Welcome to our guide to help you find the best ice melt safe for pets and concrete. Generally speaking, chloride-based ice melt products are more toxic and damaging to pets, specifically their paws, but it’s can also be fatal if ingested. In addition, chlorides are harmful to the environment and concrete. In other words, buying a pet safe ice melt will also be less destructive to concrete. Luckily there are many chloride-free options that are still highly effective at melting ice and snow without the toxicity. It’s true, you lose some of the power that chloride formulas have but you can’t have everything. It’s a tradeoff that you have to make. What is it you really want or need?
It’s the toxicity of the compounds used in the formula that damages concrete and harms the paws of dogs and cats. Don’t worry, you’ll be surprised at the type of formulas that are available today. Times have changed. We have something for you here, I’m certain of that.
Be Prepared for Winter
Every winter millions of people have to deal with the challenges of ice, snow and bitter cold. It’s important that you know what your options are so you can select the right ice melt for your home. Right now, as I update this on Christmas Day, 2023, one of the biggest winter storms on record is paralyzing the US and Canada.
When a large snow storm rips through your city or town you want to be prepared. I consider snow and ice melters to be an important tool to make sure you can keep your walkways free and clear of snow and ice. This is what they’re designed for. Most cities make homeowners and business owners are legally responsible for ensuring the snow around their home or business have clear sidewalks, driveways and parking lots. Snow melt is a lifesaver when your walkways are coated in ice.
VIDEO — Watch Before you Buy / Chloride-Free Ice Melt is best for Concrete or Pets
A good example is playing out right now with the current storm hitting the US because there of the flash freezing occurring immediately after heavy rains which have literally turned streets into skating rinks. It would be wise for people to spread ice melt over all of their stairs and walkways around their home to provide a safe route for themselves and the people walking by. This storm is so massive that you’d need a snow blower with a track-drive to be able to dig you out of your home.
In addition to a good quality ice melt, I recommend you also have a portable generator for backup power and some type of snow blower or an electric snow shovel, and a snow melting mat that you can place on your walkways. These are a few basics to get you through storms like the one happening tonight. So far, 34 people have already died.
Best Ice Melt Safe for Pets and Concrete
Let’s begin by looking at a wide range of snow and ice melting products that are safer and less destructive pets as well as concrete. Generally speaking, the more mild an ice melt is, the less toxic it will be on concrete and the paws of dogs and cats. Generally, chloride-based ice melters are most toxic to concrete and animals.
Made from Beet Extract—Eco Solutions: Organic Melt
OVERVIEW / Beet Juice Snow Melt
Who knew that beets would be able to keep our roads safe from ice and snow. Eco-Solutions has created one of the best ice and snow melt safe for pets, kids and the environment. It’s almost a perfect product. This is a Canadian made product and many cities in Canada and the US are adding beet juice to their salt formulations to lessen the impact on the environment.
Beet juice extract is not perfect though, apparently it has a negative impact on certain species of insects and microorganisms which eventually impacts waterways. As a homeowner I doubt this is something you need to worry about but on a large scale, as in city-wide street de-icing, this might have a noticeable impact. Time will tell. You can read more about beet juice and it’s effect on the environment on the Modern Farmer article: Is Beet Juice the Future of Deicing City Streets?
VIDEO / Beet Juice used to de-ice city roads
Why Beet Juice/Extract for Ice Melting?
Beet Extract or juice is a type of deicing product that is made from the root of the sugar beet plant. It’s a natural, biodegradable, non-toxic alternative to salt-based deicers which can cause corrosion to metal surfaces and can create a slippery surface when wet. Unlike salt-based products, sugar beet extract does not damage vegetation or soil and is safe for pets, concrete, and the environment. It almost seems too good to be true.
It’s less corrosive than salt-based deicers, which automatically makes it safer on roads, sidewalks and concrete in general.
Sugar beet extract is a great alternative to salt-based products for melting snow and ice. It’s safer for the environment and less corrosive. This is one of the best ice melt for concrete and pets. Who knew that beets could be so versatile.
