Remove Salt Residue From Floors

Remove Salt Residue From Floors Fast And Easy

Winter Floor Care

Winter weather brings with it additional areas of concern for cleaning professionals. The cold and snow add steps to many cleaning routines and present different challenges to maintaining the cleanliness of facilities. One of the most common is trying to remove salt residue from floors.

The answer is floor neutralizer cleaners. Something so simple, it is such a problem for so many custodians. Removing salt residue from floors is difficult because the soil on the floor has changed and the cleaning chemicals have not.

Most floor cleaning chemicals or neutral cleaners are designed to remove typical dirt and grime.

When a substance as different as salt or calcium chloride becomes the main soil overnight, it requires a different approach.

Why Salt Residue Is So Hard To Remove

The makeup of most ice melting products is based around calcium chloride or salt, because of its effective melting properties and because it is relatively cheap. The problem when it comes to floor care is that it has a high pH, just like floor stripper.

To remove salt residue, it has to be neutralized, changing the pH to neutral or 7. Otherwise, it just smears around the floor and becomes a sticky mess. The stickiness can come from two causes.

A) It has such a concentrated amount of residue which is sticky. or

B) It has begun to dissolve the floor finish. Either way, your floors are now attracting dirt and making them very hard to clean.

If let go too long, the finish will have to be stripped and re-coated.


Remove Salt Residue From FloorsHow To Remove Salt Residue

 

Here are the steps for removing salt residue from floors:

  1. Sweep the floor of any granulated salt and other debris
  2. Mix floor neutralizer in your mop bucket or floor scrubber.
  3. Apply the solution to the floor and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Pick up the solution with mop, wet/dry vacuum or floor scrubber.
  5. Repeat Steps 1-4 if there is still salt residue on the floor.

Why Neutralizer Removes Salt Residue

Why Floor Neutralizer Removes Salt Residue

Now that you know the importance of removing the salt residue lets look at why this works.

As stated above, the alkaline salt residue needs to be neutralized. The best way to do this is with an acidic chemical. There are many brands of acidic pH neutralizer cleaning chemicals out there. Here’s an Amazon affiliate link to the floor neutralizer I have had good luck with.

These are the best choice for ensuring that you have the proper documentation (Safety Data Sheets) for use in commercial or industrial cleaning.

With that being said, vinegar also has an acidic pH and can be used very sparingly with plain tap water to remove salt residue from floors.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am not a proponent of making your own cleaning products or “DIY Chemistry” but in this case, adding 4 to 5 oz. of vinegar to 4 gallons of water does work.

When you understand what it takes to remove salt residue from floors, it really is no problem at all. Here is to keeping you sane and your floors clean during the long winter months.


winter floor care tools

4 Must Have Cleaning Tools Winter Floor Care

It's that time of year again. Winter floor care season. Snow…
how to clean sticky floors
,

Why You Have Sticky Floor and How To Fix It

/
Sticky floors can be a very frustrating issue. It can seem like…
Neutralizer and neutral cleaner for floors
,

Cleaning Chemicals - Neutralizer or Neutral Cleaner?

/
It seems neutralizer and neutral cleaners get confused a lot.…
Cleaning Rubber Gym Floors
,

Cleaning Rubber Gym Floors

/
Rubber gym floors can be a great alternative to hardwood athletic…
Winter Floor Care Tips - Removing ice melt from floors

Winter Floor Care Tips

/
Having a  proactive winter floor care maintenance plan is great…
High Speed Burnisher
,

My First Experience With a High Speed Burnisher

/
It was late on a Friday and my boss at the time came to me with…
how to remove black scuff marks from shoes

My Take On Removing Black Scuff Marks

/
It is a very common issue in floor care... how to remove black…

26 replies
  1. Jhayla
    Jhayla says:

    What if the vinegar doesn’t work? I work at a convenience store and no matter how much I mop the floor still dries white

    Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      The heavy concentrated traffic in convenience stores make floor care tough. It it probably due to a heavy buildup of residue. I would suggest using a floor neutralizer rather than vinegar. The vinegar is an easy solution if the residue isn’t too bad, but neutralizers are designed for this. Mopping the floor in small sections may help also and change your mop water more often. A LOT more often. You can, use a floor scrubber or at the very least, a deck brush to agitate the solution while it is on the floor. Remember, you are causing a chemical reaction between the cleaning solution and the residue. When the residue is heavy, it can take some time to work. In a busy store, this is where working in smaller sections is pretty much a must. Good luck and let me know how it turns out.
      -BGC_

      Reply
  2. Jane
    Jane says:

    I clean bars, a messy job to begin with. We use a degreaser on the floors, it does work to a point. We then rinse with a water/vinegar and most times twice is all we have to mop, except one are the is a main entrance and I have seen us wash that part of floor 10 times. We also have tried Winter Rinse and it is the same on this part of floor. Any ideas???

    Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Bar floors are never fun. There are lots of different types chemicals in play usually. The degreaser may be your issue if it is being used at too high of a dilution. The vinegar or Winter Rinse neutralizer could be battling against the degreaser residue and never getting to the actual dirt that is being tracked in. I would recommend using a large, high quality entrance mat to help contain the tracked in soils at the door. There are two different types of soils you are fighting. The ones from inside, food and drink and the ones tracked in from outside, the dirt and salt. Unfortunately these require different cleaning solutions to remove.

      Best of luck!
      -BGC-

      Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Hi Alonzo. Ceramic floors are just like any other floor when it comes to salt residue, except they are very porous. Especially the grout lines. A floor neutralizer will work very well, but you may need to allow it to dwell on the floor for a few minutes to release the alkaline residue from the salt.

      Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Hi Miguel. Thank you for your question. I am not a marble floor expert although I have worked with them in the past. The natural stone does take some special care. I would look into the Stone Care International product line to see if they have a neutralizer for removing alkaline from marble floors.

      Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Hi Don. Thank you for your question. Yes it does! My back always lets me know when I have used too big of a mop! ha! You should only use a mop that is manageable for you to use. If it is too small, you will not get good consistent cleaning. If it is too large, you will struggle to cover enough area.

      Reply
  3. Jeni
    Jeni says:

    I clean an office that has the wood look laminate flooring. The ice melt has become a real problem. I am not supposed to use water on the floor, but will try your vinegar idea – unless you have another suggestion.

    Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Hi Jeni. Thank you for your question. I am not sure why you wouldn’t use water on the floor? Most laminate flooring is designed to be wet cleaned, or mopped. If you would like to limit the amount of moisture on the floor, I would suggest looking into using a flat microfiber mop. They are able to capture and hold more soils with less water. And as always, make sure to remove as much of the soil dry, before mopping, with a dust mop or vacuum cleaner.

      Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Hi Judy. This is a great comment. Dialysis floors are very difficult to keep clean. The heavy alkaline makes it very challenging. I have found that a small auto scrubber and a neutralizer works best.

      Reply
  4. Steve snyder
    Steve snyder says:

    Hello,
    I clean floors for a living. An winter months are the worst. Expecially dust moping. Is there something I can use on the dust mop for it to slide across the floor instead sticking an not being able to push it?

    Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Hi Steve. Thanks for your question. The most common dust mops are made from cotton and cotton does not react well when it gets wet. Any moisture at all and it grabs at the floor. Years ago I started using nylon dust mops (like this one) They glide much easier when the floor is damp and still collect the dirt. They work because the plastic fibers build up static electricity and hold dirt much better than cotton. They are also a lot easier to clean!

      Trust me, these will make your life so much easier. They sure did mine!

      BGC

      Reply
  5. Joey
    Joey says:

    What would you recommend for high traffic areas for a commercial car dealership? Need to remove salt residue in the winter and heavy grease from the floors. Is there one very effective item to use in both areas or should I use multiple cleaners?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Hi Joey. Those are 2 different types of soils. Typically, you would use a neutral cleaner or even a de-greasing chemical to remove the heavy grease. But, when salt is thrown into the mix, the chemical needs to change as well. The salt residue is alkaline, which is on the same side of the pH scale as neutral cleaners and de-greasers. This will only result in smearing the salt residue around. Floor neutralizer is slightly acidic, the opposite side of the pH scale. This will “neutralize” the alkalinity and let the salt dissolve into your solution.

      I hope this helps!

      Reply
  6. Matt
    Matt says:

    I’ve heard conflicting information about using vinegar on hardwood floors. I really want to get these salt stains up without damaging my floor. Is vinegar or other neutralizing cleaners an option for me, or is there a better solution? (oooh I punned!)

    Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Hi Matt. As with any new cleaning chemical on any type of floor, it is a good idea to try a small section first. Vinegar typically will not harm hardwood floors if used at a low dilution. The same with floor neutralizer. Remember, you are cleaning the finish on the hardwood, not the wood itself. The finish is there to protect the floor and make it easier to clean. As long as you have a good finish on the floor, and use a conservative dilution, you should have great results.

      Reply
    • BaldGuyClean
      BaldGuyClean says:

      Hi Linda. I hear this a lot. Keep in mind that the residue may be pretty concentrated. What I would suggest is to increase the amount of vinegar you are using until the film goes away. Also, let the solution dwell a little while on the floor. If the residue is really heavy, I will often wet the floor and wait 5 minutes or so before mopping again to remove the dirty water. Hope this helps.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *