If you live in a state where you experience snowy winters, you know salt on the roadways can be essential for safe traveling. When it snows or is icy, plows come through and spread a layer of salt on the roads, which works wonders in melting the ice and creating safer driving conditions. 

This process is imperative to keeping everyone safe all winter long, but roadway salt does have some negative effects. When driving in the winter, it is more than likely the salt from the road is accumulating on your tires, car, windshield, your shoes, and basically everywhere. The salt goes with you wherever you go. This also includes your garage.

Salt hitches a ride from your car and shoes and lands in your garage when you park. And then what? You may or may not have noticed that it can wreak havoc on your concrete garage flooring.

How Does Salt Damage Your Garage Floor?

The salt on the road is likely a combination of calcium chloride and liquid magnesium. When left on a concrete surface like your garage floors or driveway, the road salt forms a liquid brine that slowly seeps into your concrete’s pores instead of freezing on top. Once the brine drains into your floor it becomes diluted and ineffective at unfreezing ice. This means it will refreeze within your floors, expand, and damage your concrete when it gets cold enough. 

Another type of damage that can occur from road salt is subflorescence. This phenomenon happens when all the moisture on the garage floor evaporates, leaving nothing but grainy road salt behind. The salt then recrystallizes in the pores of the concrete floor, causing the top of the concrete to flake off and leaving patches of nasty white stains.

How to Clean Salt Stain From Your Concrete Garage Floor

Whether you have old stains to address or preparing for new ones in the spring, with a little elbow grease and the right tools you can clean up your concrete floors from salt stains. 

Here are some tips to help you clean your garage floor in winter:

  • Clean your garage floors

Your first step will be to give your garage floors a good basic clean. Use a bucket of warm water to remove the top layer of dirt and grime from your floors. No need to scrub too hard for this first step. 

  • Mix a Cleaning Solution or buy one

After finishing the initial cleaning, it’s time to get down to the real business. Plain water isn’t going to be enough to get the salt stains out of the concrete, so you’re going to need something stronger.

We recommend mixing one gallon of warm water, one cup of vinegar, and a dash of dish soap. Feel free to double or even triple this recipe as you need.

If you prefer less of a DIY solution and more of a premixed cleaner, try buying Salt-Away

  • Start Scrubbing

Once you’ve got this mixed together, pour the cleaning solution onto the stains and start scrubbing away at them with a stiff deck brush. As the salt stain starts to come off, clean up the residue with either a mop or a wet vac. This step prevents the salt residue from dispersing back into the concrete and creating a new stain.

  • Avoid Pressure Washers

When dealing with an exceptionally stubborn stain, it can be tempting to blast it with a pressure washer. Resist this urge, however, as doing so will often do more harm than good. The force of the water coming out of the pressure washer may drive the salt deeper into the concrete, making it harder to remove in the long run.

Preventing Winter Salt Stains on Your Garage Floor

One of the best ways to prevent these pesky salt stains in the first place is to apply a garage floor coating in Ohio. Garage floor coatings act as a protectant layer to make it harder for road salt to soak into the pores of your concrete.

Concrete sealing and epoxy coatings will extend the life of your concrete floor, increase its durability, and keep it looking like new for longer. 

It’s not too late to protect your garage floor for this winter. Contact Select Flooring systems today to get your garage floor sealed or coated before the first snowflake falls!