To further simplify the process for custodial managers, blended salt products are available and combine two or more types of salt into one blended product. Blending salts provide for a greater range of temperature effectiveness and take the guesswork out of which salt to use depending on the different temperature ranges.  

For example, if the surface temperature in the afternoon is 21 degrees Fahrenheit, rock salt (NaCl) will be sufficient to use. If on that same day, two hours later, the temperatures are expected to drop below 15 degrees Fahrenheit as the sun goes down, the rock salt will no longer be effective, requiring magnesium or calcium to be used. A blended product that provides for a greater percentage of rock salt mixed with a smaller percentage of magnesium and/or calcium would be ideal in this situation — it will continue to be effective at the lower temperature range without having to worry about switching products.

Examples of blended salt products include:
• Rock salt (NaCl) and Magnesium (MgCl)
• Rock salt (NaCl), and Calcium (CaCl)
• Rock Salt (NaCl), Magnesium (MgCl) and Calcium (CaCl)
• CMA — Calcium Magnesium Acetate

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA), in its truest form, is sold to prevent the use of chloride and substitute with less corrosive Acetate instead. A specific benefit of acetate-based products is that they eliminate the corrosive effects chlorides have on structural steel, particularly for bridges and parking decks.

Although this benefit may be appealing to custodial managers, there is a cost negative that must be considered. A 50-pound bag of CMA is typically 10-times, or more, the cost of a similar size bag of rock salt, therefore is typically cost prohibitive for most applications. 

Rock salt is currently the most commonly used because of its lower cost, but there are new blends of other bi-products that have more recently been developed and tested to enhance or supplement the use of traditional salt. Bi-products include those from beet juice manufacturing processes, brewing processes and molasses, to name a few.  Others being tested now include cheese brine and tree root extract.

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Effectiveness of Ice Melt
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