The Difference Between Salt and Ice Melt | Dr. Green Lawn Care Services

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The Difference Between Salt and Ice Melt

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Posted on: Dec 31, 2023Raunie


The difference between Salt and Ice melt can be a confusing to know which is best. This specifically is relevant as the first snow fall approaches (if it ever comes) and you’re preparing your winter supplies. There are many pros and cons to each option, so it is important to know your specific needs and where the product is going to be used. Continue reading for information to help you choose the right product for you and your family.

Rock Salt

Rock salt is made from sodium chloride and is commonly used by local governments and contractors who are involved in snow and ice management. One of the reasons for this is that it is more cost-effective than ice melt as well as that it is much more accessible to buy in bulk. Rock salt effectively lowers the freezing point of water and provides instant traction when applied. Rock salt is There are a few factors to consider before purchasing this for your winter needs:

  1. It is more corrosive to metal, concrete, and stonework.
  2. Is not pet friendly (can be harmful to animals’ paws).
  3. It is not effective when applied when the temperatures are around -10 degrees Celsius.  
  4. Has more chance to harm your lawn or landscaping (cheaper is more damaging).

So, if you have a lot of stonework or concrete around your property or want to keep your furry friends paw safe, it is important to remember that the more you use, the more chance you’ll have of potentially causing harm to your beautiful lawn/landscaping or your pets.

Ice Melt

Ice Melt is also made of sodium chloride along with magnesium chloride pellets and calcium chloride. These extra components have a two-fold effect. It makes the product safer for our hardscapes, lawns and pets but it often costs more than you would for a bag of regular rock salt. Ice melt works faster than rock salt, but it does not provide instant traction for slippery situations.  The following factors also should be considered when making your decision:

  1. Is safer for metal, concrete and stonework.
  2. Can be pet friendly (check the label before purchase).
  3. It is effective in temperatures below -10 degrees Celsius.
  4. Is less likely to damage your lawn or landscaping.

Ice Melt is a safer alternative but just like rock salt, the more you use of any product creates buildup. Because this product works faster and helps with the prevention of snow and ice build up you should be using less overall.


The difference between salt and ice melt really does boil down to your needs, budget and climate. Either option can work but this article with other resources should help you make the final call. Stay safe and warm out there folks!