The Right Way to Remove Salty Streaks From Your Floor

The Right Way to Remove Salty Streaks From Your Floor

Cold weather means more salt on the roads and sidewalks—and your floors, tracked in on your shoes and boots and leaving salty streaks all over your home. Salt is great for dealing with ice outside—but it is terrible for your floors. Even if you’re very much on top of making people remove their shoes when they enter your home, salty dust can still find a way onto your hardwood and other floor surfaces and could lead to permanent damage if you don’t quickly deal with it. Here’s what you need to do to get rid of it the right way.

Remove salt with something acidic

Salt deposits don’t emulsify with soap and water, so don’t waste your time with your usual mopping routine. What you really need is a weak acid of some kind. Here’s where our old friend vinegar comes in.

But first, you need to get rid of any salt crystals by vacuuming or sweeping them up. You also need to wipe up any melted snow or moisture, so grab an old towel and dab it up. Don’t push it around, as any big crystals inside could scratch the floor, and you could even push the water into the cracks in the floorboards, which could result in the damage underneath.

Next, mix vinegar and warm water—a half a cup of vinegar per gallon of water. (If the salty streaks and stains are really bad, you can double the amount of vinegar.) This is what you’ll use to clean.

How to apply the salt cleaning mixture

Spread your vinegar-and-water mixture in the same way you would when washing the floor as you usually would, which will differ depending on what it’s made of. If it’s tile or vinyl, for instance, you should coat it with a mop and leave it there a few minutes to dissolve the salt. If you’re dealing with wood, use a spray bottle to mist the streaks, then dab up the moisture with a towel after a few minutes.

To prevent the streaks from coming back, keep a spray bottle of the mixture handy so you can tackle them as they pop up. Be vigilant about melting snow, too. Check under your door mat for any leaks, wipe up wetness as soon as it happens, and spray the area with your bottle for good measure.

The smell of vinegar usually dissipates after a while, but if you really hate it, you can go back through the room with your usual floor-cleaning supplies again after it’s dried.

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