Many properties use ice melt compounds this time of year. These are minerals designed to reduce the freezing point of water, helping to keep surfaces such as sidewalks safer to walk on during cold, adverse weather.

However, these compounds are often tracked into buildings where they dry, leaving a white haze on interior hard-surface floors. This haze can become very difficult to remove and if cleaned improperly, can seriously damage the floor’s appearance.

This month’s Powr-Flite Floor Care Troubleshooter provides tips on how to remove ice melt from floors carefully and safely.

“The first thing to do is select a specifically designed ice melt cleaner with a neutral pH,” says Mike Englund, a cleaning industry trainer and product manager for Powr-Flite, a manufacturer of professional floor care equipment.

“The product’s pH is critical. A cleaner with a very low or very high pH may prove ineffective or possibly damage the floor or remove the floor’s finish.”

With the proper cleaning solution selected, Englund suggests the following key steps in removing ice melt from hard-surface floors:

  • Remove all mats.
  • Thoroughly sweep or vacuum the area using an advanced filtration unit; utilize all necessary vacuum attachments, such as corner and crevice tools, in order to maximize debris removal.   
  • Dry mop the same areas with a microfiber flat mop to remove any remaining dry ice melt crystals.
  • Damp mop with a properly diluted, neutral pH ice melt residue remover.
  • Rinse the floor with clean water if needed.
  • Repeat the process if ice melt remains.
  • Implement preventative measures, such as strategically scheduled cleaning and an effective high performance matting system.  

“Ice melt helps promote safety, but it must be applied carefully and properly removed from indoor hard-surface floors,” adds Englund. “Keeping it off floors can be a challenge, but using these steps can clean up its residue, help protect your client’s floor, and preserve its shine.”