ice melt melting sidewalk ice and snow.

At What Temperature Does Ice Melt Work? (10 Examples)

In Winter by Jamie

Are you dreading that slippery driveway in the dead of winter? Falling on ice can be very problematic and cause lots of injuries, so getting rid of ice and snow fast is a good idea. Since ice melt seems to be the right way to approach the problem, I’ll show you at what temperature ice melt works.

How Does Ice Melt Work?

Ice melt, often known as deicer, is a substance that reduces the freezing point of water. This either stops the formation of ice or turns any existing ice into liquid slush. It makes removal of the ice simpler and helps avoid the accumulation of ice and snow in the future by breaking the binding between the pavement and the ice. It helps keep your stairways and walkways safe from being slippery during freezing temperatures.

The way it works is when the chemicals come into contact with water, the melting point of the water is lowered. Because of this, the water will not freeze even when the temperature is higher, and as a result, the pavement will remain clear of ice for significantly longer periods.

As ice melt is applied to frozen snow or ice, it forms a brine solution by dissolving into any water that is not frozen solid. This saltwater or other ingredient gradually makes its way down through the ice, melting it as it goes and fracturing it as it does so.

Here are 10 of the most populare ice-melts you can order online today. I list the temperatures they are rated to work to melt ice.

10 Ice Melt Examples:  

Ice Melt Name: Works at Temperatures Down to: 
Green Gobbler 93% Pure Calcium Chloride Snow & Ice Melt Pellets -40°F / -40°C
Snow Joe Melt-2-Go Premium Calcium Chloride Crystal Ice Melter -25°F / -31.66°C
HARRIS Kind Melt Pet Friendly Ice Melt -13°F / -25°C
Scotwood Industries Road Runner Premium Ice Melter -15°F / -26.11°C
Safe Thaw Industrial Strength 100% Salt Chloride-Free Ice Melter -2°F / -18.88°C
National Blue Ice Melt -15°F / -26.11°C
Paw Protector Snow & Ice Melt -22°F / -30°C
Pure Original Ingredients Ice Melt Pellets -25°F / -31.66°C
Snow Shield Ice Melt 0°F / -17.77°C
Ecos Ice Melt -13°F / -25°C
TOTAL AVERAGE: -17°F / -27.22°C

At What Temperature Does Ice Melt Work?

After gathering 10 different ice melts and comparing their working temperatures, the average temperature that ice melt works is -17°F (-27.22°C). However, some ice melts may only work at -0°F while certain ice melts will work in temperatures as low as -40°F. The type of ice melt affects the temperature in which the ice melt will work. 

Ice melts created using salt do not melt ice in as low of temperatures as pure calcium chloride or pure magnesium chloride. The lowest temperature working ice melt is pure calcium chloride as it can work as low as -40°F.

At What Temperature Does Ice Melt Stop Working?

Ice melt will stop working around the recommended temperature that is listed on the label, you shouldn’t expect it to continue working past such temperature. Expect all ice melt products to stop working below -40°F or -40°C, while some ice melts will stop working at just 0°F. 

In the real world, the temperature is not the only element that determines how well salt or ice melt will work. The effectiveness of an ice melt can be affected by environmental elements such as the temperature of the ground, the potency of the wind, or the rate at which the snow is building up. Mother nature can impact how well ice melt works, so keep that in mind. 

Should You Use More Ice Melt When It’s Colder Outside?

Even with temps as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit, certain ice melts continue to be effective. If you live in a super cold climate you should prepare and purchase a low temperature rated ice melt such as the Green Gobbler listed number one above. 

But does more ice melt product mean it will work better? Yes actually, the more ice melt product you use the better and faster it will begin to work. Having more ice melt granules on the surface just means there is more ice melt to start eating away, which will work faster helping you melt ice more quickly. 

Is it Better to Lay Ice Melt Before It Snows?

The application of ice melt should take place either before the precipitation freezes or immediately after the snow has been removed, it works best this way. This way you prevent ice from even forming! However, don’t skip out on using ice melt if ice has already accumulated. Winter is a long season in many places of the world, ice can build up in certain areas and ice melt can still come in later in the season to do its job. 

Sprinkle ice melt over existing snow and ice and it will still do its job successfully. 

Are There Any Alternative Ice Melting Solutions?

If you don’t want to use ice melt for whatever reasons, there are a few other products and items that serve as alternatives.

Wood Ash

Wood Ash

If you have a fireplace that is heated by wood, using wood ash as a snow melting option is an excellent idea. Simply collect the wood ash and put it to use as a solution for a slow-moving melting process rather than tossing it away.

Because of the potassium content, wood ash can fill in the shoes of ice melt. The dark tint, similar to that of the coffee grounds, helps it attract more sunlight, which in turn increases its capacity to melt ice and snow. Avoid using hot ash on wooden decks as you can burn your deck quite badly, also you still risk house fires in the winter!

Sugar Beet Juice

You can lower the melting point of snow and ice if you add sugar beet juice. Because it is completely natural, it does not in any way endanger the health of concrete, animals, or the environment. In addition, beet juice is one of the few ice melting methods that are effective even when the temperature is much below freezing.

It’s not the least expensive alternative, but it does a very good job of avoiding harming the natural world, which is a significant advantage.

Coffee Grounds

If you’ve got a coffee grinder at home, you can use the ground on your driveway once you finished shoveling. As a result of the acidity contained inside the coffee grinds, this helps to melt ice more quickly.

This will also add some necessary grit for persons walking on the driveway, making them less likely to fall. As a result of the dark hue of the grounds, they naturally absorb more sunlight and are thus warmer.

Vinegar

You can make a mixture of water and vinegar and pour it onto the snow-covered area. This will help melt the snow faster. Even if this approach might not be the most efficient one for melting snow, it is still an efficient one.

You must take precautions to prevent the liquid from freezing once more. Using a shovel or a push broom, get rid of any ice or water puddles that are still there.

Check out our guide on how to make homemade ice melt safe for wood decks in this detailed guide!

Baking Soda

Everyone knows that baking soda is quite versatile when it comes to cleaning stuff around the house, but did you know it can also serve as an ice melt alternative?

Because it is a type of salt, it will reduce the temperature of the ice, which will result in the gradual transformation of the ice into water. In addition, its corrosive effects on concrete are significantly mitigated in comparison to those of the conventional calcium chloride salt.

Final Thoughts

If you were wondering at what temperature ice melt work, the rough answer would be above 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember that the most efficient ice-melting agents have uniform, medium-sized particles that may penetrate the surface and increase brine production.

Read our related ice melt articles: 

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.