Every Canadian knows how much of a hassle snow can be. While the first snowfall can be beautiful, the fluffy flakes eventually become a heavy blanket on the ground, resulting in the need for snow removal. As winter wears on, shovelling snow becomes a bothersome task, as we bundle up and work to keep our driveways and walkways clear. As freezing temperatures and winter begin to factor in, snow begins to get packed down, thus becoming slippery and unsafe.

Fortunately, as we have had our fair share of snow and ice, we know a few methods in which we can reduce the effectiveness of ice, thus allowing our pathways to be more safe and secure. One such method that is tried and true is ice melt, also known as ice salt. Both individuals and professional snow removal companies, such as Economy Snow Removal, utilize this resource to ensure their community members don’t slip and fall on the snow and ice. But is there a particular salt worth investing in? Let’s determine whether one salt stands out from the rest by exploring our options below.

What Are The Different Types Of Salt?

There are six main types of salt that are used as ice melt. Many brands actually opt to use a combination of two or more salts in their ice melt, allowing the pros that come with each type to far outweigh the cons. Let’s take a look at the six different types of salt.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is a popular option in colder climates, as it is able to react quickly to the snow, even in -40 degree Celsius temperatures. The main downside of this salt is that it is hard on the grass and other plants, which can be affected when the snow is shovelled onto the grass and eventually melts. Therefore, try to limit the amount of salt you use in more residential areas where there is more grass around.

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride is a great option for any dog owners, as it is less harmful to pets. Additionally, it is more environmentally friendly and is able to lower water’s freezing point, thus decreasing the likelihood of ice forming. The main downside is that it too can damage plants, as well as concrete and asphalt.

Potassium Chloride

Potassium chloride is another alternative for pet owners, as it too is safe for animals. However, it tends to be less effective than magnesium chloride, as it only works around freezing temperatures and warmer, while still offering the downside of damaging the grass.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate

Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is a less corrosive option when compared to salts with chloride in them, which is, therefore, gentler on the surrounding grass and any animals that pass by. However, it too has limited effectiveness, only working around freezing temperatures and above.


Also known as carbonyl diamide, urea is the last main option for pet owners and those concerned about their impact on their environment. However, if those are your concerns, it may just be easier to skip the salt altogether, as this option is not strong at de-icing.

Rock Salt

Rock salt is a solid go-to if you’re looking for a quick, easy, and inexpensive fix. However, it is damaging to most surfaces, lethal to animals, and ineffective in colder temperatures (also known as January in Canada). Therefore, while it’ll work in a pinch and might save someone from slipping, it’s best to explore other options if you have the money and selection to choose from.

So What’s The Best Type Of Salt?

Ultimately, that answer is up to you. As you may have observed by reading the above descriptions, each salt has its own strengths and weaknesses. By exploring ice melt brands that combine the most desirable qualities that you’re looking for, you’re likely to find one that will best suit your needs.

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