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Beet Juice for Snow Removal: Why It’s Not a Good Idea

Beet Juice for Snow Removal: Why It’s Not a Good Idea

Justin Rollin

Many snow removal companies use salt brine additives to make it more effective to melt ice. In fact, millions of gallons of liquid deicers are used each winter to de-ice roads and to keep people safe. There are many different options available and if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow and ice, you might have heard about using beet juice for melting ice and snow.

When the beet juice mixes with ice crystals, it helps to lower the temperatures below the freezing point and makes the calcium chloride less corrosive. Although it is more eco-friendly, is this mixture a long-term and effective solution that can ultimately replace road salt?

What Is Beet Juice Ice Melt?

Beet juice ice melt is a mixture of red or white beets mixed with salt. Together, it makes a brine that is sticky in nature and helps to reduce the needed salt concentration that runs into waterways. The idea is that the particles from the beet juice help the salty water stick to the road and make it easier to remove ice.

This solution contains natural sugar from the beets to help lower the melting point of ice. When salt melts at approximately 15 degrees Fahrenheit, the sugar molecules reduce the ice's freezing point, meaning ice won't be able to form unless it's incredibly cold.

How Does Beet Juice Melt Ice?

beet juice for ice

Beet juice when added to salt brine helps to reduce the ice's freezing point. But to better understand how this mixture works, it's important to first understand how sodium chloride works as a deicer in general. Rock salt is often used on paved surfaces including commercial properties and roads to lower the freezing point of liquid water nearby. In order to accomplish this, the salt must come into contact with a thin film of water that covers the ice.

This creates a cost-effective brine to help reduce the freezing point of the ice and starts to melt the ice that has built up on parking lots and the streets. This process is used as often as needed on an icy surface to make it safe for both humans and vehicles.

To better envision the process, consider a cup of plain water and a cup of water that has salt in it. Once the temperature is lowered to the point of freezing, the water will start to develop ice crystals. The saltwater, or in this case, the beet brine water uses molecules from the salt that move around and don't impact the entropy of contents within the cup. Before the salty water can freeze, it needs to get colder.

When Should I Use Beet Juice for Snow and Ice?

Beet juice for ice melting should ideally be used before it's too late in the process. For example, if you're trying to treat an icy driveway or sidewalk after there is already a thin layer of ice, you won't be able to reap the full benefits of using a proactive ice melt.

Because of this downside, it's important to use your ice melt before the ice has a chance to form in the first place. If you notice that pure water starts to form on your surfaces and you see that the weather forecast shows a stark drop in temperature following a snowstorm, you'll want to apply the beet melt.

Is Beet Juice Brine Really a Cheap Option?

beet juice for snow removal

As you can imagine, using salt as the only product to tackle your inclement weather during the winter can quickly get expensive, especially in places that get heavy snowfall such as in Midwestern and Canadian cities. This is why people mix traditional salt brine with non-organic additives and homemade deicers as it is often cheaper compared to the alternative.

For example, many people were visiting our website looking for an additive for liquid de-icers only to see that the additives we were offering were more expensive compared with one gallon of beet juice. One gallon of beet juice and one gallon of additives don't compare in cost as beet juice is significantly more affordable. However, one thing that many people don't realize is that the concentration of beet juice needed to achieve the same melting result is significantly higher compared with using a calcium or magnesium-based additive to your salt brine. Even though you are paying less per gallon for the beet juice additive, you end up spending more in the long run as more of the product is needed to get the desired melting power.

Beet Juice Downsides

Using beet juice for snow removal or to melt ice can be effective and friendly for the environment, but there are a few downsides that you should consider before using this as your tried-and-true method. For one, it could leave behind a red or light brown stain on any surface it is applied to. Beets are incredibly colorful but with that being said, they won't leave behind a permanent stain or cause long-term property damage. You can also use white beets to avoid this problem altogether.

Beet juice is also quite sticky. Though that means it sticks to roads well, it also tends to get stuck to people’s shoes and subsequently brought into buildings and to create a mess.

In 2014, National Geographic also reported that mixing beet juice into your solution also means that sugar is involved, and this can wash off into the waterways and attract germs in the process. These germs can take oxygen away from creatures such as fish and others in need.

What's Better: Additives or Beet Juice?

beets for snow removal

When comparing additives versus beet juice during the winter, ultimately, we recommend either a calcium or magnesium based additive as they are more effective and are overall cheaper than using beet juice as a deicer. Even though using beet juice brine might seem like an environmentally friendly alternative, as we mentioned above, it can in fact have negative effects on the environment due to the sugar content that it contains.

Here are some facts that you can use as key takeaways from this debate:

  • A much higher concentration of beet juice is necessary to achieve the same as a magnesium or calcium-based additive.
  • Beet juice has a lot of sugar, which can affect water sources and wildlife.
  • Due to potential for staining or being tracked into buildings, beet juice might not be the best option.
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If you're looking for a company that can provide you with the best quality deicing products to keep your property safe at an affordable price, we encourage you to reach out to our team at Ninja De-Icer. We offer liquid de-icers and other effective deicing products including liquid additives to help you stay ahead of dangerous weather conditions. To learn more about how we can help, we encourage you to get a quote from our team today.