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Snow and Ice Melt Removal Tips

by | Dec 7, 2017 | Commercial Cleaning Tips, Facilities Cleaning & Maintenance Tips

With the recent snowfall, businesses and schools need a plan for protecting their building and the people who spend time there.

If you haven’t already protected your flooring with a top coat, you’ll need to act quickly, before the snow and ice takes a toll.

In addition, ice melt products can have negative impacts on concrete, walkways, parking lots, and hard floors, especially those without a protective top coating or sealant.

According to Cleaning and Maintenance Management Magazine;

Salt does, however, carry an environmental impact that can increase the weatherization of concrete and asphalt sidewalks and parking lots.

Salt can also cause a buildup on entrance mats, carpets and various types of hard surface floors.

Snow And Ice Removal Review

Protective Coating and Hard Surface Care

A protective coating is a final finish layer that is placed over hard floors to guard them against the sandpaper-like effects of salt and ice melt, that can scratch a dull the shine of an unprotected surface.

If you have already had your hard floors treated, and have placed walkway matting throughout key areas of your building to protect it from heavy traffic, you should be ok until it starts to warm up.

If your business has not taken advantage of the service, you probably see the early effects of salt buildup and damage to your floors which, while not a factor in the winter months, will be a glaring eyesore come spring when the effects of your snow and ice removal efforts become evident.

Depending on the current damage, the job may take a little more effort to remove the salt build up and buff out the scratches on an unprotected surface, but it is worth it to maintain the curb appeal of your business and protect your financial investment in your floor.

Once the salt layer is completely removed, the scratches and dulling are buffed out to restore the original shine, as well as protect the floor from further damage throughout the year.

For walkways and sidewalks, especially decorative concrete, we recommend you wait until the snow has passed, thoroughly clean the entire area, making sure to remove any de-icing stains, then seal the concrete with an approved product that will not cause discoloration. 

Snow and Ice Removal – Effects on Carpets, Rugs, Upholstery, and Matting

Carpets, rugs, and upholstery are not so easily protected from the damages of snow and salt as hard floors and concrete, and will require special attention and services throughout the winter months to maintain their look, as well as prevent them from becoming havens for dirt and bacteria, which may be originating from the last place you expect.

It turns out that, not only can bacteria survive the freezing temperatures of airborne ice, snow, and rain; they create it.

According to Steven Lindow, a plant scientist at University of California, Berkeley;

[sic]…[T]here are several kinds of bacteria floating around in the sky that could be making snow or even rain.

[sic]…[S]cientists have suspected these bacteria may be using the atmosphere like an aerial freeway.

Snow Flurries, Bacteria Likely

When snow, ice, or rain are deposited onto the furniture, the bacteria is transferred to the new surface where it begins to grow in the warmer temperatures, and can be passed on to visitors, as well as negatively impact indoor air quality.

 Green Cleaning Tips

  • If you haven’t had your hard floors scrubbed and finished yet, based on snowfall estimates, completing the service now is better than later.
  • Make sure to protect your customers, employees, and your investment by laying down high-quality matting.
  • Always protect store front walkways and decorative concrete with sealant to prevent de-icing stains from staining them.
  • Depending on use and traffic, step up the number of carpet and upholstery cleanings performed throughout the winter to protect your guests and staff from airborne bacteria that may have played a key factor in the formation of the snow.

References and Resources


With the proper preparatory care, your hard floors, walkways, and parking lots should be prepared for harsh winter conditions, and the inevitable damage from snow and ice melt.

However, carpets, mats, and upholstery require extra attention due to the dirt and bacteria present in the moisture and ‘snow dirt’ that clings to our shoes and clothing.

Ensure your school or business is safe, and your property is protected all year long.

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Are your floors a mess after a long winter of snow and ice melt tracking? Maybe it’s time to hire an experienced commercial floor cleaning company to partner with the staff.

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of Minnesota can help you consider all your needs and options before you make a move. Download our free guide, “8 Steps to Hiring a Commercial Cleaning Company”