If you want to keep from slipping and sliding this winter- and who doesn’t- you’re probably thinking of buying salt to spread on your sidewalks and driveways. 

When it’s sub-zero temperatures, though, and there are so many options of salts to buy, are any of them actually effective?

Rock salt, blends, and calcium chloride are the three main options. The price points for each hit about  $9, $11, or $20 respectively. 

“The best option, right now, due to these temperatures is going to be your calcium chloride, or a calcium chloride blend,” explained Home Depot manager Richard Bielawa. 

So, splurging here may be worth it. calcium chloride, the most expensive, works even when the temperatures reach negative thirty. That’s a major difference from the cheapest option, rock salt, which has a minimum working temperature of ten degrees. 

A bonus, though, of using calcium chloride, “It does less damage to your concrete walkways, driveways. It doesn’t pit them out like you’ll see on a lot of parking lots and sidewalks,” explained Bielawa “That’s typically from rock salt application, whereas the calcium won’t do nearly as much damage.”

If you want to salt, getting ahead of a light snowfall might be your best bet,  “If we’re just going to get a dusting you can absolutely get ahead of it,” Bielawa explained. “You’ll still have to brush your car off but hopefully you won’t slip on the way out there.”

But if it’s any more than a dusting, you should plan to shovel before you salt. 

Also keep in mind, if you have pets at home using a “pet safe” blend is your best option. The chemicals in those blends won’t burn their paws.