Entry (Brand): Chloride-Free / Potassium Formate
Editors’ Pick: Best Ice Melt Safe for Pets & Concrete
This product is designed to melt thin levels of ice and snow, up to ⅛” thick. Imagine the thickness of cardboard and this is about the depth it’s good for. If you need something stronger then purchase a standard salt-based product.
Overview / Potassium Formate by Entry
I know a lot of snow and ice melt products say they’re safe for pets and kids, and according to the laws and industry guidelines they are, BUT, they can still be toxic at higher levels. The majority of snow melt products use a type of salt, or chloride, because they’re the most effective. This product, from the brand Entry, use a proprietary formulation of potassium formate. Some it’s advantages are:
Video: A Close Look at Entry’s Potassium Formate Ice & Snow Melt
Most snow and ice melter products are either using a single chemical or a blend of these standard inorganic compounds:
Potassium formate is the potassium salt of formic acid. It’s not as commonly used in ice melt products as the salts you typically see and I suspect it’s because it’s not as strong as the salt-based snow melters on the market. I would say that this fact is the only drawback — due to the fact that it’s more mild and won’t be effective in dealing with ice or snow deeper than ⅛” deep. It also means that if you will likely have to apply this in layers if you’re getting a lot of snow.
But, if you want the safest product for your dog, your kids and the environment then this is the Best snow and ice melter you can buy. I know that everyone wants to find that perfect ice and snow melter than melts and prevents snow from accumulating while dissolving whatever remains on the ground but anything that has this type of power is going to be strong by its very nature, and unfortunately, the better the product is at getting rid of ice means it will also be more harsh and toxic to living creatures and the environment.
In other words, you have to sacrifice something. It’s up to you to decide what’s the most important to you. Potassium formate is an effective product in melting ice and snow but it has limitations and it won’t perform to the same level as common salts.
National Blue: Best Ice Melt Safe for Pets and Concrete
Professional-Grade, made with a proprietary blend. NO Magnesium Chloride. Contains 10% Calcium Chloride.
This product from National Blue has a long history of satisfied customers. The brand does not reveal the list of ingredients as they’ve created their own blend. Overall, this is another good option that works quickly and it’s safe for pets and the environment.
- NO Magnesium Chloride.
- Commercial strength, professional ice melter down to -15°F.
- Contains 10% Calcium Chloride.
- Two patented accelerating agents. National Blue Ice Melt has been shown in Strategic Highway Research Program testing, to exceed the melt value of a theoretical 50% calcium chloride blend.
- Melts to -15°F
- Anti-caking agents that ensure easy flow for ice melt spreaders
- will not harm concrete and vegetation when used according to label instructions.
Just For Pets — Best Value Ice Melt Safe for Pets and Concrete
No Chlorides. Salt-Free. Safe formula for pets, humans, environment and concrete.
- No chlorides – no magnesium chloride, no calcium chloride & no sodium chloride
- No sharp rock salt, salt-free – walking on rock salt can be painful to your pets feet.
- Soft round pellets: easy on the paws
- Pellets instantly generate heat on contact with ice & snow to speed the deicing and melting process.
- Safe at low temperatures (-15 degrees Celsius).
- Pellet design is compatible with any spreaders, including rotary spreaders
- 100% customer satisfaction money-back guarantee. Full refund if you’re not satisfied.
This product has proven to be effective and more mild than chloride-based ice melters. Don’t expect it to be as powerful as chloride products but if you value the health of pets and the environment then you have to give up something. You can’t have it all when it comes to snow melt products. The less toxic the product the less effective it will be at melting ice and snow. On the other hand, the more toxic of a snow and ice melt, the better it will be at melting snow.
Ultimately, you have to decide what matters the most to you.
My only complaint about this product is they don’t share their ingredients because as they say: “It’s a trade secret.” In other words, they’re asking you to put your trust in their ingredients. I read one comment on Amazon that says the main ingredient is Urea (carbamide) but I don’t know for certain if that’s true. This product leaves some yellowish staining, which supports the theory that this is a urea-based ice melter.
Despite not knowing the precise ingredients, all indications show that this is one of the most effective ice melters that’s both safe for pets and concrete. The overall rating by customers is exceptional and proof that this product really does what it promises.
