Slop and Salt: How to protect your car and clothing from the corrosive environment

Slop and Salt: How to protect your car and clothing from the corrosive environment

It is winter in Wisconsin and along with the ice and snow comes a lot of salt.

If you're not careful, salt can cause some real damage to your stuff. CBS 58's Jacob Kittilstad has some tips on how to protect your ride and your wardrobe this season.

The body shop at S/S Research in Mukwonago doesn't only deal with the dents caused in slick winter conditions during this time of year. Manager Charles Eul says big problems can start very small.

"This is forming a bubble. And what happens is this is rusting from the inside out," Eul said, showing of what might about to be minor damage.

But he says the rust may already be back to the yellow line circling the area - a good five inches away. A repair might cost about $500 for this situation. And Eul says it all started with a tiny bit of salt.

"And once it gets on the metal, if it's not washed off in a certain period of time, it starts a corrosion," Eul said.

"This can do anything from damage to your fuel lines to your brake lines. A lot of brake lines are made from steel from the factory," Eul said.

Grinding out the rust or possibly replacing the entire door of a vehicle could set you back a thousand dollars. Eul's main advice is to make sure any chips to the paint have been sealed - even if it's just with nail polish.

"The best recommendation is if the sun is out and the temperature is about 20 - it's still safe to get a car wash. Just make sure after you go through the car wash that your door jams and your trunk jams are dry so it prevents the seals from actually freezing," Eul said.

The important words to remember are "undercarriage wash" when you're at the Car Wash.

So we've talked about how to defend your car from getting damaged by salt but what about when your clothes get covered in it?

"You could just brush it off most of the time," Keith Klabunde of Keith's Cleaners said. In fact, there's no big secret to getting rid of salt. Normally the solution is just tap water.

"If it's a sensitive, dry-clean only you got to take it to one of us. Otherwise, you're never going to get the salt out with just plain water. But like I said, 80-90%...even the new solutions that are coming out, they're all water-based solutions coming out," Klabunde said.

Here's the at-home method he suggests: get the salty area really wet so the whiteness disappears. Now that doesn't mean that the salt is gone - it's still there in the water. What you have to do is use a washcloth to soak up that salty water repeating the process multiple times if necessary.


He also says you shouldn't be afraid to use a wet vac - because you don't want to leave a salt-mixture on your clothing too long.

"Calcium chloride is a bleaching agent. I mean it's actually used as a bleaching agent in this industry. It's a very mild solution. If left on there a long time, it will discolor your pants. Especially dark pants."

Another piece of advice for taking care of your clothing - and this is straight from the dry-cleaner - try to avoid light-colored clothing during slushy days because cleaners might be able to get rid of the salt, but the winter-grime along with it is a might bigger challenge.

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