Sidewalk and driveway ice melt have come a long way since the only option was a shovelful of rock salt. But while rock salt remains the most economical option, but it can be tough on the hands as well as the lawn. Wondering which ice melt options will fit your needs?
Ice melters work by altering the freezing temperature of the surrounding snow and ice. For instance, rock salt will allow water to keep a liquid state down to 15° Fahrenheit. So if you live where the temperature drops below that, you still need an ice melter that works. Look on the bag for its “Maximum Freezing Point,” the lowest temperature at which it will turn ice to a liquid. Or play it safe and buy a bag of Calcium Chloride, which will continue to work down to -47°F.
Do you want to save your lawn?
Ice melters work because they all contain various salts. Which, while great for clearing your walkways, can create runoff and dehydrate your grass, shrubs, trees and garden. So it is important to only use as much ice melter as you need to, and to select one that is vegetation-friendly. The following ice melters will not damage your greenery when used as directed: Safe Step®, Landscaper’s Choice® and Magnesium Chloride.
Do you need a corrosion inhibitor?
Ice melters can corrode metal. If you want to maintain your car, iron railings, gates or metal stairways you’ll want an ice melter with an included corrosion inhibitor. It can’t prevent rusting entirely, but it will slow it down. With two corrosion inhibitors, Landscaper’s Choice® is one of the least corrosive ice melters available.
Do you want an anti-caking agent?
Maybe you don’t use ice melter all that often, but when you do, you expect it to be ready to use. It’s frustrating to reach into a bag expecting flakes or granules and discovering your ice melter has become a solid lump. If you’d like to prevent this happening again, buy an ice melter that doesn’t cake (or that includes an anti-caking agent). Try Safe Step® or Landscaper’s Choice® for ice melters that won’t brick up on you.