Rock salt alternatives that actually work
When the ice, frost and snow hit, it can be all too easy to rush out and buy the nearest thing you can find to deice the driveway, pavement or road. After all, you are probably in a hurry and all you want to do is get your vehicle out safely, or prevent yourself, your visitors or the general public from slipping over on the treacherous conditions underfoot.
However, while many people automatically reach for the rock salt or Himalayan salt to speed up the rate of snow melting, there are, in fact, many other rock salt alternatives out there that are gentler on surfaces and safe to leave down for longer to work their magic.
Deicing products work by lowering the freezing point of water. Any existing ice that they come into contact with melts back into the water. They then prevent further ice from forming, making surfaces such as concrete, tarmac and metal safer and easier to walk and drive on in sub-zero temperatures.
As deicing products remain on the surface until they are blown away or washed off by melting ice or rain, it is important that they are as safe as possible to any humans or animals who may come into contact with them. They should also be gentle enough not to damage the surface itself or any vehicles that come into contact with the treated areas.
Rock salt can be very dangerous to animals when ingested, as it can cause their blood sodium concentration to rise above normal levels. This can lead to lethargy, thirst and kidney damage. Rock salt can also be absorbed through their paws and skin.
In a bid to protect their precious animals, many people are now seeking safer alternatives that will not harm pets. Rock salt and other salts can also pose a risk to children if they, too, ingest it by mistake, as well as cause damage to the roots and foliage of nearby plants during the ice or snow melting process.
Five Rock Salt Alternatives for Deicing
Owners of pets and small children needn’t worry, however, as there are alternatives to rock salt for deicing available that do not pose such risks. Many are organic, naturally sourced and easy to spread and remove after the cold snap has passed.
Eco-friendly rock salt alternatives
Choosing a salt-free product such as EcoGrit means that you can benefit from effective deicing that will not harm the wider environment. EcoGrit offers a safer, gentler removal solution that doesn’t contain rock salt or urea that can damage surfaces, flora and fauna. I, What’s more, it does all of this while remaining extremely effective at getting rid of unwanted ice, frost and snow.
This is a non-slip, easily affordable way to add some traction to an icy surface to prevent people, pets and vehicles from slipping and sliding in winter. Although putting down sand doesn’t actually melt the ice, it remains firmly in place once applied, so you don’t have to keep adding new layers. It is well worth keeping a bag of sand in the garage or boot of the car if weather forecasts are warning of icy conditions coming along.
The downsides of using sand on icy surfaces include the fact that it won’t melt away as EcoGrit will. This means that you are left with a load of sand to clear up or risk blocking the drains, once temperatures have risen again.
In a similar way to sand, gravel, grit and other types of crushed stone materials do an excellent job of adding traction to the ground to make it easier to navigate. This type of rock salt alternatives won’t actually melt the ice, but stone grits can be mixed with a deicing product to gain dual benefits from spreading a mix of materials onto the driveway, pavement or road.
Again, putting gravel down creates the problem of having to take it all back up again after it has done its job, or risk causing drainage problems. Loose stones underfoot can also increase skidding risks for people and vehicles even without ice.
Putting down a layer of straw onto an icy surface will help prevent slips and trips too, as the straw will add friction to help people stay upright as they walk along. It is organic, safe for children and pets and won’t hurt any plants or damage the concrete underneath. Straw can also be brushed away more easily than sand or gravel once the sub-zero weather subsides. However, disadvantages include the fact that straw can often be muddy or dusty, leaving messy residue behind.
In cases where snow has built upon a pavement or driveway, getting out there as quickly as possible with a shovel to clear a pathway can mitigate against much of the potential chaos that could be caused by leaving it undisturbed. If snow is left too long, it can freeze and turn into a dangerously slippery and uneven surface. If it starts to melt and then re-freezes, this can also cause problems.
This is a great way to get rid of snow if you are strong enough to wield the shovel and have enough time to do a thorough job. For an easier, less time-intensive method, consider applying a layer of EcoGrit to kick start the melting process quickly and effectively while you relax indoors with a hot cup of tea.
Dealing with pavements
Icy pavements are a common cause of winter accidents with people slipping over, skidding and generally finding it harder to stay upright when trying to walk along with them. However, while local government operating crews are responsible for winter maintenance and deicing, particularly treacherous or well-used sites, some people may think about clearing ice and snow from the pavements and surroundings around domestic properties or work buildings themselves.
There is no law in the UK to prevent you from clearing public sites and spaces in this way; however, you should be careful and responsible should you choose to do so using any rock salt alternatives for pavements. You should also take care of yourself to ensure that you don’t injure yourself while trying to clear the pavement.
Start early if you are going to clear any pavements, as it is far easier to remove freshly fallen snow before it has had a chance to freeze or become compacted by people walking on it. Never use hot water for snow or ice removal, as it will freeze itself if the temperatures are still at freezing or below and cause an even more dangerous slayer of ice to form.
Think about where you are going to put any snow that you have shovelled and make sure that it doesn’t block anyone else’s driveway or stop anyone from gaining access to the pavement or road. Take care not to fill or block drainage areas, such as gutters or drains when using rocksalt alternatives for pavements and don’t forget to pay attention to deicing steps, bridges and footpaths too.
Organic salt-free deicers
By choosing an organic salt-free deicer, you are helping to solve the problem of slippery ice sustainably and with an ecologically-friendly approach. Organic salt-free deicers offer a convenient, easy way to get rid of ice and are affordable and easy to get hold of.
It comes in sturdy bags for easy storage in the garage or shed. Keep a couple of bags in the boot of the car too, so that you are never stranded when away from home due to unexpected ice. They are far safer for animals and children too, and will not harm plants or trees as no salt will be absorbed into the surrounding soil following their use.
What is the lifetime for alternative rocksalts?
Alternatives to rock salt for deicing can be stored for years, work down to temperatures of minus 20 degrees C and ran remain effective for up to seven days once applied. You can add them before any ice forms too, as a preventative measure.
EcoGrit your way to safety this winter
EcoGrit offers a range of organic alternatives to rock salt for deicing, ranging from handheld shakers and spreaders containing ice melting granules to larger tubs of EcoGrit products, complete with a handy scoop for easy distribution and even the option to buy wholesale ice melt. Check out the product range now and get prepared for any icy conditions on the horizon.
Check out the range of Ice melt products Ecogrit has on offer: