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I came across the following question here: Is there a safe way to de-ice an unsealed driveway? The accepted answer mentions rock salt being fine for such a driveway (asphalt), and the other answer mentions sand as an one alternative.

Whereas: What to do for a a patterned concrete walkway (or driveway)? We've heard from a number of sources that regular de-icing salt / rock salt is not safe and will probably cause the concrete to deteriorate over time.

So, ruling out traditional de-icing salt and sand too (we don't find it very effective), what other products are there to de-ice a concrete walkway?

If possible, please describe the chemicals being used in the products mentioned and not just the brand name. I'm also interested in favoring environmentally-friendly products. Still, the most important thing is to do the job of melting the ice so the walkway is safe for walking on.

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You are right, Salt will eventually harm or "shell" concrete. I would suggest potassium chloride. This product will de-ice down to apx 15 F and will not harm the concrete or adjoining lawns or other plantings. Potassium chloride comes in a variety of brand names and can be found at most hardware stores. We use it all the time for roof de-icing because it will not harm roofing,siding and vegetation.

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thanks for the tech help Niall. – shirlock homes Jan 23 '11 at 16:45

I agree that potassium chloride works better and is less harmful. It will also cost more. The best de-icer for concrete is magnesium chloride. It works down to -25 degrees F and is the least harmful to your concrete. It costs more as well.

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