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What Is CMA Ice Melt and How Does it Work?

What Is CMA Ice Melt and How Does it Work?

Justin Rollin

Anyone familiar with commercial or residential snow and ice maintenance, like a public works or facility manager or a snow removal company, knows that in order to properly care for your commercial property, it’s essential to know which de-icer to use when. Calcium magnesium acetate ice melt, or CMA, is a popular choice with many benefits. 

What Is Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) Ice Melt?

So, what is CMA ice melt? CMA ice melt is granulated calcium magnesium acetate. It’s a combination of dolomitic lime and acetic acid that makes an environmentally-friendly and less corrosive alternative to road salt and liquid de-icers.

It is typically used in a solid form that is then spread on roads, pavement, and other surfaces like other de-icers. Also, like traditional sodium chloride salt, CMA works in freezing temperatures but has many additional properties that set it apart, like its minimal negative effect on the environment, its low corrosiveness, and its residual action.

How Does Calcium Magnesium Acetate Work?

CMA ice melt is unique compared to other de-icers because it works by interfering with snow and ice particles’ ability to adhere to one another, as well as roads and other paved surfaces. Unlike other salts, calcium magnesium acetate doesn’t form a salt brine, instead, it prevents a compact snow pack from forming. This serves to keep the snow light and dry, which in turn improves traction, stops the ice or snow from bonding to the pavement surface, and makes it easier to remove the snow or ice with a plow or shovel.

Features of CMA Ice Melt

CMA Needs to Be Applied Early

Calcium magnesium snow melt requires an early application for the most effective performance. Before snow or ice precipitation, applying CMA liberally will help ensure a residual layer of it remains after snow plows, and any traffic removes or displaces the snow. As the snow or ice continues, application rates can be reduced.

CMA Works Differently

As Ninja De-Icer discussed above, compared to other salts and de-icers, calcium magnesium acetate ice melt works differently because it affects how snow adheres to paved surfaces.

Low Corrosion Rate

calcium magnesium acetate ice melt

CMA de-icer is the corrosion standard for assessing other de-icers. Often said to be as corrosive as common tap water, it exhibits low corrosion rates on metals used for bridges, garages, roads, and other metal infrastructure. CMA can even be used to treat structures contaminated by chloride to help slow their corrosion rate.

Residual Effect

CMA doesn’t create a salt brine, meaning it won’t run off of surfaces like other products. Thanks to this, fewer applications are required during and between snowfall. Anecdotal evidence shows that pavement and roads treated with CMA will have anti-icing properties during subsequent precipitation in freezing temperatures.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate Environmental Effects

Some calcium magnesium acetate environmental effects include:

  • Soils: Biodegradable in soil. Increases soil permeability and has no adverse effects on soil strength or compaction.
  • Vegetation: It can stimulate roadside plant growth but should have little to no adverse effects.
  • Water: It’s unlikely to reach groundwater, but calcium and magnesium can increase water hardness. In surface water, it can deplete oxygen but won’t stimulate algae growth.
  • Aquatic life: Will not affect the food chain up to 1000 ppm. It is less toxic to trout and trout eggs than salt is.
  • Air pollution: It may decrease sand use and resulting particulate emissions.
  • Human/Animal life: This can be a mild eye and skin irritant but is essentially non-toxic.


CMA ice melt has some benefits over other de-icers, particularly its interaction with the environment. If you’re looking for effective, high-quality CMA salt, Ninja De-Icer is the way to go! Browse our wide selection of de-icers, including CMA, on the Ninja De-Icer website, or get a quote today to discuss your de-icing needs.