Different types of Ice Melt & What to Choose.

"Active Ingredients in Ice Melt

A hand holding a scoop pouring ice melt.

The type of ice melt you choose should be based on several factors, including average outdoor temperature and if it'll come in contact with plants, animals or children. Here are the most common ice melt active ingredients:

Sodium Chloride (NaCl)

  • Also known as ice melt salt/rock salt
  • Melts ice and snow by lowering the freezing point of water
  • Helps keep surfaces dry
  • Affordable
  • Provides traction
  • Corrosive and may damage concrete, wood and plants

Calcium Chloride (CaCl2)

  • Absorbs moisture from surroundings
  • Creates heat as it turns to liquid
  • Melts snow faster than sodium chloride (rock salt)
  • Concrete-safe
  • Works well in extreme cold
  • Can burn skin and harm pets

Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2)

  • Needs to be applied in larger amounts compared to calcium chloride
  • Less corrosive (compared to rock salt)
  • Considered by many to be a pet-safe ice melt option
  • Easy cleanup

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)

  • Less corrosive (compared to rock salt)
  • Usually sold in liquid form
  • Biodegradable
  • Concrete-safe ice melt

Ice melt products are often a blend of two or more of these ingredients. Typically, the effectiveness of ice melt is reduced as the temperature drops. Be sure to refer to the product label to see if that ice melt will work in your particular climate."


Credit source "Lowes.com"