The Effects of Ice Melt on Your Carpet

man walking in snowWinter weather can be harsh, especially in
St. Louis, so preventative measures like applying ice melt (or rock salt) onto walkways, driveways and streets is a common practice. And no matter how hard you try, you are going to track in ice melt in your home or office and on your carpet. It’s inevitable.

Ice melt can be as damaging as it is useful. And although we may not be able to completely avoid it, the more you understand its pros and cons, and dos and don’ts; the more you do to minimize its damage.

So, let’s take a look at the effects of ice melt on your carpet.

Ice Melt and Your Floors

There are many types chemicals that make up ice melt—rock salt (sodium chloride), magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, urea, calcium magnesium acetate (CMA), sodium acetate (NAAC), and liquid glycol. We are going to cover 2; liquid and rock salt.

Types of Ice Melt

Though, it can be less visible on carpets than on hardwood floors, tracking ice melt into your homecan severe damage to your carpet—tracking in dirt, destroying carpet fibers and increasing wear. One easy solution to minimizing the amount tracked into the house is to use doormats on the inside and outside of all of your home’s entrances, cleaning them as often as possible. (Tip: keep a couple of replacement sets on hand during the winter)

The Pros and Cons of Using Ice Melt

Pros – Liquid

  • Great for “pickling” sand piles so that the moisture in the sand does cause the pile to freeze.

Cons -Liquid

  • Provides no traction.
  • Significantly increases maintenance costs (due to tracking inside).
  • Liquid is absorbed by the surface leaving little behind to actually fight ice build-up.
  • Equipment set-up costs for liquid application are high.
  • Protective clothing is essential to prevent liquid spill on users.
  • Can be dangerous for use around children, pets and plants.

Pros – Rock Salt

  • Readily available almost everywhere.
  • Least expensive product on the market.

Cons – Rock Salt

  • Toxic to plant life.
  • Harmful to soil structure; reduces soil’s permeability to air and water.
  • Damaging to waterway ecosystems; increases salt content to dangerous levels.
  • Highly corrosive; the most corrosive ice melting agent on the market today.
  • Leaves behind a white residue that tracks into buildings and damages flooring.
  • Attracts moisture, which causes product clumping making it difficult to spread.
  • A skin and eye irritant; special user equipment required.

What about your pets?

Ice melt can be toxic to your pets. It can easily be ingested by your pets if they lick their paws after walking on sidewalks and streets that have been applied with ice melt. It can also affect their nose and eyes. Try this pet-friendly ice melt! (FYI – This pet-friendly ice melt is also safe for kids!)

Methods of Removal

Vacuuming your carpets at least three times a day is a good start to decreasing the amount of ice melt trapped in them, but generally, the best method of removal is by water extraction by a professional carpet cleaning company. Get a free estimate today!

Bonus Tips

  • Less is more when it comes to apply ice melt. Applying large quantities does not improve performance and can lead to water contamination and burned vegetation.
  • Before applying, seal any surface with a commercial-quality sealant on which you will use ice melt.

About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

Woodard Cleaning & Restoration Services was founded in 1946 as St. Louis’ first in-home rug and carpet cleaning company, and is now the area’s largest commercial and residential cleaning company for carpet, rugs, furniture, and hard surfaces. With more than 68 years of experience, Woodard is proud to serve as a preferred provider of water, fire, and smoke restoration services for residential, commercial, and institutional facilities. For more information, visit our website, or call 800.466.9308.


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