Deicing Alternatives To Rock Salt

18 September 2017
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Blog


There as been a growing number of green deicer liquids available on the market. Based on the current trends, it is likely that deicer liquids based on rock salt will not be legal in a few years. Sodium chloride has been used traditionally because it is cheap. However, it is also corrosive to metal and concrete and damaging to plants. Potassium chloride is even more harmful to plants. There are fortunately other options that are available. 


One of the main parts of a deicing fluid is the freezing point depressant. There are also several additives that can be added to deicing fluids. Benzotriazole is sometimes added as a corrosion inhibitor and a flame retardant. Non-ionic surfactants are sometimes added in order to reduce the surface tension. Triethanolamine is often added as a pH buffer, which allows for the pH to be kept at a constant value. Colored dyes are added in order to make it easier to identify certain chemicals. Polymers are added to increase viscoelasticity.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is not only better for the environment than rock salt, but it is also more effective. It gives off heat, which can help accelerate the melting of the ice. The calcium chloride creates brine more quickly upon contact with ice. Also, the shape of calcium chloride causes it to penetrate more quickly.


Urea is less harmful to plants than rock salt. It is synthesized from natural gas, not from urine. This is most often used in areas where chlorides cannot be tolerated. However, it can still be harmful to plants of used excessively. When used in lesser quantities, it can actually make grass greener. However, urea can be ineffective at lowering the temperature of ice. 

Calcium Magnesium Acetate

A newer option is calcium magnesium acetate. This is an agent that is free of salt. It is created using acetic acid and dolomite limestone. It causes very little damage to plants, concrete and other materials. It is the best option in locations that are environmentally sensitive. This deicer is usually used in a solid form and is spread over a surface. It is effective at the same temperature as rock salt. However, it can also be applied in liquid form. The liquid form is applied ahead of time to prevent ice and snow from bonding to a surface. Therefore, the dry version is more suitable for when the ice and snow are already present.

Contact a deicer supplier, like GMCO Corporation, for more help.