Tips & Tricks/01.19.22

Ice Melt Residue: Gone!

Winter brings dreaded ice melt residue and  problems with removing it from carpet. Why is it so difficult? It typically contains calcium chloride-type ingredients - see why that's an issue below.

If you treat ice melt’s typical white chalky residue with normal alkaline prespray and follow that with either an acid or alkaline rinse, it usually leaves a gummy or sticky residue on carpet fibers.

Why the gummy residue? Calcium chloride has an incredibly strong positive polar charge. Anything with a negative charge is attracted to and bonds with the calcium chloride, which in turn still has a polar attraction to the carpet fibers. Most of today’s alkaline products use an anionic surfactant (negative charge) or a combination of anionic and nonionic surfactants. The negative charge in the anionic attaches itself to the calcium chloride, and that’s what creates the gummy mess.

Successfully removing ice melt residue requires very specific chemistry:

  1. Start by thoroughly rinsing areas with Prochem All Fiber Rinse.
    This will help liquify and neutralize the salt components in ice melt without adding any anionic surfactants to the fiber.
  2. Then rinse with Prochem XL-333 - its targeted chelating agents bind with the calcium chloride so that water can rinse it away.
  3. Next rinse again with All Fiber Rinse. No more residue!

Finally, to prevent slips, be sure to use fast-drying floor dryers like the Sahara Pro X4 in high traffic entryways where ice melt residue is most problematic.

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