Have you ever noticed those grit bins at the side of the road, particularly during winter?
Those usually have rock salt inside, and are what gritting vehicles are spreading throughout the winter in the UK. You might have even heard of the term road salt or grit salt, these are other names for brown rock salt when used for de-icing purposes. Even though rock salt can be used in a multiple of ways, the main uses are to prevent ice from forming and help melt snow on footpaths and roads before it forms. It can also act as a reactive measure to ensure public footways have enough grip to avoid harming its users. However rock salt is used, one thing is common, it is an essential part of providing a safe and harm free winter.
Brown or White Salt?
Brown rock salt contains large granules and has more impurities than white de-icing salt. Because of these impurities, brown rock salt leaves a gritty residue when it dissolves. It may not sound nice, however it helps to improve the traction underfoot. It also helps to visualise the areas that brown salt has been applied as it directly contrasts the white snow or ice.
Rock salt is often cheaper than white salt so is a more cost-effective solution for large areas. This is why brown salt is often the preferred salt for highway agencies, local councils, and owners of large car parks. You will often find that organisations with frequently visited indoor spaces will use white salt to ensure the areas remain as clean as possible.