt residue stains, and preventing build ups from turning into an even larger mess.
At Imperial Dade, we have the best-in-class products that your facility needs in order to stay protected from winter weather hazards. Within our lineup of entryway mats, ice melt, and floor neutralizer, you’re sure to find the right products for your operational needs.
Call, or contact us, for a free virtual or onsite consultation. Our industry experts will evaluate your facility and its winter weather needs at no cost. Reach out today!
Check Out These Related Articles
- What is Ice Melt? Selecting The Best Ice Melt For Your Facility
- Commercial Floor Mats 101: What are the Different Types of Floor Mats & Where to Use Them
- Safeguard Your Floors This Winter With The Right Commercial Entry Mats
- Neutral Floor Cleaner Vs Floor Neutralizer: When and How To Use
- 4 Steps to Remove Ice Melt Residue and White Streaks From Hard Floors