rock salt ice melt is being spread on your walkway to melt the ice and snow from your path

Winter weather has been so unpredictable in recent years, no one is safe from Jack Frost. Whether in northern Wisconsin or southern Texas, snow and ice is a threat and cleaning professionals must be prepared.

Ice melt products can help keep buildings both safe and attractive. But too often, these products are used incorrectly. Here are five common mistakes and some tips on how to get it right.

Mistake #1: Not using ice melt
Whether it is in an effort to save money or save time, some facility professionals opt not to use ice melt on slippery sidewalks and entryways. Unfortunately, this could be an expensive mistake that results in slip-and-fall accidents and possible liability issues. If accidents do occur, facilities that have a comprehensive ice melt policy in place will be better protected from litigation.

Mistake #2: Using too much ice melt
Frontline workers often think that if a little ice melt does good, then using a lot must be better. In reality, industry manufacturers agree that less is usually more when it comes to ice melt. Overuse can result in the product being unnecessarily tracked into the facility. It might also harm vegetation beneath or around the surface where it is being used.
It is essential for cleaners to read application instructions before using ice melt. The package should list recommended quantities to assist in determining the amount needed for a particular area.

Mistake #3: Applying ice melt incorrectly
Reading application directions for ice melt is important not only for determining quantity, but it is also the only way to be sure the product is being distributed correctly. This includes what ice melt (chemical composition) should be used on which surfaces, when it should be applied (before, during or after a storm), how to apply it (using spreaders versus scoops or shovels), and how frequent re-application should take place.

Mistake #4: Using the wrong kind of ice melt
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. This is determined by whether the deicer releases or absorbs heat upon contact with snow and ice.
There is a deicing product to suit every need, but it's important to choose one that melts in accordance to the area's temperature and climate, which will lead to better results.

Mistake #5: Not cleaning up ice melt
Tracked-in ice melt is unattractive and has the potential to damage floors. The best way to prevent ice melt damage is to stop it from being tracked into the building. To achieve this, use matting systems both outside and inside all entrances and clean them with a mop or vacuum throughout the day.

Did You Know?
Contrary to popular belief, ice melt does not damage concrete, but ice can. According to ice melt product manufacturers, the freeze/thaw cycle of ice and snow can cause expansion and contraction within the cracks and crevasses of concrete, thus impacting the integrity of the surface.
Some materials, such as brick, are especially porous and should not be treated with ice melt. For proper treatment options of these surfaces, contact a jan/san distributor or ice melt product manufacturer.