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Can You Use Water Softener Salt To Melt Ice (Confirmed 2024)

Can You Use Water Softener Salt To Melt Ice

Winters are here, so if you are looking to melt ice on your driveaway and are running out of rock salt, you might be tempted to use softener salt to get the work done. After all, it’s also salt, right?

So, can you use water softener salt to melt ice?

We can confirm that salt from a water softener will work to melt ice. Moreover, it’s widely available and less expensive than its other two main components: sodium and potassium chloride.

Keep reading to know all about how!

Can I Use Water Softener Salt on My Driveway?

Yes, water softener salt can melt ice on icy driveways, but you must be cautious. Using a water softener salt to melt ice can have advantages and disadvantages.


  • Since it has a far lower freezing point than regular table salt, water softener salt melts ice effectively. It means that incorporating salt into water reduces its freezing point, allowing it to maintain its liquid state at colder temperatures. 
  • When temperatures rise over 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-7 degrees Celsius), it becomes effective in melting ice.
  • It is less abrasive than rock salt to avoid damaging concrete and asphalt.
  • Salt used in water softeners is readily available and inexpensive.
  • The salt-in-water softeners can also work to keep water from freezing in the first place. You can reduce the chances of ice formation by applying salt to surfaces before it freezes.


  • Water softener salt can be harmful to plants and vegetation. The salt can leach into the soil and alter the soil composition, which can harm plants.
  • Water softener salt can also be harmful to pet consumption. Some animals, such as dogs, are attracted to the taste of salt and may ingest large amounts of it, which can harm their health.
  • Water softener salt can also be harmful to aquatic ecosystems. When applied to surfaces, the salt can leach into the ground and make its way into nearby bodies of water, where it can alter the chemistry and harm aquatic life.

Also Read: Why Softener Water Tastes Salty

Can You Use Water Softener Salt for Rock Salt and Ice Melt to Melt Ice?

Spreading salt on driveway

The answer is “yes,” but the most efficient ice-melting product will vary depending on factors like temperature and the type of surface you’re trying to de-ice.

All three types of salt can be used for melting ice, but they work in slightly different ways and have distinct properties and melting power that make them more or less suitable for different situations.

Here is a summary of the key differences between the three types of salt:

1️⃣Softener Salt

  • Softener salt is made from tiny, porous, spherical beads of sodium chloride (common salt). It is used primarily for water softening to remove minerals that can cause hard water.
  •  It is not particularly effective at melting ice because it has a low salt concentration and tends to dissolve slowly in water.
  •  However, it is relatively inexpensive and readily available, so you can use it in a pinch if you don’t have access to other types of salt.
Also Read: Softener Salt Pellets vs Crystals

2️⃣Rock Salt

  • Rock salt is made from large, rough-textured crystals of sodium chloride. 
  • It is more effective at melting ice than softener salt because it has a higher concentration of salt, which helps lower the freezing point of water. 
  • However, regular rock salt can be abrasive and damage concrete, wood, or other surfaces if not used carefully. It can also be challenging to apply evenly because of its irregular shape.

3️⃣Ice Melt

  • Ice melt is a type of salt explicitly formulated for melting ice. It is often made from a blend of several different types of salt, such as sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, and calcium chloride. 
  • Ice melt is typically more effective at melting ice than either softener salt or rock salt, especially at lower temperatures.
  •  It is also less abrasive and easier to apply evenly. However, it is generally more expensive than the other two types of salt.
Also Read: Can You Use Pool Salt In A Water Softener? 

What Can You Use to Melt Ice Besides Salt?

Broken Driveway
  • Sugar beet juice:

    Although not effective as salt, sugar beet juice can melt ice. It is biodegradable and non-toxic, but it can be challenging to find and may be more expensive than other options.
  • Alcohol:

    Alcohol, such as rubbing alcohol or ethanol, can melt ice because it has a lower freezing point than water. However, it is generally less effective than salt in melting ice and may not work well at extremely low temperatures. Furthermore, it is highly flammable, so you should handle it carefully. 

  • Vinegar

    Vinegar is a natural ice melter used to help break up and melt ice. Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle and apply it to the ice. The acidity of the vinegar will help to melt the ice, and the water will help rinse any remaining debris. 
  • Sand or kitty litter:

    Sand and kitty litter can provide traction on icy surfaces, but they do not melt the ice. They can help prevent slips and falls but will not make the ice disappear. 
  • Calcium chloride:

    Calcium chloride is a type of salt that is very effective at melting ice, even at low temperatures. It is often used in commercial ice melt products because of its effectiveness and melting process. However, it can be more expensive than other types of salt and may be corrosive to some metal surfaces. 
  • Asphalt:

    Asphalt can melt ice because it has a high heat capacity, which means it can absorb and release a lot of heat as it changes temperature.
Also Read: Is Water Softener Loop Worth It?

Can You Use Water Softener Salt To Melt Ice: FAQs

Is water softener salt safe for concrete?

You can use a softener salt on concrete without risk, but proper application is essential.

Is water softener salt safe for pets?

Water softener salt can be toxic to pets, such as dogs who are attracted to salt flavor and may consume high quantities, which can be hazardous to their health.

What is the cheapest way to melt ice?

Using water-softener salt to melt ice is often viewed as a cost-effective method, as salt is relatively affordable and widely available. The function of water softener salt is to reduce the freezing point of water, which aids in ice melting.

Can I use water softener salt on my roof?

Using water softener salt on a roof may cause harm (salt damage) to the roofing material and any plants or grass that come into touch with the salt. In addition, salt is abrasive and can cause roofing materials to deteriorate over time.

Can you use dishwasher salt to melt ice?

Yes, you can use dishwasher salt to melt ice. Dishwasher salt, also known as solar salt, is a type of salt used in some dishwashers to soften hard water. It can also be used in other applications where a high-purity salt is needed, such as in water softeners and de-icing.

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