Safer alternatives to rock salt for melting ice

Posted by Michael Trinchitella on Thursday, February 5th, 2015 at 8:56am.

Safer alternatives to rock salt

The snow season is here and in the past I have written about home sellers being sure to keep the driveway and walkways clean so buyers can easily view your home; you also need to be aware of the negatives of using salt to melt ice and some good alternatives to try.

Salt damages concrete and can cause pits and cracks on a walkway, patio or driveway. Salt can also ruin the plantings in your landscaping. Anyone who has pets may have them struggle walking outside on the salt as the little chunks of salt often gets caught between their paws. Not only is it painful but the animal may end up licking their paws to remove the salt and ingest the often harmful salt. Salt can also corrode and destroy metal such as fencing, gates or outside patio furniture.

There are a few salt alternatives that are not perfect but may be better alternative for someone’s needs:

Sure Paws - is touted as a no-salt melter that is 100% organic and all-natural. It is safe for pets, paws, and skin. It is non-toxic, safe for lawns, shrubs and vegetation. It is less corrosive on metal surfaces than salt.

Magnesium chloride - doesn’t leave a powdery residue and is safer for pets, people and the environment, it is also less corrosive on metal surfaces. Unfortunately magnesium chloride could possibly damage masonry.

Calcium chloride - wont leave a powdery white residue isn't as damaging to the soil and vegetation as salt, though it may damage concrete. Calcium chloride attracts moisture, so it won't keep surfaces as dry as many other products.

Potassium chloride - doesn't work at extremely low temperatures like other salt alternatives and may cost a little more than salt, but it is relatively safe to vegetation and concrete.

Calcium magnesium acetate - is a non-corrosive, biodegradable de-icer. Will not damage concrete, safe for children and pets, less harmful to plants and will not irritate the skin. Unfortunately it doesn’t melt the ice much and just breaks it up a little bit, you will still have to shovel it away.

Sand is probably the safest thing to use and will provide better traction but won't melt ice. Sometimes just a simple shovel is really the most reliable and safest way to get rid of ice without causing any damage; you may damage your back while doing it buy hey you will have a nice driveway and walkway with no cracks to look at come spring.

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