Schools are active, dynamic environments with potentially hundreds of people entering and exiting the building each day. You must be prepared to handle severe weather events keeping people safe and limiting the damage to your floors. Here are 6 things you can do to deal with the harmful nature of winter conditions:
Use a Liquid De-Icer before it snows: Have you ever seen trucks on the Turnpike spraying liquid right before a storm? This is a de-icer that prevents the snow and ice from bonding to the road. You can do the same for your school. Using this at main entrances can limit the need for ice melt pellets.
Use ice melt that has an accelerator: Calcium Chloride is the most commonly used ice melt for commercial buildings because of its low environmental impact and high effectiveness, but not all calcium chloride products have an accelerator. This compound helps the pellets penetrate and break through the depth of the ice and then spread underneath. You can literally hear it crackling within seconds of spreading.
Don’t overuse ice melt: When you’re spreading ice melt at your school, don’t just grab handfuls from the bag and throw it. Even trying to shake it around with your hand has not been found to be effective. The ratio is 1/2 cup per every 3ft x 3ft square. Placing too much wastes money and but also leads to excess tracking indoors. Try a colored ice melt to help see your scattering, and a hand-crank spreading device to control the rate of dispersal.
Place entry mats at each exterior door: You’ll need to capture the ice melt that does inevitably get tracked in, and to absorb the wet solution from the bottoms of shoes. Carpeted entry mats at each location are essential - and the bigger, the better. You should strive for people to get at least 2 steps with each foot on the mat.
Use a neutralizer when mopping: Ice melt solution has an alkaline pH, and it can damage VCT floor finish and lead to a hazy appearance. A neutralizer counterbalances the pH to prevent the harmful effects.
Use an auto-scrubber or split-bucket: Even with the neutralizer, it’s important to physically remove the salty slurry that remains. Auto-Scrubbers rinse, scrub and vacuum up the water from the floor. If your school does not have one, you could use microfiber flat mops with a split bucket – one half has cleaning solution, and the other half over the wringer is for the dirty solution. You don’t want to keep putting the dirty, salty water back on the floor with each dunk.
Follow these tips for a safe and effective approach to winter management!