Ice-melting salt is a winter necessity in many places, but that doesn’t mean it’s kind to your cars, clothes, carpets, even pets! Here’s how to survive the winter salt blues and salt-proof your life.
Saving Your Car from Salt
Salt is used on roads because it lowers the freezing temperature, thus melting ice and snow. It’s a great benefit, but this road-worthy mineral isn’t kind to your car. It’s ultra-corrosive and can cause rust and wear. Take these steps to keep your car salt safe:
- Make sure you wash your car every few weeks (more or less, depending on the amount of salt being used on the roads) at a car wash that features an undercarriage wash. You’ll want to wash on days that the temperature is above freezing, to prevent your doors from freezing shut.
- Purchase touch-up paint at any automotive store to repair any paint chips on your vehicle.
- Wax with a high quality car wax before snow season hits in your area.
- If you drive through deep snow, make sure you wash any snow stuck to the undercarriage of your vehicle off.
Protecting Your Clothing from Salt
Oh, your favorite suede boots…why does road salt hate them so much? Porous fabrics such as suede get battled in the wintertime. A simple solution of one part vinegar to two parts warm water, gently applied with a cloth, and then gently removed using a damp cloth should remove salt stains on most garments. Allow your garment to fully dry; if any residue remains repeat the process.
To deal a pre-emptive blow to road salt wishing to stick to your shoes, purchase a water-proofing fabric spray from any shoe store or specialty shop.
The best solution to preventing salt stains is not letting the salt reach your clothing. Consider investing in a good pair of rain boots (thankfully completely in style right now) or galoshes to wear while in transit from the office to your car.
Salt-Proofing Your Home
If you head directly from the outdoors to your living room, you may experience salt stains on your carpet. The vinegar/water solution above should handle most stains. Just put the solution in a spray bottle, and follow up with gentle rubbing with a damp cloth. Again, test an inconspicuous area first for color-fastness.
Salt residue can be harmful to hardwood or laminate flooring if left in place. A simple solution of about a half gallon of water and a tablespoon of good quality dishwashing detergent should remove the residue without issue. After wiping down with the soapy water, take a clean, damp cloth and remove any traces of the soap. Dry completely with a clean towel.
Preventing Salt Injuries in Your Pets
Pets are especially vulnerable to road salt since their skin comes in direct contact with it while outside. Many stores sell “pet safe” ice melt, however, if this isn’t an option wash and dry your pet’s belly and paws after each trip outside. Check their feet periodically for any cracking or redness, or if your pet is licking his or her paws. Any irritation should be looked at by a licensed veterinarian. Snow booties are also available for dogs of any size to wear on walks, however, they may take some getting used to before your pet is able to wear them on full walks.
We hope this helps you stay salt safe this winter. Do you have any tips of your own? Write them in the comments below or on our Facebook page.