➤Skip to the next section of the best ice melt safe for animals and concrete
Ice & Snow Melt — Facts
Keeping on top of snow and ice is a big part of our winter maintenance program. There are many anti-icing and deicing methods that we can employ. Products vary and our application of these products can vary too. This article is intended to answer all your questions surrounding snow and ice melt. We’ll supply you with a buying guide to the best ice melt products as well as explain how ice melt works and what your best practices should be.
How does ice melt work?
Ice melt is a chemical process. Rock salt is the most common deicer, but many other chemicals can be used in a similar way. All chemicals used to melt ice work by means of a reaction to water, creating heat. The effect of ice melt is two-fold, it lowers the freezing point of the water and generates heat to melt the ice. When any of the chemicals used for deicing come into contact with moisture, they form a brine. This is really a solution of a chemical and water (most commonly salt). As the brine spreads across the surface, its temperature is higher than that of the ice. This then melts the ice or prevents ice from forming. It’s always more effective to apply an ice melt product before the ice forms, prevention being better than cure.
VIDEO: How does Ice melt work and more facts
As the ice melt product reacts with the ice, the temperature of the ice melt lowers and the freezing point of the water increases. A point is reached where the heat generated can no longer increase and the freezing point of the water can longer decrease, this is known as the eutectic temperature. Once the eutectic temperature is reached, the ice melt will no longer be of any use. There is no point adding any more ice melt when this occurs. It is therefore important to use an ice melt product that matches the climatic conditions that you experience.
As we look at various ice melt products and the chemicals used, you’ll notice that they have different temperature ratings from 5°F down to -25°F. Products with a lower temperature rating will take longer to reach their eutectic temperature and will, therefore, be more effective in very cold weather and heavier ice. Ironically, ice melt with a lower temperature rating is referred to as being hotter, this is because they are more effective at melting ice and preventing it from refreezing.
Even though rock salt is the most common deicer, there are many other chemicals used and these are generally more effective and, in many cases, safer to use. So before we can fully understand ice melt we need to understand the chemicals used and how they work. Here’s a list of the most common compounds used in ice melt products:
➤Read about the most common chemicals used to make the best snow and ice melt. You can jump direct to that section.
While the actual chemicals used in an ice melt or deicing product may be of little concern to you, it helps to have a better knowledge of these chemicals and how they harm them. Some chemicals can harm concrete and are, therefore not the best idea for your concrete driveway. And don’t forget about the sensitive paws of your pets and other animals. Chloride-based formulas are often hard and can easily get stuck in their paws. Even worse, when the salt crystals melt they heat up and actually hurt your dog or cat.
Despite all the marketing from manufacturers about chlorides being safe for pets and concrete, the truth is, they can cause harm and damage depending on how the ice melt is used, and in what quantity. Ultimately, over time, chlorides have a negative impact on concrete. If you use them in small amounts, occasionally then they are relatively safe. But you have safer alternatives, as this article is intended to provide you with the best snow and ice melts that are safe for pets and won’t damage concrete.
Resources on the Dangers of Chloride-based Ice Melt Products:
- Other Impacts of Deicers: Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
- Chloride: Encyclopedia of Inland Waters, 2009
- Sidewalk Salt Pellets Dangerous for Dogs, Vets Aim for Alternatives / Newsbreak
- You’re probably using too much salt to deice your driveway / Reconnect With Nature
VIDEO: Learn About Using Snow/Ice Melt Properly
Snow Melt vs Ice Melt
This distinction doesn’t seem entirely logical. After all, snow is ice. It’s just that snow is made up of individual crystals of ice and when we refer to ice in this context, we’re looking at solid sheets of ice or snow that has been compacted to a point where it becomes a solid mass of ice. So water that has frozen on the surface can be seen as ice and snowflakes that have fallen from the sky is snow.
The question here is more about temperature. Solid ice needs a higher temperature to melt down to the surface than light snow that is not heavily compacted. The chemicals that we use to melt ice and snow have very different temperatures when they react with the ice or snow.
Rock salt is the cheapest and most common ice melt product but it doesn’t have a very high temperature. Rock salt will only melt to a temperature of 5° F and is therefore only suitable for light snow. The question really becomes about Rock Salt vs Ice Melt.
