Now that winter is officially upon us and the season is getting colder every day, there are some safety concerns to keep in mind. With each snowfall, ice becomes more and more of an issue. Ice melt, often used to keep driveways and sidewalks safe, can be a great tool to use in the wintertime; however, there are some things to be aware of when using these products to ensure the safety of your family, guests, and property.  

What exactly is ice melt, and what does it do? 

Ice melt is made from sodium chloride (rock salt), calcium chloride, potassium chloride, urea (carbonyl diamide) or a combination of these. Its purpose is to lower the freezing temperature of the water so that ice turns to slush that can be easily cleared. People who live in areas that have particularly harsh winters utilize ice melt because it prevents further snowfall from freezing. It is essential to follow the correct usage instructions to minimize potential harm. Although this product has a valuable purpose, it has risks when it isn’t used correctly. 

Ice melt can have a negative effect on the environment, causing harm to the soil around it from the runoff water, as well as to the concrete and cement. Your children and pets could suffer more dire consequences of improper use of these products. Be mindful of children and pets playing out in snow that may contain ice melt. Not only can it irritate the skin, but if it is ingested the effects can be much more serious. 

Things to look for when your child or pet consumes ice melt. 

A child may develop a rash or redness in or around their mouth and may experience drooling. If your child swallows any ice melting crystal and starts having these kinds of symptoms, start by wiping out their mouth then give them a small glass of milk, then call poison control for further instructions.  

If your dog has walked on or around ice melt, they may experience dryness or irritation on their paws. Because of this, many ingest the chemicals, which may result in stomach irritation or, in severe cases, drooling, vomiting, or seizures. If these symptoms occur, contact your veterinarian right away.   

How to clean floors that have Ice melt  

The adverse effects of ice melt shouldn’t keep you from enjoying winter activities with your family and friends. However, if ice melt finds its way back into your home, you can avoid harm to your family and your flooring by following these cleaning tricks.  


Start by vacuuming the area to remove any loose debris. Spray a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water and gently brush in the solution and let sit. After about 5 minutes, you can blot up the moisture, then mist with plain water and blot again. Repeat this process as needed until the spot is clean.  

Hard floors 

Start by dry mopping the area to remove any remaining dry ice melt crystals. Then use a damp mop with an adequately diluted, neutral pH ice melt residue remover. Finally, rinse the floor with clean water and repeat this process as needed if ice melt remains.  

Ice melt is a valuable product in areas that experience harsh winters, but if you are concerned about the safety of your family or guests, it might be best to use a completely non-toxic ice melt. Though they tend to work slower and cost more, the value of knowing your family is completely safe is worth far more.  

Whether you need a deep clean before the winter season or need help with routine maintenance, give the R&S experts a call today. 970.945.7591