Ice Melt – What You Need to Know

Spreading ice melters on driveways and sidewalks is an effective way to melt snow and ice. Most ice melters are blends of sodium chloride, calcium chloride, or magnesium chloride. Ice melters are not naturally hot and do not actually melt ice. They lower the freezing point of the snow or ice they are spread on.

Some ice melters work better at lower temperatures than others. Rock salt (Sodium chloride) is well known and has been an industry staple. But will not melt ice when temperatures are below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Magnesium chloride works well at temperatures that are above 5 degrees. Calcium chloride is effective for those extra cold days when temperatures drop as low as -25 degrees but it is also one of the more expensive options.

Remember, they’re all salts and any salt has the potential to damage pavement and concrete or to harm plants.

  • Mix sand in with your ice melt. Sand can provide traction and will absorb sunlight.
  • Be diligent in removing excess salt from your concrete after snow and ice have begun to melt.
  • Pay attention not to pile salted snow near plant life. Salt residue can accumulate in plants and prevent plants from absorbing nutrients.