Ice melt products use one of the chemicals listed above or a combination of these. When we talk about true ice melt products, rock salt doesn’t fare too well, so we can say that this is more like a snow melt product. When we compare rock salt to a chemical like calcium chloride, the difference is quite evident. Calcium chloride will melt down to -25°F. We, therefore, refer to calcium chloride as a hotter ice melt product. In really cold weather, the melting properties of rock salt aren’t going to be too effective. A melting temperature of 5°F compared to -25°F is a big difference.
Though melting temperature is only one of the factors to look at and using different chemicals have their pros and cons. In general, the only benefit to using rock salt is its price, it’s not the most effective at melting ice. It is also highly corrosive and can harm your plants and pets.
How does Ice Melt affect the environment?
The use of chemical products can often have a detrimental effect on the environment, our pets, and plants. The brine that is created as a result of using these products will run from the surface and can come into contact with your plants. Placing some ice melt products directly onto your lawn, for example, can kill the lawn. The runoff of ice melt brine will also seep into the ground affecting the groundwater supply. In some cases, this brine can end up in the river system and can cause havoc with sensitive ecosystems.
If you need an environmentally friendly ice melt, there are a number of products formulated from natural products that are not harmful to plants, animals or the natural water supply. One of the best products in this regard has to be Eco Solutions Organic Melt, made from sugar beet extract. Yes, you read that correctly!
Editors’ Picks: Best Pet Safe Ice Melt (& Concrete)
Best Pet Safe Ice Melt: Safe Paw
Best Pet Safe Ice Melter that can be used anywhere. Highly recommended even if you don’t have a pet, because dogs roam everywhere so why not just be proactive and reduce harming the environment or our furry Little friends. Your neighbors will appreciate it.
- Non-Toxic ice melt is guaranteed safe for pets
- Concentrated pellets cover twice the area of rock salt
- Timed-Release formulation helps prevent re-icing for up to three days
- Safe for animals, children, vegetation, and concrete brick and stone
- Easy to handle 8 lb. shaker jug
- Non-toxic safe to use around people, pets and children
- Safe on paws, eyes and skin, no need for gloves, masks or goggles
- Works to a low temperature of -2°F
- Includes a proprietary tracking agent
- Lasts up to 3 days
Safe Paw Ice Melter uses Carbonyl Diamide and an admixture of Glycol as its active ingredients. This mixture will cover up to twice the area as one would using coarse salt and has the benefit of being non-toxic – safe for pets, children, and plants.
It will provide ice melt protection down to -2°F and has a time-release formula that will last up to three days. This long-lasting effect is one of the biggest advantages of using Safe Paw Ice Melter. It comes in a large 35-LB bucket that will last quite a while.
Safe Paw ice melt | How does it Work?
Best General Ice Melt: Harris: Kind Melt
100% Magnesium Chloride / I don’t recommend this product for pets or concrete. It’s for those who don’t care about toxicity.
This product is essentially a formulation of magnesium chloride. It’s good for general use..
Magnesium chloride is an excellent option for melting snow and ice because it’s highly effective and it has a minimal impact on the environment, as well as being safer for pets and concrete, Another bonus is that it leaves very little residue behind.
Magnesium Chloride can degrade concrete over time. Legally, all brands claim that magnesium chloride is safe for concrete but if you were to use it often you might begin to see your concrete degrade, and here’s how.
Safer Option: Does not contain magnesium chloride & only 10% calcium chloride.
Calcium chloride (CaCl2) and Magnesium chloride (MgCl2) belong to the same family of inorganic compounds. When they interact with concrete they initiate a process known as lon-exchange-1 where Calcium from ice melt swaps places with the Calcium in concrete. This exchange is permanent and can severely weaken concrete over time.
These chlorides are common in snow and ice melt because they’re cheap and they work. Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m here to give you the facts. One of the products we highly recommend that does not contain magnesium chloride and only 10% calcium chloride is from National Blue (Buy on Amazon).
