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Treated Rock Salt: What it is and Why You Should Use It

Treated Rock Salt: What it is and Why You Should Use It

Justin Rollin

Bulk rock salt is already a workhorse. It’s effective at a wide range of operating temperatures and can make quick work of snow and ice. However, it has clear limits and, at a commercial level, will fall short under an array of conditions; times when clients will need you to pull through.

Treated rock salt is a great answer to the problem of performance. It’s a better product in every way, made with materials you should already be familiar with as a snow and ice removal company, and is less problematic than pure rock salt.

What is Treated Rock Salt?

To put it simply, treated rock salt is the same old rock salt you know and love but with a few additives to bolster its performance. Typically, treated road salt is conventional sodium chloride rock salt with an organic-based performance enhancer (OBPE), magnesium chloride (or another complementary chemical), and a dye additive.

This combination of materials changes your road salt into something faster, stronger, more visible, and even less corrosive than pure rock salt.

Treated Rock Salt

Varieties of Treated Rock Salt

Many products on the market can be considered “treated rock salt”. One such product we sell is IceBan, among others. However, all of these products have different proportions of three main properties, which will dictate how they act once you’ve applied them to a parking lot or sidewalk.

Corrosion Inhibitors: reduces the corrosive action typical to rock salt

Viscosity Modifiers: the higher the viscosity, the less will leak out of your sprayer and less of your product will wash away from surfaces

Biodegradable Colorant: adding a dye to treated rock salt increases its visibility as well as the product’s application accuracy

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Pre-Wetted Treatments

Rock salt that has been “pre-wetted” is usually mixed with one of three liquids; magnesium chloride, enhanced liquid calcium, or sodium chloride. A pre-wetted solution acts exactly as you might think, by readily adhering to the pavement and staying in place once it’s applied.

Moreover, even your dry rock salt requires moisture to do what it needs to do. Luckily, it finds that moisture through the snow and ice it’s meant to melt away. However, since pre-wetted rock salt is already full of moisture it gets to work much faster.

To summarize the effectiveness of pre-wetted rock salt; you use less because you’re more accurate and effective with your application, it sticks to the surface, and it works faster because the inherent moisture within the product has already activated its chemical properties.

Pre-Wetted Treatments

The Perks of Using Treated Rock Salt Over Traditional Rock Salt

We’ve already hinted at the perks of treated rock salt over traditional rock salt but let’s spell them out. If rock salt is a workhorse, then treated rock salt is the cavalry.


Treated rock salt increases the melting point of snow and ice, thus allowing you to use the product in freezing temperatures that would otherwise be too cold for traditional rock salt. The addition of OBPEs and magnesium chloride (or any of the other common additives) allows this performance boost to happen.


When you use less you end up saving more. The more you can do to increase your efficiency and accuracy means you will inevitably save money down the road. Cost-savings at a commercial level are exponential. As a commercial-level snow and ice removal business, you should want to run as tight a ship as possible.

Less Environmental Impact

OBPEs act to increase the performance of treated rock salt while also reducing the inherent corrosiveness of rock salt. Plus, rock salt treated with magnesium chloride (the primary component of many fertilizers) will be a bit easier on the flora and fauna of your clients’ properties.

Beyond that, when you use less of anything you are reducing your footprint on the environment. When you’re introducing chemicals into the ground, less is always more.

It’s Time to Call in the Calvary

Treated rock salt should be part of your arsenal, period. It’s a strategic way to increase the effectiveness of your business in ways your clients will notice. Most of all, it’s a long-term means of saving money and the environment, even if just by a little. Get a quote!