Ice Melts | Do’s and Don’ts
This has got to be one of the worst winters we have seen in a long time. Now we shift our concern from cleaning tracked in dirt to cleaning tracked in snow and salt.
We talked to 5 ice melt manufacturers and they are sharing the top five mistakes they have seen users make with their products, they also offer valuable advice on how to get it right. Don’t let these mistakes leave you frustrated when it’s all over.
Mistake #1: Not using it
Wheter it is an effort to save money or save time, somtimes people opt not to use ice melt. Unfortunately, this could be an expensive mistake.
Ice melt plays a major role in preventing slip and fall accidents, because it rids surfaces of ice. When a storm dumps snow, sometimes managers don’t see a need to put down ice melt because the snow has been shoveled. But underneath the snow is usually a thin layer of ice.
Mistake # 2 USING TOO MUCH!!!
Too often, maintenance believe that if using a little ice melt does good, then a lot must do a better job. When, in fact, according to the manufacturers, less is usuallymore when it comes to ice melt. Overusing ice melt can lead to the product being unneccessarily tracked into the facility. It may also burn the vegetation beneath or around where the product is used. When tracked inside a facility, it can damage floors and carpet, which in turn can lead to costly repairs and maintenance to have salt and ice-melt residue cleaned off of your hard surface floors and carpet.
Excessive application rates DO NOT improve performance.
Every product is different, so it is essential for everyone to read application instructions before using ice melt. Also, manufacturers recommend applying ice melt with a handheld fertilizer spreader for small areas or a walk behind spreader for large areas. Scoops and shovels always cause overuse.
Generally, there is a perception that you need to cover the entire sidewalk with the ice melt for it to work. In fact, ice melt dissolves in liquid and spread out with normal use.
If you use a service, explain this fact to them. More times than not, they overuse and charge you big bucks for their overuse. You are paying way more than you need.
Mistake #3 Applying it wrong
This can be solved by simply reading the application instructions.
Also, instructions will also emphasize that putting de-icer on a 10-inch pile of snow simply does not work. It must be applied to the ground for it to work. Pre-application is ideal as an initial deterent before the snow falls..
Mistake #4: Using the wrong kind
Nearly all deicers on the market are made from one, or a blend of, five materials * calcium chloride, sodium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, and urea. What makes these products different is how quickly they work and at what temperatures. So determining the conditions in which you reside, helps determine which ice melt to use.
Mistake #5: Not cleaning it up
Tracked-in ice melt is unattractive and has the potential to damage floors. Sodium chloride ice melt (also called rock salt) leaves a white powdery residue that, if allowed to sit on the floor too long, can dull the finish. Also, when vacuuming this type of ice melt, it can be thrown by the vacuum rather than picked up due to the size of the rocks. Which in some cases, depending on what is around, can cause damage to windows, walls, or in car dealerships, the cars that are sitting in the showroom.
Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride ice melts leave behind an oily residue that can damage urethane or wax finishes used on wood floors. The oily residue can be slippery on smooth floors (a potential hazard) and can attract dirt on carpets.
If never removed, either type of product may eventually harm wood floors by drawing out natural moisture, causing splintering, or lead to dry rot issues in carpets and rugs. The best way to prevent ice melt damage is to prevent it from being tracked into the building. Not putting it directly in front of an entryway and using track mats both outside and inside all entrances and clean them with a mop or vacuum throughout the day. *A track mat will go a long way to making your life easier.
Once the product has been tracked in, however, it needs to be cleaned up in a timely manner. Use a vacuum or a mop to clean up sodium chloride products. If the rocks are large, sweep them up with a broom and dustpan before vacuuming to prevent rocks from flying out of the vacuum and doing damage to surrounding areas or objects.
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