When it comes to managing ice on your walkways and driveways, it can be very tempting to use an inexpensive rock salt. However, the damage and danger that this can cause are not worth the few dollars you would save on a less expensive, low quality compound. Using the old-fashioned rock salt can cause damage to concrete, metal and even worse, can cause both your children and your pets to become ill if ingested and may even be fatal. As a homeowner or a business owner, you can imagine the cost this would entail. Not only is this a harmful choice, it also is not very effective. Rock salt is only effective at around 20 degrees F. Lastly, it can also cause irreversible damage to any nearby plants that you may have. Another con with choosing rock salt is the annoying white powdery residue that is left behind. You’ll find yourself tracking this white powder into your home and may find it to end up on your favorite pair of shoes! We highly recommend that you avoid using rock salt if at all possible.

Choosing the proper ice melt requires taking a couple factors into account.

(1) Consider the surroundings of the area you will be applying the compound to. If you have vegetation in an area where the runoff of the melted snow will carry the chemicals to your plants, you would want to go with a sodium acetate which is more environmentally friendly. Also be aware of any children or pets who will be walking the area. We recommend purchasing a pet friendly ice melt.

(2) You should also take the climate into consideration as well. Be sure to check the label to find out what the lowest effective temperature of the product is. If the temperature drops below the effectiveness your ice melt will be rendered useless. When it comes to extreme cold, you may want to go with an ice melt which is exothermic. This means that it will release heat in order to melt the ice. This would be a much more effective chemical for you.

For the very low temperatures, Calcium Chloride or Magnesium Chloride are the best options, they also tend to be safer for children and pets. Even when choosing a safer option, still do your best to keep pets and children away from these chemicals. If you live in an area where the temperature only drops moderately, then you would choose an endothermic ice melt. Endothermic ice melt draws heat from its surroundings in order to work.

View the chart below to see the different types of ice melt and their temperature effectiveness:

Calcium Chloride -25o F
Calcium Magnesium Acetate -15oF
Sodium Acetate -15o F
Magnesium Chloride -15o F
Potassium Chloride -12o F
Sodium Chloride -20 to -22o F


We hope this blog was helpful to you in assisting you in choosing the right ice melt for you. Visit our store to shop our selection of ice melt and helpful snow removal products. Should you wish to have professional snow removal done, be sure to contact our sister company Basics Landscaping & Construction.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Let Us Do The Work For You.

Basics Landscaping Co., Inc., a division of Hewlynn Garden Center, has some of the most talented and hardworking people in the business combining their skills and resources to provide you with nothing but the best.


Find us on Facebook