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Winter is coming to Northeastern Ohio. It will be here sooner than you expect, and you need to start stocking up on ice removal products now, unless you have a snow removal service to do the job for you. Even then, you should have some on hand, just in case. The next time you head to the store to buy either rock salt or ice melt, there are some basic things that you need to know, including the differences between these two products.

What is Rock Salt?

To put it simply, rock salt is sodium chloride, which is the chemical name for salt. It’s also known as halite. This material is a bit different from the salt that you find on your dining room table, as it’s less refined. It works by digging into the surface of the ice, where it forms with the melted water to form a brine. Brine has a lower freezing point than standard ice, so it not only melts the ice that has formed on the ground, but it prevents new ice from forming. It also helps increase your traction on slippery surfaces, because of the chunkiness of the rock salt. The pros to rock salt are its effectiveness, as well as the fact that it’s inexpensive. However, it’s dangerous to pets, as it can wreak havoc on their digestive systems, and it can even harm plant life if it’s allowed to accumulate in garden areas.

What About Ice Melt?

This product is slightly similar to rock salt, as they both contain sodium chloride and are known for their effectiveness when fighting ice. However, ice melt is chemically different, as it also contains calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and potassium chloride. It works in a manner that’s similar to rock salt, where it mixes with water to form a brine, although it also produces a chemical heat. This makes it more effective than rock salt, as that chemical heat definitely takes care of any ice that has accumulated on the ground. Ice melt is also more pet friendly, especially if it’s coated in calcium magnesium acetate. On the downside, it does cost a bit more.

Hopefully this has cleared up the mysteries surrounding these two winter necessities. If you have any additional questions, please call us at 440-236-9000 or fill out the contact form on our website.