Magnesium chloride is an inorganic compound typically used as an alternative to rock salt (sodium chloride) in snow and ice melting products. It works like all salts do for melting snow; by lowering the freezing point of water. As a result they create a brine solution which becomes heated and the end result is melting ice and snow.
Magnesium chloride is one of the better options in comparison to other common chlorides, like sodium chloride and calcium chloride. Magnesium chloride is much more efficient as a snow melting agent and it’s also effective at lower temperatures. It releases less chloride and therefore it’s less corrosive and doesn’t harm concrete or other surfaces as much as sodium chloride and potassium chloride. Overall it’s a safer option.
Consequently, it’s less abrasive on vegetation and does not contain toxins that can be harm pets and wildlife.
Snow Joe / MELT25IB-BKT Melt-2-Go
Best ice melt that is pet safe and not harmful to the environment.
- Eco, pet- and kid friendly
- Enhanced with CMA (calcium magnesium acetate) for fast and effective results
- Color-coated crystals help visually measure and dispense the right amount
- Convenient refillable bucket with handy measuring scoop for easy dispensing
- Long lasting, time-relaxed formula provides superior traction control
- Will not harm grass, wood, concrete, metals, or other vegetation
- MELTS DOWN TO -20ºF: MELT Beet It effectively melts ice and snow on contact, even at temperatures as low as -20ºF.
- SLEET AND FREEZING RAIN: Apply early to prevent ice buildup.
- WET/HEAVY SNOW: Apply early to prevent bonding.
- LARGE ACCUMULATION: Clear excess snow, spread on stubborn ice or packed snow.
With the primary ingredient being natural beet juice, this Snow Joe product is their most environmentally friendly product. Its deicing ability is enhanced by the use of Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA). Although CMA is a refined chemical, it is one of the safest. CMA is noncorrosive, does not irritate the skin and does not harm plants if used as directed.
This natural blend is able to provide ice melt down to -25°F and is suitable for ambient temperatures down to -20°F. For an all-natural, environmentally friendly product, Snow Joe AZ-25-IB-BKT Melt-2-Go is remarkably effective. It will provide ice melt protection for up to 20-hours, which is not much less than the premium Snow Joe ice melt products.
VIDEO | See how the Snow Joe pet-safe ice melt works (MELT25IB-BKT)
One of the refreshing things about this natural product is that they haven’t hiked up the price. Many environmentally friendly products end up being more expensive. There is often no real reason for this, excepting that manufacturers seem to want to profit off those who have a green conscious. Snow Joe Melt-2-Go costs the same as their standard Calcium Chloride ice melt and is almost as effective. It comes in a handy, re-fillable 25 LB bucket with a dispensing scoop. They sell 50-LB refill bags and smaller 10-LB bottles.
Ice Melt and Pets
Rock salt and some other ice melt chemicals are corrosive and will cause skin irritation. While these products are commonly used in areas where vehicles drive (roads and driveways), they’re not great for plants or pets. Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) is one of the best ice melt chemicals to use for pet safety as it doesn’t harm the skin.
You’ll notice that the environmentally friendly Snow Joe ice melt uses CMA in conjunction with beet juice. Well, they have another CMA ice melt product that is developed specifically for pets. Other chemicals used in pet safe ice melt products include Carbonyl Diamide and Glycol and have a very similar effect.
If you’re looking for an effective pet safe ice melt, here are two products that we can recommend as being the best.
Snow Joe MELT30EB-BOX
30 Lb. Bucket Premium Environmentally-Friendly Blend Ice Melter w/ CMA
- Eco, pet- and kid-friendly
- Formulated with Pet Friendly Ingredients
- Protects Surrounding Hardscapes and Softscapes*
- Fewer Applications Required to Achieve Superior Performance
- Reduces Damage Towards Vegetation and Concrete*
- Formulated to Provide Soil Supporting Compounds
- Reduces Corrosion Towards Metals
- Anti-Caking Agents Added for Extended Shelf Life
- Enhanced with CMA (calcium magnesium acetate) for fast and effective results
- Color-coated crystals help to visually measure and dispense the right amount
- Convenient refillable dispenser bucket with handy scoop
- Long lasting, time-relaxed formula provides superior traction control
- Will not harm grass, wood, concrete, metals, or other vegetation
- Net weight: 25 lbs
- FAST ACTING: MELT EB goes to work immediately upon contact with snow and ice to accelerate the deicing and melting process. Pre-treating surfaces with MELT EB will also prevent ice and snow from accumulating.
