Wednesday, November 20, 2019

White Residue from Ice Melt

White Tracks at Building Entrance?

Snow and ice melt in the winter

Cold weather, snow and ice brings out ice melt compounds for use on streets, sidewalks and parking lots.

Usually, the ice melt used is sodium chloride salt, but in below zero weather, calcium chloride is frequently used. Calcium chloride is exothermic (releases heat when it dissolves) and is effective even at -40° Fahrenheit

On waxed VCT floors, rock salt (sodium chloride) leaves a white powdery residue that can dull and eat away the floor finish or wax and potentially damage the floor as well. Worse yet, the oily residue from calcium chloride ice melt can be slippery on smooth floors creating a slip hazard, fall injuries and potential lawsuits.

On wood floors, ice melt leaves behind an slippery, oily residue that can damage urethane or wax finishes used on wood floors and may eventually draw out natural moisture, causing splintering.

On rugs, ice melt can lead to dry rot issues.

On carpets, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride ice melt attracts dirt on carpets and is hard to remove by normal cleaning.

When tracked into a building, the residue of calcium chloride absorbs and holds moisture, keeping carpet, walk-off mats and hard surface floors wet and slippery. When calcium chloride comes in contact with a normal detergent solution, such as that used in extraction cleaning or mopping, alkalinity in the detergent converts the calcium chloride into calcium hydroxide (lime), which is almost completely insoluble in water. As a result, the carpet or hard surface floor takes on a white, dull appearance, which can be difficult to remove.

Quick removal is important!

Follow these Steps to Remove Ice Melt Residue from Carpet and Keep Ice Melt From Harming Floors and Carpet:

  • Remove all mats.
  • On carpets and rugs:
    • If dry, thoroughly vacuum first.
    • Apply Brown Out® ice melt residue remover at normal concentration. If the white tracking problem is severe, apply Brown Out undiluted.
    • Brown Out is on the acid side, dissolves calcium chloride without turning it to lime.
    • Extract the carpet or rug with Brown Out.
    • For large carpeted areas, extract with at least 4-8 ounces per gallon solution of Brown Out in water (with no detergent) through the base unit or a portable extractor.
    • At this point, you can do normal extraction cleaning.
  • On hard floors:
    • Thoroughly sweep and vacuum the area.
    • Mop the same areas with a microfiber flat mop to remove any remaining dry ice melt crystals.
    • Damp mop with a Brown Out at normal concentration.
    • Rinse the floor with clean water if needed.
    • Repeat the process if ice melt remains.
  • WARNING: DO not use Brown Out, or any other acid, on marble or limestone or on polished concrete floors!

How to Prevent Ice Melt Problems in a Business Building:

  • In a commercial building, use at least 15 feet of walk off matting that includes a combination of wipe and scraper matting.
  • Use Brown Out daily to help prevention of ice melt deposits on hard floors.
  • In entry areas where ice melt tracking is likely to occur, mop floors regularly Brown Out as above.
  • Keep areas outside just before entering a building as clean and ice free as possible.

How to Prevent Ice Melt Problems in a House:

  • Minimize the amount of ice melt tracked into the house by using doormats and rugs on the inside and outside of all of the home’s entrances.
  • Clean the doormats as often as possible with a mop or vacuum throughout the day.

Calcium chloride ice melt in the winter

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Copyright: Bane-Clene® Corp.

Date Modified: November 20, 2019

Adapted from an article in the Winter 2006 Cleaning Digest, page 10, published: November 1, 2006