How to Remove Salt Stains From Floors
Winter means snow, slush and ice in many regions of the country. Unfortunately, the salt products that people use to keep themselves from skidding and falling all over driveways, parking lots and sidewalks can cause lasting damage to different types of flooring. That’s the bad news. The good news is that we have a few pointers on how to get rid of salt on hardwood floors and removing salt stains from carpet or tile.
Ready to learn? Let’s go!
First Things First: PreventionIt stands to reason that if you don’t have salt on hardwood floors or carpet to begin with, you won’t have to worry about cleaning up stains. The best way to accomplish this feat is to keep you snow- or slush-covered shoes from hitting those surfaces at all:
Removing Salt Stains from Wood Floors or TileThe salt used to tackle winter’s snowfalls can scratch your floor’s finish and damage the actual material it's made from. Therefore, the sooner you can clean salt on hardwood floors and tile, the better.
Note: This method should never be used on stone floors as vinegar can cause permanent etching on these surfaces. And regardless of what material your floor is made of, it’s always a good idea to do a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area.
- 1/3 cup of distilled white vinegar
- 1 gallon of water
- A spray bottle
- A vacuum cleaner
- A microfiber mop (This is important because mops made of less gentle materials could damage your floor while pushing salt around.)
- Microfiber cloths
- A towel
- Make sure the floor is dry and start by vacuuming as much of the salt as you can.
- Mix the vinegar and water. Pour this into the spray bottle.
- Lightly spritz the mixture over the salt on your hardwood floors or tile. Take care not to saturate wooden floors, as too much vinegar or moisture could cause permanent damage.
- Let the solution sit for about five minutes, then mop the area dry.
- Dampen a clean microfiber cloth. Use this to wipe the floor down once more to remove any last bits of salt.
- Wipe the area dry with a towel or fresh microfiber cloth.
How to Remove Salt Stains from CarpetIf your flooring is so badly discolored that it looks bleached, you might want to call a professional — like ServiceMaster Clean — to remove salt stains from carpet. Doing so could spare you a massive headache. Carpets that are lightly stained, however, can be cleaned with vinegar and water.
Note: As with hard-surfaced floors, you should perform a spot test on a small, out-of-the-way area of carpeting before fully cleaning.
- 1 cup of vinegar
- 3 gallons of water
- A bucket
- A vacuum
- A sponge
- A soft carpet brush
- Microfiber cloths
- Loosen any debris or salt from the carpeting with the soft carpet brush.
- Make sure the carpet is dry and vacuum the area. Work the vacuum cleaner in a variety of different angles and directions so you can remove as much salt as possible.
- Depending on how stained your carpet is, you may want to repeat Steps 1 and 2.
- In the bucket, mix the vinegar and water.
- Dip your sponge into the bucket and wring it out. Use this to lightly apply your cleaning solution the spots where you need to remove salt stains from carpet. Keep in mind you want to dab, not scrub. Scrubbing can actually cause damage to the carpet fibers.
- Let the solution sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Blot up the solution with a dry sponge or microfiber cloths. You’ll need to do this until the carpet is dry.
- With a clean sponge, gently apply water (no vinegar this time) to the spots where you were removing salt stains from the carpet. This will help get rid of any remaining salt or vinegar residue.
- Blot the areas once more with clean microfiber cloths until the carpeting is totally dry.