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Anti-Icing Winter Maintenance Strategies

Anti-Icing Winter Maintenance Strategies

Justin Rollin

Unsafe roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and any other surfaces pose a dangerous risk to everyone. Good snow and ice management, of public and private areas or facilities, begins with anti-icing prior to the inclement weather.

Anti-icing is the first line of defense in the protection of drivers and pedestrians during the harsh winter months. For businesses offering snow and ice management services, there are many factors to keep in mind like safety, environmental impact, and the effectiveness of their methods.

Anti-Icing Approach 

Anti-Icing Approach

The anti-icing approach is the process of applying the protective material before the snow or ice storm arrives. The material forms a barrier that is essentially a bond-breaker between the snow or ice and the surface it’s applied to. It lowers the chances of ice forming and bonding to the pavement surface, making later snow removal easier and more effective.

Anti-icing saves valuable time as the snow is cleared off more quickly, reducing the chances of dangerous situations. Also, when the snow is cleared away, there will be a bare surface underneath, as the snow or ice will not have stuck to the pavement. The Winter Parking Lot and Sidewalk Maintenance Manual compares it to putting spray oil on a pan to prevent your food sticking to it.

Liquids are the superior choice for anti-icing over solids. Liquids stay on the surface, while dry, solid materials might scatter and be displaced before the snow even falls. In order to maintain areas of friction but also have the protective layer between the pavement and the snow, the liquid material should be applied in a wet-dry pattern.

Anti-icing is not applicable for all surfaces and weather conditions. However, using the anti-icing approach would be a great way for a snow removal business to stay ahead of the competition.

Do's and Don't of Anti-icing 

Anti-icing is one of the most fundamental snow and ice management techniques. Below you will find some established practices to ensure success when anti-icing and some practices to avoid.


  • Study anti-icing application rate guidelines and apply anti-icing chemicals in accordance with those guidelines.
  • Use stream nozzles to maintain some dry, non-slippery pavement between sprayed areas.
  • First try anti-icing in areas with low traffic to ensure it works as desired.
  • Prioritize scheduling applications on critical areas in case of conditions and temperature that could produce dangerous frost or black ice.
  • Determine if the conditions predicted warrant spot-applications on curves, intersections, and hills.
  • Use anti-icing chemicals appropriate for the temperature range of the pavement.


  • If rain is predicted, do not apply as the rain will wash it away.
  • If there is still residual material, do not re-apply. The effect of the anti icing application can last up to 5 days after application, assuming traffic and rain do not dilute it.
  • Do not apply too much material as the pavement may become slippery and potentially cause crashes.
  • Do not apply under blowing conditions and be wary of areas with wind issues.
  • Be mindful not to over apply MgCl2 or CaCl2.
  • Fan spray is not recommended. If you do use fan spray, be sure to apply very lightly.
  • Do not apply MgCl2 or CaCl2 to warm pavement (above 28° F pavement temperature). It can become slippery and greasy.

Best Anti-Icing Tips for Commercial Property

Environmental Impact of Anti-Icing Products

In the case of heavy frosts, anti-icing is the best solution.

  • Less is more. Over-applying will cause a dry surface to be wet and create slippery and potentially dangerous conditions.
  • Traffic disperses liquids so spray the traffic lanes and the liquid will make its way to the parking areas on the drivers’ tires
  • To avoid over-applying in a high foot traffic area, don’t spray service roads in front of buildings. Instead, spray the traffic lanes and back service roads and let traffic do the work for you, spreading the liquids near the buildings.
  • Do not anti-ice on a consistent schedule (like weekly or bi weekly). Only anti-ice when the weather indicates the necessity.
  • If a light freezing drizzle or front are anticipated, make sure to apply as early as possible.
  • Liquids are the most efficient for anti-icing. Pretreated or pre-wet materials require more to be used than with liquids, which will be a waste for your business. Also, the pre-wet granular solids are displaced more easily and don’t stay in place like liquids. If you do use pre-wet granular solids, apply at a very low rate and right before the snow arrives.
  • When applying anti ice solution to service roads on hills, only apply on the top half the hill. The traffic will move it down the hill and potentially dangerous situations will be avoided as the bottom of the hill will be less slippery.

Environmental Impact of Anti-Icing Products

Anti-icing is considered one of the most environmentally friendly approaches to snow removal for a few reasons. Anti-icing requires comparatively less material than deicing to work effectively. Less material needed and used leads to less water pollution.

Also, with anti-icing less salt is used and salt can be extremely damaging to streams, lakes, and groundwater. Overall, anti-icing is the most environmentally safe method for snow and ice management.

Benefits of Anti-Icing Approach

There are a few benefits to anti-icing over other surface management techniques, like salt. First, anti-icing reduces the need for abrasives on roads, decreasing the environmental impact. For customers, deciding to use the anti-icing approach will save them time and money because their surfaces will not be damaged. Also, anti-icing is the proactive approach.

Anti-icing works as the snow falls, rather than after, effectively minimizing the chance of ice formation directly on the pavement. It also reduces the time spent restoring roads to a dry condition. Finally, and most importantly, anti-icing leads to safer driving conditions, lowering accident rates and keeping the community better protected.

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When applied safely and effectively, anti-icing is the best way to proactively prepare for impending snow and ice storms. It is environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and quick to apply.

If you’re looking for a reliable and high quality supplier of anti-icing materials, look no further than Ninja De-Icer. We can help you upgrade your snow and ice removal business and get a step ahead of the competition. Get a quote today to get started!