De-Icing Roads: What Materials and Products Work Best?

Every winter, icy roads can become a major problem for cities and towns across the globe. Even those that experience mild winters need to be prepared for icy roads, as sudden drops in temperature can cause dangerous conditions. For this reason, it’s important to know which materials and products work best for de-icing roads. Let’s take a look at some of the best options available.

Sodium Chloride (Rock Salt)

Sodium chloride is by far the most common de-icing material used on roads. Also known as rock salt, sodium chloride works by lowering the freezing point of water, making it difficult for ice to form or remain in place.

It is relatively inexpensive and easy to use; however, it can be damaging to concrete and steel structures if used too frequently or in excessive amounts over time. Additionally, because of its corrosive properties, it can damage vehicles if left on the road surface after snow has melted.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)

CMA is a deicer made from calcium magnesium acetate salts that is derived from acetic acid and limestone or dolomite ores. It works similarly to sodium chloride in that it lowers the freezing point of water; however, there are several advantages to using CMA instead of rock salt.

For example, CMA does not corrode metal surfaces like rock salt does and is safer for aquatic life when it runs off into nearby bodies of water. Additionally, CMA does not leave behind white residue like rock salt does; rather it will generally disappear completely once temperatures rise above freezing.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is an effective deicer in cold temperatures—it begins working immediately upon contact with ice and has been shown to be more effective than other traditional materials such as rock salt at temperatures below -10°F (-23°C). One downside of calcium chloride is that it can be quite expensive compared to other materials; however, its effectiveness makes up for its cost in many cases.

Additionally, while calcium chloride isn’t nearly as environmentally friendly as CMA or potassium acetate solutions, it still causes less environmental damage than traditional salts like rock salt do when applied correctly and at recommended dosages.

Calcium chloride is a compound that has a wide range of applications. From snow and ice removal on roads to contributing to the texture of foods, this chemical is certainly versatile. But what exactly is it, and how does it work? Calcium chloride is a white or colorless solid that is highly soluble in water. It is made up of calcium and chlorine, and when dissolved in water, it releases heat.

This exothermic reaction makes calcium chloride great for de-icing roads and sidewalks. It can also be used to dry wet materials, as it absorbs moisture from the air. Additionally, the compound plays a role in the production of cheese, as it helps to firm up the curd and give it a desirable texture. All in all, calcium chloride is a fascinating substance with a multitude of uses.

Potassium Acetate Solutions

Potassium acetate solutions are becoming increasingly popular as a de-icing material due to their low environmental impact when compared with traditional salts like rock salt or calcium chloride.

They are also effective at lower temperatures than traditional salts—down to -25°F (-32°C)—and they don’t cause corrosion like sodium chloride does. The main downside of potassium acetate solutions is their cost; they tend to be much more expensive than other materials used for de-icing purposes due to their high purity level.


De-icing roads effectively requires careful consideration—you need a material that works well even at very low temperatures but won’t cause costly damage over time due to corrosion or environmental issues. Contact a snow removal company near you for more information!