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Benefits of Magnesium Chloride for Ice Melting

Benefits of Magnesium Chloride for Ice Melting

Justin Rollin

There’s no denying that property owners have a huge task when it snows. Clearing the snow and ice and creating safe conditions is an essential part of their role, especially in areas of the country that consistently get a lot of snow. While rock salt is still an incredibly popular ice melter, magnesium chloride flakes can also be used to safely remove snow.

What Is Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt?

Magnesium chloride is a naturally occurring compound. When it is in a commercial grade, it contains 34% chlorides and 18% magnesium. Magnesium chloride also comes in many forms, sizes, and shapes. For example, it can appear in the form of liquid, pellets, flakes, or pastilles. It is particularly appealing to use for ice melting as it has a low chemical impact. Its mild impact makes it ideal for use on most outdoor surfaces and vegetation versus other ice melt options.

Magnesium Chloride Pellets

Dead Sea MAG Rock Salt

Dead Sea MAG Rock Salt

Just as they sound, magnesium chloride pellets are spherical in shape and work well in commercial ice melting. They can easily be put through ice melt spreaders to reach a large surface area quickly. One thing to note about the pellet form is the fact that they often spread easily. In some situations, this can be an advantage and in other situations, a disadvantage if the pellets need to be contained to one area.

There are performance benefits to using magnesium chloride ice pellets as well. Their interface with snow and ice is more concentrated, resulting in more “bore” into the icy surface. This creates a brine that makes it easier to mechanically clear off the snow and ice, loosening the bond and clearing the surface.

How Magnesium Chloride Pellets Work

When put to the test, magnesium chloride melts ice quickly and efficiently. This is due to the hygroscopic properties of magnesium chloride, meaning it absorbs moisture. By absorbing the surrounding moisture, the pellets force the ice melter to dissolve into a brine at a faster rate, triggering the surrounding ice to melt. The fact that it leaves minimal residue makes the clean-up process even easier (or non-existent).

These pellets can effectively melt ice at temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit, which is notably lower than other environmentally friendly ice melt products. It also works incredibly fast to clear the ice and snow. When comparing magnesium chloride with rock salt on a 21 degree Fahrenheit day, the magnesium chloride pellets melted twice as much ice as the rock salt.

Magnesium Chloride Flakes

Magnesium chloride flakes are another popular method of commercial ice melting. Using these flakes means there is significantly less chloride pollution and runoff compared with sodium chloride, calcium chloride, and potassium chloride. It’s especially ideal to use magnesium flakes when you mix them with other dry products that can manage snow and ice—think rock salt, sand, and other abrasive materials. The flakes are also ideal for blending into a brine-like solution.

When comparing magnesium chloride flakes with the pellets, the flakes are typically the more cost-efficient option. However, you’ll want to use pellets in cases that you need to spread straight magnesium chloride onto the ground. Many people choose to use a mixture of magnesium chloride with a blend of rock salt to remove ice and snow.

Aim to use magnesium chloride flakes in front of building entrances as they won’t roll into different directions. Depending on how much product you use and the severity of the weather, you also may be able to use magnesium chloride for more than one event.

How Magnesium Chloride Flakes Work

Magnesium Chloride Flakes

Once the magnesium chloride flakes are distributed, they absorb the moisture and create a brine very quickly. This results in ice melting and makes snow removal that much easier. These flakes melt ice at the same speed of calcium chloride ice melt without any of the negative side effects on the environment. There is also minimal (or even nonexistent) residue, making cleanup after the inclement weather a breeze.

The flakes are considered to be high-performance de-icers, easily melting ice in temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit. Just as the magnesium chloride pellets were tested in 21 degrees Fahrenheit weather, the flakes melted twice as much ice as the rock salt did.

Benefits of Magnesium Chloride for Ice Melting

There are many magnesium chloride benefits:

Slow Attack Rate

Many traditional ice melts use harsh chemicals that corrode pavements when they are overly applied or used in the wrong way. Magnesium chloride, on the other hand, is known for its gentler properties, rarely causing any damage to the property or vegetation. 

Minimal Damage

In general, magnesium chloride is known to be less harmful to its surroundings as long as it’s used as directed. This is due to the fact that it is a naturally occurring mineral and known to be environmentally friendly. The ice will melt slowly and leave behind minimal damage to surface areas. Due to its safe nature, it is often used on natural stones such as bluestone walkways, tile entrances, and granite steps as it won’t cause damage. 

Minimal Residue

Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride melt ice at the same rate, but the fact that it leaves behind minimal residue makes the cleanup process that much faster and easier. The magnesium chloride will easily melt into a bring and begin to break down the ice.
Works in Freezing Temperatures
Property owners can use magnesium chloride in temperatures as low as -5 degrees Fahrenheit. Other traditional forms of de-icers aren’t capable of melting ice at this temperature.

Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt Cautions

Despite the many magnesium chloride benefits, there are also cautions of which you should be aware. 

  • It is only 48% active, meaning it has more water than it does magnesium chloride. It could become diluted and ineffective over time. It dissolves quickly as calcium chloride and loses its melting capabilities after a short period of time.
  • It has a higher cost compared with other ice melters such as rock salt. If you have a large amount of snow and ice to remove, it can add up.
  • It isn’t quite as effective in cold temperatures (below -5 degrees Fahrenheit). If you need a de-icer in cooler temperatures, you’ll need another solution.
Super Melt with Defrost®

 Super Melt with Defrost®

Generally speaking, using magnesium chloride to remove ice is an excellent option if you have a small amount of ice and snow on your property. We recommend using a different ice melt formula for extreme weather conditions and more expansive surface areas. 

Stock Up on Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt with Ninja De-Icer!

At Ninja De-Icer, we make it easy to stock up on magnesium chloride to keep your property safe. Browse our selection to explore all of our products, or get in touch with us directly by calling 920-354-8253.