Ice Melt

A De-Icing Blend


Ice melt products are not created equal; they are blended using numerous de-icing granules and work together to provide optimal melting performance. They are formulated by manufacturers using 4 different chlorides: sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Each of these salt components have positive and negative attributes, with the percentage of each ingredient in any given blend dictating its quality, performance, and price.

The base for the majority de-icing products on the market begins with sodium chloride. It has been the standard in the industry and the base for which all others are formulated. It  has a low production cost and is readily available. Sodium chloride works by absorbing heat and does not generate heat by itself. It performs well down to relatively low temperatures and it can be activated by friction from tires and heavy foot traffic.

Lower temperatures and quick activation of a blend is typically associated with calcium and magnesium chlorides. They react faster and at lower temperatures than sodium and potassium chlorides as they draw in moisture from the surrounding air to create heat. The higher the percentage of calcium and magnesium, the faster they go to work, of course with the increase in percentages comes a higher cost.

There are three other components that can be found in many of the mixes on the market, none of them offer very little in the way of melting performance but do offer other functions. While limestone has no melting qualities, it has been included for traction. It is slow to breakdown and mild on vegetation. Both urea and CMA (calcium magnesium acetate) have anti-icing products. They are typically used prior to a snowfall and inhibit the bond between snow, ice, and the surface.

Your choice in products can be highly varied and vast in choice. But you should ask yourself what you are looking for in a product. Is it highly corrosive to metals? Will it harm my concrete? What about being safe for pets? None of the de-icing products will do all three equally; you have to decide which is more important to you. Ask your Beisswenger’s expert about which is the best product for your situation.

Pet Friendly

IMG_8105There are many de-icing products labeled as being pet friendly.  But, the best way to ensure your pets safety is to use products responsibly. It is important to use as little of product as necessary, monitor your pet’s activities around the area of use, and minimize their exposure to the product.

Ingestion and exposure to large amounts of any chemical can be detrimental to the health of your pet. Many of these de-icing products are considered hygroscopic, meaning they draw in moisture from the air and surrounding environment to generate heat. Prolonged exposure of the salts to your pet’s paws can dry them out and cause irritation. This can be easily be treated by cleaning off their paws with soap and water after walks and time spent outdoors.

And, while it is doubtful that your pet will continually ingest any de-icing product to the point of becoming ill, we suggest that you keep the container tightly closed and stored in a location where they do not have access to the product.