Tips for Using Ice Melt

Slips and falls on ice are a common cause of injury over the winter months at any facility. A study shows that 29% of all workers compensation claims are due to slip and fall injuries. Make sure you have the ice melt supplies you need, and know how and when to properly apply ice melt to keep your facility safe for employees and guests this winter. We at Bortek exclusively offer Nature’s Best Ice Melt to our customers as the best ice melt on the market. This high-performance ice melt is suitable for concrete, asphalt, and metal. For those who wish to learn more, follow these simple 6 tips for safely using and applying ice melt.
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1)  Don’t wait!

The best time to think about buying ice melt isn’t after somebody slips on ice, its before! You need it to ensure the safety of your facility, staff, and guests. Waiting until the last minute to put in orders may mean not getting what you need, when you need it. Make arrangements early to ensure you have what’s necessary to meet your needs.

Ice melt supply

Not only should you buy ice melt ahead of time, but you need to treat surfaces ahead of time as well. The benefit of pretreating is that you won’t need as much product in the long run because it prevents ice from bonding to the surface. Ice melt is much more effective if the surfaces are pretreated before icing occurs.

Nature’s Best also recommends applying ice melt before, during, and at the end of winter storms to ensure maximum and long-term deicing results. Staying on top of the situation means potential cost savings in terms of not only product, but also labor.

2)  Choose wisely and save money

Quality over QuantityUsing cheap ice melt or the wrong product may result in unmelted ice, as well as wasting overused product. The lowest price product may help you short term, but may not work over time and cost you more in the long term. If you notice that ice is not melting on your walkways even though you’re using an ample amount of product, you may have the wrong product. In general, 2-4 ounces of product should be used per square yard. Besides overuse, the biggest mistake most ice melt customers make is buying a product that is not ideal for their specific ice melting needs.

There are a variety of ice melting products out there that include naturally occurring chlorides. Nature’s Best Ice Melt includes a 4-way blend of chlorides including potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium. This lethal combination effectively melts ice and snow down below 0°F. When choosing a product, it’s important to know that each ice melt variety has its own unique melting temperature and affects concrete and vegetation differently. That’s why you need to choose a product, such as Nature’s Best, that can be geared towards your specific weather conditions, temperatures, and facility materials.

Millions of dollars of damage to buildings, landscaping, and flooring are caused each winter due to poor, cheap ice melt formulas. Be sure to educate yourself on the different elements that make ice melters effective and safe, and know if an ice melt, such as Nature’s Best, if right for you.

3)  Safety and Efficiency

Safety Gear

Protect your eyes and skin by wearing appropriate protective eye wear and gloves, especially when using ice melting products with magnesium and/or calcium chloride.

Also, use the recommended amount of ice melt. Overuse can be harmful to building materials and vegetation, as well as increases in cost. The best precaution when spreading the ice melt is to use a guard to prevent any application to areas of possible damage. Consider a drop spreader for narrow pathways and walk ways.

4)  Three-mat system

Entrance Floor Matting SystemCleaning professionals know that floor care is one of the most time consuming and expensive tasks within a facility. During the winter, floor care becomes even more expensive and labor intensive when trying to clean and protect floors from damaging winter-specific soils, such as ice melt, rock salt, sand, and heavier foot traffic that can damage a floor’s finish creating dangerous slip and fall hazards.

A comprehensive matting system prevents ice melt, moisture, and other winter soils from entering and being tracked throughout a building. According to the ISSA, approximately 85% of all dirt is tracked in by foot and it costs almost $600 to remove one pound of soil. Dirt stopped by entrance matting is dirt that does not spread throughout a building, which means less labor and costs associated with dusting, mopping, vacuuming, and grout cleaning. Overall, removing soil from a mat is less expensive than removing it from an entire building as the soil is concentrated in a localized area.

When creating a winter matting system for your facility, you can deliver best results by implementing the a three-mat system at all entryways to maximize soil capture, prevent tracking, and reduce overall floor cleaning costs.

Mat 1: Outdoor scraper mats to capture larger dirt and ice melt particles and moisture before they can enter your facility.

Mat 2: Wiper/scraper mats directly inside the entryway to stop any soil missed by the outdoor scraper mats.

Mat 3: Interior wiper mats beyond that to remove any remaining dirt and moisture.

Use of the three mat system is a great tool to have in your facility. However, the mats system may not be for everybody. If you don’t have the need for three mats or the necessary room, consider one of Bortek’s floor scrubbers or sweepers to give your floor the perfect clean without the mats. View a variety of our floor cleaning equipment and find the best match for you!

5)  Clean Floor Mats

Vacuum Floor MatsMake sure to properly vacuum and remove ice melt to avoid ruining mats and surrounding flooring. Consider using electric floor cleaners such as a canister vacuum or backpack vacuum as they offer direct suction. Upright vacuums are also good, but the brush in upright vacuums may stir up dust polluting indoor air quality or pull at lighter weight carpets.

Clean mats with little or no soap and use an ice melt residue remover to remove unsightly white powdery marks. Mats in high traffic areas may become saturated with moisture and soil, which occupants will then track into the facility. Replace mats throughout the day as needed under very adverse weather conditions or use high velocity air movers. Avoid installing the mats until thoroughly dry. Following this process will extend the lifespan of your floor mats and limit the amount of dust, dirt, and debris being dragged into the facility.

For those who opted to go without the floor mats, try the Emerald 84 Natural Floor Cleaner. This floor cleaner is perfect for any leftover residue from ice melt being tracked indoors. It provides maximum clean and preserves that maximum shine, especially in the winter months.

6)  Stock and Store

Storing Ice Melt and Rock SaltSimilar to the first tip, stocking up with ice melt is a safe precaution for any unexpected weather. Load up and store in the warehouse because you never know when you may need it. If you have unopened product leftover at the end of the season, you can leave it as is. However, we suggest covering bagged ice melt and airtight containers with a dark wrap to keep bags from becoming brittle from ultra violet exposure and to provide an extra level of protection from moisture. Any previously opened bags of ice melt should be stored in airtight containers and kept away from moisture, air, and sunlight. Be sure to completely seal bags/ containers as exposed ice melt will absorb moisture causing the product to degrade, clump, and harden.

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