Snow, ice and slush—as you make trips into work, to take your kids to school, or to pick up your groceries for the week, you might find yourself thankful for rock salt. Rock salt has been traditionally used to help with the toughest winter job: de-icing. Why?
Rock salt is made up of sodium chloride in its mineral form called halite, and has a lower freezing point than water. When poured on ice, halite will make the temperature of the ice rise, lower its freezing point and cause it to melt.
This element can be miracle worker in tough winter times, but not without consequence. Because of its chemical nature, cars, plants and more can see unfavorable impacts. Below, we share a few considerations to clean and protect these items from this winter “frenemy. “
1. Clean Salt Residue from Floors
White spots are a sure sign that salt residue is left behind. Because of its abrasive and chemical nature, rock salt can be harmful to unprotected floors and can actually eat through protective sealants.
If you see a salt spill, clean off the floor as soon as possible to prevent long-term damage. Should stains remain, HowToCleanStuff.net recommends a warm water and vinegar solution as your first step for laminate and carpeted floors, and specialized solutions for hardwood.
2. Prevent Car Rust from Road Salt
Without a little extra care, road salt can cause damage to the body and undercarriage of your car, forming rust in places you can’t even see. DMV.org lists a few tips to keep your vehicle well-maintained during the winter, including:
- Give it an advance clean and wax during the fall to free any debris and seal it.
- Make frequent trips to the car wash.
- If noticeable salt build up occurs, wash with a solution of car soap, water and a couple tablespoons of baking soda to remove and neutralize salt particles.
3. Utilize Salt Alternatives to Protect Plants
Salt use around the house may seem like a great idea, but the damage list for use can be extensive:
- Soil and plant damage
- Groundwater contamination
- Driveway corrosion
- Car rust
Instead of a salty solution, Mother Earth News recommends to simply shovel, scrape and use lukewarm water when necessary.
As an additional precaution, use a warm water and vinegar solution to clean and help protect against additional build up for items like outdoor windows and car windshields.
Do you have any tips to add to our list? How do you keep your house items clean during winter’s blast of salt, snow and ice? Let us know in the comment section below.