- LONG LASTING: Stays on the surface area longer for added protection and better control of the freeze/thaw cycle.
- Will not dry out or irritate the skin and can be safely and easily dispensed without requiring the use of protective clothing.
- Will not track onto your home’s floors or carpets, so you can safely tread your footwear onto any treated surface without worry of damage to your shoes or your home.
✓ View or download the SPEC SHEET for the Snow Joe MELT25EB-BKT EB (Enviro Blend).
Snow Joe also offers a highly effective pet safe ice melt that uses CMA (calcium magnesium acetate) as the main ingredient. It goes to work very quickly and also has a time-delayed formula to last longer. It’s perfectly safe for pets and children as well as being one of the better ice melt products for use on metal, wood, or concrete. It also doesn’t harm plants if used correctly.
This product comes in a 25-LB bucket with 25-LB or 50-LB refill bags also available. There’s an option to get this product in a small 10-LB jug. One of the extra advantages to using Snow Joe MELT25EB-BKT pet safe ice melt is that doesn’t leave a residue and you won’t be tracking mess into your home.
VIDEO | Learn More about the Snow Joe EB Snow & Ice Melter
Buy the Snow Joe MELT30EB-BOX from Amazon.
Using Ice Melt on Concrete
Many driveways use concrete pavers or cast concrete and you’ll notice that these surfaces become damaged over time when using salt or some other chemical based ice melt products. So what is the best ice melt for concrete?
The truth is, that if your concrete is mixed and cured correctly, most deicers or ice melt products will work just fine. A lot has to do with the freeze and thaw cycles as the expansion and contraction that results from this can cause the concrete to crack. When it comes down to it, there are some products that are better for concrete and then there’s also toxicity to consider.
If you’re looking for the best ice melt product for concrete, look for one that uses Magnesium Chloride as the key ingredient. Magnesium chloride has a slow attack rate and is, therefore, the least corrosive when used on concrete driveways and walkways. It is also not harmful to plants.
One of the disadvantages of using magnesium chloride over more commonly used calcium chloride products is that magnesium chloride dissipates quickly and doesn’t offer the same length of ice melt protection as many other products. This means that you’ll need to apply a magnesium chloride ice melt product more regularly than you would with other deicers.
Another consideration to take into account is the melting temperature of magnesium chloride. While it beats rock salt, going down to -5°F, magnesium chloride isn’t as effective as calcium chloride that works down to -25°F.
Pet safe ice melt products may not be as beneficial as magnesium chloride, but these products are not corrosive and are generally recommended as being safe for concrete.
General Purpose Ice Melt Products
The most commonly used ice melt, after rock salt, has to be calcium chloride. It is relatively inexpensive and far more effective than rock salt. Calcium chloride melts down to -25°F and can last up to 24-hours. Though one must look at the type of calcium chloride product that you’re buying, as they are not all of the same quality. So far, we’ve looked at specialized snow melt products being, environmentally safe, pet safe or the best for concrete. Many people may simply want an ice melt that is more effective and less damaging than rock salt. So this section of the article is for you.
The following two products from Snow Joe both use calcium chloride as the active ingredient, though they are not identical. This is because of the concentration of calcium chloride that is used. A cheaper product may be fine for some, but one that uses a high concentration of calcium chloride is going to work more effectively.
Snow Joe / AZ-25-CCP Pure Calcium Chloride
Pet safe ice and snow melt. Professional Strength – contains 94% Pure CaCl2 Pellets
- Professional Strength – contains 94% Pure CaCl2 Pellets
- Melts down to -25°F
- Convenient refillable bucket with handy scoop for easy dispensing
- Generates heat instantly upon contact with snow and ice
- Lasts up to 24 hours for superior traction control
- Safer for use on sidewalks when used as directed; Never use any ice melt products on freshly poured concrete that has not had adequate time to cure
- Net weight: 25 lb
The Melt-2-Go 94% Calcium Chloride Ice Melter from Snow Joe can be seen as turbo version of the Melt-2-Go Premium Calcium Chloride product that we just looked at. It has all the same properties and will also melt down to -25°F.
