Keeping Customers Comfortable

Beyond Rock Salt: 2 Alternative Deicing Substances

Deicers are a important means of maintaining safe walking surfaces for those who live in snowy, cold climates. But rock salt, the most commonly used deicer, can lead to damaging--and even deadly--consequences for pets and gardens. If you are interested in less destructive means of removing ice from your paving, read on. This article will introduce you to two alternative deicing substances.

Propylene Glycol

Face it, your pet is more than just a pet: it's a beloved member of your family. So it's natural to be wary of the health hazards that rock salt poses to your furry friend. To begin with, rock salt crystals that work themselves into your animals paws can cause no end of irritation.

But things can quickly go from bad to worse when it starts trying to relieve those irritated paws by licking away the salt. Even in relatively small doses, rock salt can cause discomfort and dehydration. And higher amounts can lead to such dangerous conditions as:

  • mouth burns
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • severe dehydration
  • death

To avoid this risk, consider switching to propylene glycol as a deicer. This substance, effective even in small doses, works to melt ice by sucking up excess water. And it is not only easy on your pet's skin, but on their tummy as well. Still skeptical? Then you'll be amazed to learn that propylene glycol has even been deemed safe as a pet food additive.

Magnesium Chloride

When rock salt melts, it releases large amounts of one of its two primary elements: sodium. Unfortunately, as this sodium runs off into the planting beds around your pavement, a number of unintended consequences ensue. For one thing, it raises the pH of the soil, making it more difficult for plants to harness certain micronutrients they need to survive.

The negative effects of excess sodium don't stop there, however. By binding with water molecules, sodium makes it more difficult for plants to hydrate themselves, as well as reducing the aeration level--in other words, the amount of oxygen present in the soil. These factors not only make it hard for new plants to develop, but they can cause dieback, browning, and even death in established plants.

Fortunately, there's an effective and plant-safe way to deice your pavement: magnesium chloride. Whereas plants can't process excessive amounts of sodium, they are perfectly comfortable with magnesium. As it happens, magnesium is actually one of the three secondary plant nutrients, and an important component in chlorophyll. Thus, in reasonable doses, magnesium chloride won't just keep your driveway and sidewalk free of ice, it'll help to fertilize your plants as well.

For more information, contact an expert in asphalt like Bonneville Asphalt & Repair.