Magnesium Chloride Vs Calcium Chloride Ice Melt: A Comprehensive Comparison

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Safe Step 5300 Sodium Chloride, Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride


As the winter season approaches, it’s crucial to be prepared for icy and snowy conditions. One of the most common ways to combat slippery surfaces is by using ice melt products. Two popular options in the market are magnesium chloride and calcium chloride. While both are effective in melting ice, they have distinct differences that can impact their performance and environmental impact. In this article, we will compare magnesium chloride and calcium chloride ice melt in terms of their effectiveness, safety, environmental impact, and cost.


When it comes to melting ice, both magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are highly effective. They have a lower freezing point than water, allowing them to prevent ice formation and melt existing ice. However, calcium chloride has a slight edge over magnesium chloride in terms of speed. Calcium chloride can generate heat when it comes into contact with moisture, which accelerates the melting process. On the other hand, magnesium chloride may take a bit longer to melt ice but is still highly efficient.


When using ice melt products, safety is a top priority. Both magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are generally considered safe for use around pets, plants, and on various surfaces. However, it’s important to note that calcium chloride can be more corrosive than magnesium chloride. If you’re concerned about potential damage to concrete or metal surfaces, magnesium chloride might be a better choice. It’s always advisable to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and use protective measures, such as gloves, when handling ice melt products.

Environmental Impact

Considering the environmental impact of ice melt products is crucial, especially when it comes to protecting water sources and plant life. In this aspect, magnesium chloride has an advantage over calcium chloride. Magnesium chloride is less harmful to vegetation and is generally considered more environmentally friendly. It also has a lower toxicity level and poses less risk to aquatic life. If you’re looking for an ice melt product with minimal environmental impact, magnesium chloride is the recommended choice.

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Cost is often a determining factor when choosing between ice melt products. In general, magnesium chloride is more cost-effective compared to calcium chloride. It’s widely available and typically cheaper per pound. If you have a large area to cover or need to purchase ice melt in bulk, opting for magnesium chloride can provide significant cost savings. However, it’s always advisable to compare prices from different retailers to find the best deal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use magnesium chloride or calcium chloride ice melt on all surfaces?

Both magnesium chloride and calcium chloride ice melt can be used on various surfaces, including concrete, asphalt, and pavers. However, it’s always best to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure compatibility with specific surfaces. Additionally, using a protective mat or barrier can help prevent any potential damage.

2. Are magnesium chloride and calcium chloride ice melts safe for pets?

Both magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are generally safe for pets. However, it’s advisable to wipe their paws after walking on treated surfaces to prevent ingestion. Additionally, some pet-safe ice melt products are specifically formulated to be less harmful if ingested.

3. Can magnesium chloride or calcium chloride ice melt damage vegetation?

While both ice melt products can potentially damage plants if overused or not used according to instructions, magnesium chloride is considered less harmful to vegetation. It’s always best to avoid excessive application near plants and follow the recommended guidelines for usage.

4. How much ice melt should I apply?

The amount of ice melt to apply depends on the severity of the ice or snow. As a general guideline, a thin layer is usually sufficient to combat light ice or frost. For thicker ice or snow, a thicker layer may be required. It’s important to avoid excessive application to prevent runoff and potential environmental damage.

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5. Can I store leftover ice melt for future use?

Yes, both magnesium chloride and calcium chloride ice melt can be stored for future use. It’s important to keep them in a dry and sealed container to prevent moisture absorption. Proper storage can help maintain their effectiveness over time.


When it comes to choosing between magnesium chloride and calcium chloride ice melt, it’s essential to consider factors such as effectiveness, safety, environmental impact, and cost. While both options are efficient in melting ice, magnesium chloride offers advantages in terms of environmental friendliness and cost-effectiveness. However, calcium chloride has the advantage of faster melting speed. Ultimately, the choice depends on your specific needs and priorities. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take necessary safety precautions when using ice melt products.