Calcium Chloride is the best product to use outside during the winter to prevent slip falls while doing minimal damage to your sidewalks and driveways. But Calcium Chloride has its own problems when it gets dragged inside.
There are several easy ways to protect your indoor flooring from the effects of Calcium Chloride. Too often, landscapers believe that if a little ice melt does a good, then a lot must do a better job. In fact, according to manufacturers, less is usually more when it comes to ice melt. Overusing ice melt can lead to the product being unnecessarily tracked into the facility. It may also burn the vegetation beneath or around where the product is used. Some maintenance/landscapers will use a shovel to disperse the product resulting in too much being applied. Reading application directions for ice melt is important not only for determining quantity, but it is also the only way to be sure you use the product correctly. For example when using a calcium, or magnesium, chloride product it is important to cover your hands. Product packaging will also warn against using ice melt on a roof, and that rock salt spread on a parking lot will eventually find its way into the water system. Lastly, use a handheld spreader or walk behind spreader to more evenly disperse your product and control the amount dispersed.
Next, use mats to help control keeping the ice melt out of your building. Start with a nice outdoor mat, like a rubber scrapper mat or an astroturf type mat, that will help catch particulate matter, snow and moisture. Don’t forget to shake these out on a regular basis. Then use an indoor mat to capture whatever else that was not caught outside. When it comes to indoor mats, longer are better. There are mat services that will switch your mats out on a regular basis for a fee, or just have your maintenance/janitorial staff keep them clean. Using well maintained outdoor and indoor mat systems should keep your indoor flooring clean.
If any extra salt / brine solution does make itself past your mats, it needs to be addressed quickly to avoid problems. This solution can leave a dangerous residue on your hard surface floors. Calcium Chloride, when dissolved, leaves a very slick residue that can cause slip/falls. If this brine mixture gets on to carpets, it can stain them and if left on for a prolonged period of time, actually damage the carpet. Try to blot moisture off hard surfaces and carpet as soon as possible. After the remaining solution dries, it should be removed also as soon as possible. Calcium Chloride is highly alkaline and should be treated with the proper neutral cleaner to remove the residue from your hard floor surface. Not using the correct neutral cleaner will leave your floors looking streaked and smeared. Using a neutral cleaner on your carpets is also recommended. After vacuuming up the dried residue on a nightly basis, if your carpets start to look dingy or stained, you should use a hot water extractor, with a pH neutral cleaner, to flush your carpets out.
Even though we have to use ice melters in the winter months, it doesn’t mean we have to let it hurt the appearance or safety of our buildings.