The main difference with this product (which costs more) is the concentration of pure Calcium Chloride (94%). The result is that this ice melt gets to work in a much faster time and you’ll probably end up using less than with cheaper calcium chloride ice melt products.
It comes in the same convenient packaging as the other Snow Joe ice melt products: a 25-LB bucket; 50-LB bag or 10-LB jug.
How to Use Ice Melt
We’ve reviewed quite a variety of ice melt products. Now it’s time to provide you with a guide to using ice melt, this will help you to get the most from the ice melt product that is best suited to your needs.
Choose your product correctly. After considering which product is the best in terms of environmental issues, pets, concrete and price, you need to make sure it’s going to be effective. You’ll notice that different chemicals have different temperature ratings and it’s important to take note of this if you want the product to be effective. If you have ice with a very low core temperature, you’ll need to use an ice melt compound that’s up to the task. An infrared heat gun is the best way to check the temperature of the surface beneath the ice.
YakTrax Pro will keep you from slipping when applying ice melt
Use the correct amount of ice melt. At the beginning of the article, I discussed eutectic temperature and now it’s time see how important this is in practice. Based on our knowledge of eutectic temperature, we now know that applying more ice melt than is necessary is simply a waste of money. Your ice melt product is only going to be effective up to the point where the eutectic temperature is reached. Thereafter it’s redundant. Each product is different and should be used in accordance with the instructions on the packaging. Use the recommended amount of ice melt per square yard and no more. Any excess ice melt will simply be washed away and serve no purpose.
Apply the ice melt evenly. You want to scatter the ice melt across the entire surface as evenly as possible. If you’re using the product in a small concentrated area, like a walkway, it’s quite easy to do this by hand. You’ll simply take the required amount and scatter it using a scoop or cup. However, larger areas, like driveways, may require a mechanical ice melt spreader to ensure the best results.
Prepare for the storm. It’s always best to apply ice melt just before a snow storm. This will prevent ice buildup in the first place. Once the snow has fallen, you’ll want to continue the treatment by blowing away all the loose snow and then applying the ice melt to the underlying ice in the correct dosage.
Allow concrete surfaces to cure. I know that many ice melt products, especially those that use magnesium chloride and other non-corrosive chemicals, are safe for concrete. Some of these products claim to be safe on concrete that is less than a year old. Building contractors don’t seem to agree to agree with this though. Perhaps they are just playing it safe to avoid comebacks, but the guys in the building industry don’t recommend using a deicer on concrete less than two years old. The concrete needs time to cure in order to adapt to the rapid expansion and contraction that results from using ice melt. This will only apply to poured concrete, pre-manufactured concrete pavers don’t require this waiting period.
Protect yourself. There are a lot of ice melt products that don’t harm the skin, this would include all pet safe ice melt products. However, products that are not rated as pet safe, will probably cause irritation and even damage to your skin. For these products, always use rubber gloves when working with the ice melt.
Common Snow Melt Chemicals:
Snow and ice melts are a necessity in areas of the world that experience snowfall. Major snowfalls will shut down a city if the snow isn’t removed within a reasonable amount of time These various types of salts are the easiest way to get rid of snow but they also come at a cost. If you have a dog it’s up to you to make sure it doesn’t ingest these ice melting salts.
It can be ingested as simply as licking their paws after being outside for a walk. A dog might also lick the ground where these ice melt crystals are placed. Every dog is different, and I know from experience that some dogs will eat anything. I have seen dogs eat the dumbest things, even stuff that isn’t food.
I have a sheepadoodle and he’s quite picky. He only eats the good stuff. I guess I’m lucky because I know my dog would never eat toxic chemicals. Keep your eye on your dog at all times when you’re out for a walk with snow on the ground. Don’t allow him to sniff for too long in one area. Keep walking so he doesn’t have the chance to eat ice melt.
