Part of the reason behind an eco-friendly home is to make it healthier for everyone who lives there, and taking a spill on an icy sidewalk or driveway certainly isn’t healthy. Many common ice melting products are pretty bad for pets, vehicles, and the environment – but luckily there are eco-friendly de-icers as alternatives.
The main ingredient in traditional de-icers is sodium chloride (NaCl), aka table salt. Salt is pretty effective at melting surface ice, but it’s highly corrosive. Salty runoff damages nearby plants and grasses, causes rust on vehicles, and over time erodes concrete and pavement.
Two of the best ice-melting alternatives to sodium chloride are calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) and potassium acetate (KA). Studies have shown both (especially CMA) to be very effective deicers without the damaging side effects. CMA and KA cost more than regular salt, but actually save money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs.
Keep in mind that many de-icers for home use may contain a blend of different ingredients, so pick the best one available; a mixture of CMA and regular salt would still be a better choice than salt alone. Whatever product you choose, use it sparingly – and remember that many chemicals (including traditional salt) aren’t effective below 15 degrees F.
Keep It Green Snow & Ice Melter
This is one of the only commonly available products we’ve found that contains a mixture of calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) and potassium acetate (KA). It also contains a fertilizer component designed to help prevent any peripheral damage to lawns and plants, so just be sure to avoid any runoff into nearby streams or ponds.
Keep It Green Snow & Ice Melter (8 lb. jug), $15.99 at Amazon.
Safe Paw Non-Toxic, Pet-Safe Ice Melter
Safe Paw contains a mixture of carbonyl diamide and glycol, designed specifically to be non-toxic and non-irritating for both pets and people. Its concentrated formula covers more area than rock salt, and Safe Paw is effective down to a lower temperature (-2 degrees F). Some users have reported damage to adjacent grass and vegetation, so just be mindful about your coverage area.
Safe Paw Non-Toxic, Pet-Safe Ice Melter (8 lb. jug), $19.99 at Amazon.