We got our first real taste of winter last week, and that can be a dangerous and slippery mess for anyone who uses your driveway. Many people turn to salt thinking it's the best option because it works. However, salt can damage not only your driveway, but also your plants and soil. Look for products that have no toxic chemicals -- the label should say if it's safe. While looking for a "non-toxic" proclamation announcement on your product of choice may seem simple, it may not be so simple to determine what products can harm your home and landscape. Here's a list of what to apply, and maybe more importantly, what not to apply to ice:
Don't Destroy Your Landscape
Over the years, many effective de-icing products have been developed to eliminate slippery surfaces. However, some of them may end up damaging plants and soil in your landscape, the flooring in your house or harming pets. Here are the most common deicing options, and how they might affect you:Sodium chloride — While it's generally the least expensive de-icing product, rock salt doesn’t work well in temperatures below 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, it can leach into the soil and change the chemical balance to toxic levels.Calcium chloride — Works well at temperatures below zero and is considered less harmful to vegetation than sodium chloride, but it can leave behind a slippery residue that can be detrimental to your carpet, tile, shoes and your pet’s feet. This product can be up to three times more expensive than rock salt, but you don’t need to use as much.Urea — Primarily used as a fertilizer, urea is an effective de-icer. It has a lower potential to damage vegetation compared to potassium chloride, but it still has the potential to burn your yard, shrubs and other plants. It can also contaminate runoff water with nitrates in the spring.Calcium magnesium acetate — Can cost 10 times more than rock salt, but it’s salt-free and biodegradable. It won’t harm the environment and won't corrode your concrete like rock salt can.