Ice melting compounds are used extensively in the winter months near the entrances of buildings to keep the ground from getting slippery, to ensure the safety of employees and customers.
To understand the solution to this issue, we first need to understand the chemistry of ice melts.
Ice melts are water soluble salts. They dissolve in water and reduce the freezing point of the water solution. For example, a water solution containing calcium chloride (the most common ice melt compound) would have a freezing point of -20 oF. Compare this to the traditional freezing point of water, 32 oF.
The result of using these types of salts to melt ice is the formation of a compound called calcium carbonate. We often refer to this compound as “hard water residue” or “lime scale.” It is the same compound that you often see and have trouble cleaning in restrooms.
The key to cleaning ice melt residue, lime scale, or hard water residue, is to remember that you need to use a cleaner with an acidic pH. But be careful on carpets and hard floors. You can’t use any old acid on any surface. Use only products where it specifically states that it is safe for carpets and hard floors.
Multi-Clean’s Back to 7 is a mildly acidic neutralizer that can be used for removing ice melt residue. It is safe for use on carpets and on most hard floors.
Use the following procedures to remove stubborn ice melt residue and spots on your floors:
- Dilute Back to 7 at a rate of 4 oz/gal of water.
- Apply to area using a pump up or trigger sprayer.
- Work into the carpet using a spotting brush.
- Let the product stand for 5-10 minutes, then lightly agitate with brush.
- Re-apply Back to 7, then extract or blot out the area.
- For removing stubborn white stains on hard floors, dilute Back to 7 at 4 oz/gal of water.
- Apply to the affected area and let stand for 1-2 minutes.
- Pick up or rinse away the solution.
NOTE: Do not use Back to 7 on marble or concrete floors.
You can also follow these tips to help prevent the formation of ice melt stains:
Use good quality walk-off matting that includes a combination of wipe and scraper matting.
Use at least 15 feet of walk-off matting at entries. In winter months, consider using additional matting to keep floors dry.
Use Back to 7 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 with Back to 7. For daily mopping of finished or other hard floors, dilute Back to 7 at 1 oz/gal of water and mop floors as usual.
Maintain entrances outside the building.
Using ice melt is a necessity. Keeping areas outside just before entering a building as clean and ice-free as possible helps to prevent ice melt tracking.