Rock Salt: Preventative Measure or After the Fact?

Posted on: 5 October 2023


Winter is coming, and that can only mean one thing for those who live in areas with extreme winters — ice and snow on the ground. Slippery roads and walkways can be incredibly dangerous, causing accidents and injuries. To combat these hazards, many people turn to rock salt. But is rock salt more effective as a preventative measure or after the fact? Here are some of the pros and cons of using rock salt in each scenario.

Preventative Measure: 

Using rock salt as a preventative measure involves applying it to your driveway, sidewalks, and other surfaces before a storm arrives. While this can be a helpful way to prevent ice from forming, there are also some downsides to consider. First, rock salt is not environmentally friendly. It can harm plants and harm wildlife. Additionally, it can be expensive to use rock salt on a regular basis. 

Another downside is that it may not be effective under certain conditions. If there is already a layer of ice on the surface, the rock salt may not be able to penetrate it. In this scenario, it may be necessary to apply a more powerful de-icer, which can be even more harmful to the environment.

After the Fact:

Using rock salt after a storm has arrived is often a more reactive approach. This involves spreading the salt over slippery areas to melt the ice and snow. One benefit to using rock salt after the fact is that you only need to use it when it's needed. This can save you money and reduce the environmental impact. Additionally, it can be more effective as it penetrates the ice and snow and speeds up the melting process. However, it's important to note that this approach won't prevent ice from reforming, meaning you may need to use the salt again and again throughout the winter season.

Alternative Options:

If you are concerned about the negative effects of rock salt, there are alternative options to consider. Sand is a good option when you don't want to use rock salt. Although it won't melt the ice, it provides better traction, reducing the chances of slipping. Another option is to use eco-friendly or pet-safe de-icers. These products are often made from natural materials such as beet juice or cheese brine and can be a safer alternative for the environment and animals.

There are pros and cons to using rock salt both as a preventative measure and after the fact. Using rock salt can be expensive and harmful to the environment, but it can be effective in melting ice and snow. Ultimately, the decision to use rock salt or another de-icer will depend on your own personal preferences and the conditions you are facing. However, it's important to consider alternative options that are more eco-friendly and safer for wildlife. Whatever approach you take, remember to be cautious and take safety seriously when walking and driving in the winter. 

For more info about rock salt, contact a local company.