Ice Melting FAQs
Start with the outside temperature. Rock salt, such as Diamond Crystal® Winter Melt® is great for melting ice at moderately cold temperatures (works down to 5°F). When the temperature falls below that, you should consider products such as Jiffy Melt® (works down to -10°F) or Flash Melt® (works down to -25°F). Other factors include activation speed, ease of handling and application, and desired features.
Yes. Proper application is important for the optimal performance and safety of any ice melting product. More product does not necessarily mean better performance.
Diamond Crystal® ice melters are not produced under food grade conditions and therefore are not intended for human or animal consumption. However, our 2 most popular residential ice melters (Diamond Crystal® Winter Melt® and Jiffy Melt®) have low toxicity if inadvertently ingested in small amounts. Both have a Material Safety Data Sheet hazard rating of 1 on a scale of 0-4 (where 0 is considered “minimal hazard—no significant risk to health” and 1 is “slight hazard—irritation or minor reversible injury possible”). If ingestion occurs, make sure your pet has water available to drink, which is usually all that’s needed. Ingesting large amounts, however, can result in gastrointestinal irritation. If your pet shows signs of distress, contact your veterinarian. Always store any ice melter out of reach of children and pets. (Refer to Diamond Crystal ice melter Material Safety Data Sheets for more information).
Generally, no. If an animal picks up too much ice melter material in its paws, it may experience some irritation--especially if it has dry, cracked skin--so it’s advisable to brush or wash off encrusted product residue. Also, since ice melters lower the water temperature, the mix of melting snow, ice and ice melters can be uncomfortably cold to an animal’s feet. To help protect your pet, follow application instructions by clearing the snow and ice from pavement once it’s melted, and/or covering paws with pet booties to avoid possible frostbite.
Diamond Crystal® Flash Melt® is composed of calcium chloride, which melts ice down to -25°F. It is exothermic, which means it gives off heat as it works, accelerating melting. Because of that, it is important to brush or wash off ice melter residue from your pet’s paws and coat to avoid possible skin and mouth irritation or burn. Calcium chloride is low in toxicity, but if ingested in small amounts, make water available, and contact your veterinarian if your pet shows signs of distress. As with other ice melters, store out of reach of children and pets. (Refer to Diamond Crystal ice melter Material Safety Data Sheets for more information).
Practice good grooming of your pet, such as trimming excess hair from footpads and toes to reduce ice, snow and salt accumulation and make cleaning easier. Keep pets away from treated surfaces until snow, ice and ice melters have been cleared away. Doing so promptly will also prevent re-freezing. If your pet gets wet, dry its coat, and especially its paws, to prevent cracking.
Diamond Crystal ice melters are not intended for human or animal consumption. If a few grams of ice melter are accidentally ingested, drinking water is usually all that is needed. Ingesting large amounts can result in gastrointestinal irritation. If your child shows signs of discomfort, contact your doctor. Always store ice melters out of reach of children and pets. (Refer to Diamond Crystal ice melter Material Safety Data Sheets for more information).
Because ice melters transform snow and ice into liquid, there is run-off. Too high a rate of application results in excess run-off from the driveway or sidewalk surface area, which is the most common cause of injury to bordering lawn or vegetation. Soil type, vegetation species and climate are also factors in runoff effect. Published university field tests indicate there may be slight differences between the tendency of the common deicing chemicals to harm grass, but excessive application with any of them will harm vegetation. To reduce risk of this damage, apply Diamond Crystal ice melters according to package instructions and promptly remove snow, ice and slush from the sidewalk or driveway surface after application.
Poured concrete needs time to cure and seal, so do not apply ice melters to first-year concrete. Do not use on porous or improperly cured concrete, precast concrete items, masonry, mortar, wood or other porous materials. Use only on properly placed, cured and sealed, air-entrained concrete. To reduce risk of damage, apply Diamond Crystal ice melters according to package instructions. You may also apply a quality water-repelling sealant to the surface prior to winter. Finally, promptly remove snow, ice and slush that develops on the concrete after any ice melter application.
With proper application and ice removal, ice melter should leave little film or residue. Any extra residue carried in from people’s boots and shoes should be either sponged up with water before it dries or vacuumed promptly once dry.
Prior to using any ice melter, you should contact the manufacturer of your decking or sidewalk materials for its recommendation. We do not recommend using ice melters on wood decks, brick sidewalks, patios or the relatively new, non-wood decking material.
For obvious safety reasons, we recommend you do not use Diamond Crystal ice melters for ice dam removal from roofs. The best solution is to consult a roof expert to prevent heat loss and ice dams from developing. Because there are a variety of ice removal options and roofing materials, you should consult your homeowners insurance or a professional roofer to determine the best method of removal for your type of roof.
One source for more technical product safety information is material safety data sheets (MSDS), which Diamond Crystal maintains for each of its ice melter products.
- Diamond Crystal® Winter Melt® Ice Melter MSDS
- Diamond Crystal® Jiffy Melt® Blended Ice Melter MSDS
- Diamond Crystal® Flash Melt® Ice Melter MSDS
To avoid corrosion or staining, many ice melters should not be used on certain surfaces, and could leave some noticeable staining effect on others. For example, do not use Diamond Crystal ice melters on porous or improperly cured concrete, concrete less than one year old, precast concrete items, masonry, mortar, wood or other porous materials. (See product packaging for more details). The following third party test results indicate relative degree of staining on various substrates.