Consider buying shoes, boots, or socks for your dog. I prefer sock-like footwear for my dog. They provide the greatest amount of flexibility. I found shoes and boots too restrictive for my dog and the sizing was impossible. Paws have too much variety to it
Sodium chloride, commonly known as rock salt, is the most commonly used snow melt. It’s inexpensive and effective in temperatures as low as -6°C. However, it can be damaging to plants and animals, so it should be used with caution. Don’t be fooled at the fact it’s commonly used in snow melt products because it can cause sodium toxicosis in dogs, and if a dog were to ingest 4g/kg it would die.
It’s highly unlikely a dog is going to ingest that amount but the point it that sodium chloride as well as all other salts can be fatal, and also cause discomfort on their paws if the crystals dissolve while stuck to their paws.
Calcium chloride is an effective and reliable deicer, able to work in temperatures down to -15 degrees Fahrenheit. It is safe to use on most surfaces, making it a great choice for those looking to deice driveways, roads, and sidewalks. However, it is important to note the drawbacks of using calcium chloride, such as the potential to attract moisture and the relatively high cost. Alternatively, potassium chloride is a more affordable option that works in temperatures up to 25 degrees Fahrenheit, though it may cause corrosion on certain surfaces and is toxic to plants and animals.
Potassium Chloride is an off-white or white crystal that is often used as a deicing agent. It has a lower melting temperature than calcium chloride, which becomes effective at temperatures as low as 12 degrees Fahrenheit. It does not chemically attack concrete, and will not harm vegetation, leaving only a slight, white residue
Manufacturer’s suggest an application rate of 8 oz/yd. Potassium Chloride is an environmentally safe choice for deicing, and is a preferred option for many customers due to its low toxicity.
Potassium Chloride is not the most effective ice melting agent because it has a relatively high working temperature (25°F) and high eutectic point at (12.7°F). It’s average at best for melting snow and ice.
Ammonium-based products are generally more effective than sodium chloride, and are also less damaging to plants and animals. It is effective at lower temperatures, but can become corrosive when used in high concentrations.
Potassium Formate —
Potassium Formate is a relatively new product on the market, and is becoming increasingly popular due to its low environmental impact. It is effective at temperatures as low as -15°C, and is a safe alternative for pets, children, and the environment.
Magnesium chloride is a popular snow melt because it is effective at temperatures as low as -13°C and is much less corrosive than other products. It is also a safe alternative for pets, children and the environment.
Urea is a popular snow melt because it is effective at temperatures as low as -20°C, and is also less damaging to plants and animals. Urea is also approved for use around children and pets.
Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) —
Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is a newer snow melt product and is becoming increasingly popular due to its low environmental impact. It is effective at temperatures as low as -10°C, and is considered safe for use around children and pets.
Propylene Glycol —
Propylene glycol is an effective snow melt that can be used in temperatures as low as -50°C. It is also considered safe for use around children and pets, and has a low environmental impact.
Alternatives to Chloride/Salt Based Snow and Ice Melt:
Acetates and ammonium-based chemicals are both effective alternatives to salts and chlorides for melting snow and ice. Acetates include calcium acetate, magnesium acetate, potassium acetate, sodium acetate, and zinc acetate, while ammonium-based chemicals include ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, and ammonium chloride.
Acetates are generally less effective than salts and chlorides, but they are considered safe for the environment, vehicles, and other surfaces. Even though acetates are more mild than chlorides they can be used as a spray making them far easier to deliver but they’re not very effective on thick layers of snow or ice over ⅛-inches.
Ammonium-based chemicals are more effective than acetates, but still less effective than salts and chlorides. They also have the advantage of being less likely to cause damage to the environment, vehicles, or other surfaces.
Choosing the Best Snow and Ice Melt
When choosing a snow melt, it’s important to consider how you intend to use it. Ideally you choose the least destructive formula and if you have a dog and kids then you need to make sure you buy the formula that won’t harm either. Luckily we have a lot of options in 2023. Each product has unique properties that make it suitable for certain situations. However, it’s important to remember to use each product responsibly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safety for pets, children, and the environment. Make sure you read the safety data before you purchase your ice melt.
Any respectable brand will do proper testing on their snow and ice melt to ensure it’s safe, and effective.