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How to Choose the Right Ice Melt Product

This winter, you may find yourself purchasing ice melt products to keep your walkways and driveways clear. While these ice melts aid in the prevention of snow and ice buildup, some can cause harm to your pets, property and the environment. In order to help you make smart purchases this season, here are some points to consider about three common products used to melt ice.

Rock Salt

Many ice melts contain high concentrations of sodium chloride, a chemical often referred to as rock salt. Rock salt is used frequently because of its availability and relatively low price; however, there are costly trade-offs for this option.

When rock salt is used to melt ice and snow, some inadvertently ends up in surrounding soil through runoff. Each time the product is applied, the amount of salt present in surrounding soil increases. Plants can become dehydrated and may even die, leaving discolored areas or dead spots along your walkways or driveways.

More importantly, rock salt that ends up in runoff can have a detrimental impact on the ecosystems in soil and waterways.

Be aware that rock salt is also highly corrosive (to cars, structures or other metal objects around your home) and can be destructive to concrete, even if it has cured for over a year.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is another chemical frequently used to melt ice and snow. While certainly effective, users should know that direct contact can cause severe skin burns on people and pets. Additionally, calcium chloride can seriously stain floors if tracked inside and can be slippery when wet.

Natural Alternative® Ice Melt

Natural Alternative® Ice Melt is a safer and effective ice melt because it does not contain high concentrations of rock salt, making it ideal to use on walkways and driveways surrounded by plant life. It is non-corrosive and resists freeze/thaw cycles that damage concrete. When applied according to directions, any ice melt that may get tracked inside your home will not stain floors.

Not only is Natural Alternative® Ice Melt an environmentally friendly option and safer for your family and pets, but it continues working in temperatures as low as –16°F.

When searching for an ice melt this winter, make sure to read the product’s label so you don’t inadvertently sacrifice safety for effectiveness (or vice versa).

For the latest seasonal tips and DIY know-how, sign up for our e-newsletter, The Monthly Dirtfollow our social channels or give us a call.

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