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Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt vs Rock Salt (Sodium Chloride)

Magnesium Chloride Ice Melt vs Rock Salt (Sodium Chloride)

Justin Rollin

As the winter season is still nearing its end, snow plowing companies, facility service managers from municipalities, and commercial and property managers across the Midwest continue to search for the best salt to use to melt snow. When making a decision on magnesium chloride vs rock salt, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons of each, as well as your particular needs.

In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits and drawbacks of sodium chloride and magnesium chloride ice melt so you can make an informed decision for your property.

What Is Rock Salt 

Rock salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl), is the most common salt used for melting ice and snow, due to its affordability and availability. One of its greatest drawbacks, however, is its reduced effectiveness in low temperatures, because it’s endothermic and draws heat from its surroundings to create the ice-melting brine.

Considering the rock salt melting temperature is about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, colder temperatures are not conducive to rock salt use. Also, rock salt is corrosive and often environmentally unfriendly.

The best practice is to use treated rock salt instead, a more effective solution thanks to its increased performance, lower corrosion rate, and safer environmental use.

Pros of Rock Salt for Ice Melting

Consider the following benefits of using sodium chloride over magnesium chloride for melting ice and snow:

  • Rock salt is readily available and easily accessible.
  • Rock salt adds traction to pavements, roads, and other surfaces.
  • Using rock salt for snow is more affordable.
  • Sodium chloride works best at temperatures ranging from 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit but has the power to melt ice at temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cons of Rock Salt for Ice Melting

Consider the following disadvantages of sodium chloride:

  • Rock salt doesn’t perform well in negative temperatures.
  • Sodium chloride can be corrosive to metal and concrete.
  • Rock salt can be an irritant to animal paws.
  • Unlike magnesium chloride salt, sodium chloride salt is not environmentally friendly when used in larger quantities. It can dehydrate vegetation and change the pH of soil. Be sure to follow the instructions and specifications from the manufacturer.

What Is Magnesium Chloride

cma ice melt

Is magnesium chloride a salt? Yes, actually, it is! But it differs from other salts in a few ways. First, magnesium chloride de-icer has high water content, meaning it more easily forms a brine, even in colder temperatures. However, this also means that it is diluted, and therefore more must be applied to maintain the same melting capabilities.

Second, it is significantly less corrosive than other ice-melting salts, making it safer to use for infrastructure. Lastly, magnesium chloride is much more environmentally friendly, creating a safer environment for pets and surrounding plant life.

Pros of Magnesium Chloride for Ice Melting

A few advantages of magnesium chloride to consider when debating rock salt vs magnesium chloride:

  • Magnesium chloride can perform effectively in temperatures below freezing.
  • Magnesium chloride is fast-acting, absorbing moisture and forming brine for melting quickly.
  • Magnesium chloride doesn’t leave a lot of residue behind, which is helpful for places with heavy foot traffic.
  • Magnesium chloride is safer for pets and plant life, and is less corrosive, especially when coated with CMA.

Cons of Magnesium Chloride for Ice Melting

Lastly, when debating magnesium chloride vs sodium chloride ice melt, keep in mind the few disadvantages of magnesium chloride:

  • Magnesium chloride is more expensive than rock salt.
  • Due to the quick dilution of the magnesium chloride brine solution thanks to its high water content, additional applications are required, which isn’t the case for rock salt. This can also make it more costly, as more and more ice melt will be needed.
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So, Which Do you Choose for your Commercial Property?

So, now the question is: do you use sodium chloride (rock salt) or magnesium chloride as ice melt for your commercial property? The answer is that it depends! To help you make the best decision, consult the professionals at Ninja De-Icer. Not to mention, if you’ve been wondering where to buy magnesium chloride salt that is high quality and affordable, Ninja-De-Icer is the way to go.