What is Pre-wetted Salt? Do I Need it?

Over the past couple of years, snow removal contractors have been turning to liquids to improve ice and snow remediation efforts. Unfortunately, the only thing stopping many of them from using liquids is that they simply don’t understand the science nor the benefits of pre-wetted salt.
Pre-wetted salt is simply a salt that has been coated with a liquid chemical prior to being spread on a snow or ice covered surface. While there are hundreds of compounds that can be used to pre-wet salt, there are three liquids that are typically used: sodium chloride, liquid calcium and magnesium chloride.
A pre-wetted solution works more effectively for several reasons. First, the pre-wetted salt clings to the pavement instead of bouncing off the surface or being cleared off by flowing traffic like rock salt. That means less salt is displaced, not only saving money, but also having less of an impact on the environment. The liquid solution will also embed more easily into a frozen surface, which reduces scatter and works more effectively.
The science behind the concept is actually pretty simple. Salt used as a solid requires moisture to dissolve the salt in order to be effective as a de-icing agent. Moisture dissolves the salt, releasing heat to melt ice or snow. When temperatures dip below freezing there is no moisture on the road, rendering salt as a solid virtually ineffective.
Using a pre-wetted salt enhances performance at any temperature because it ensures there is plenty of moisture to melt snow or ice, therefore pre-wetted salt works faster at a lower temperature with less waste. While you may be spending a little more on using an additional chemical for snow and ice removal, the investment will easily pay for itself and then some over time.
However, using a pre-wetted salt does require special equipment, but that equipment is designed to deliver the solution more precisely to maximize the investment.
Our Crossfire Insert Hopper Spreader Deluxe has a built-in pre-wetting system that delivers a solution more accurately and efficiently over a very precise target. But you don’t have to take our word for it. According to Green Industry Pros, most industry insiders are confident that snow removal contractors will see a salt savings in the 30 percent range as a result of pre-wetting alone. If you also implement liquid anti-icing treatments, you could see even greater salt use savings. And that’s without factoring in labor savings in addition to the satisfaction your clients will have from faster and more effective snow and ice remediation.
Clearly, pre-wetted salt is a more effective and environmentally friendly way of removing snow and ice. You owe it to yourself to investigate pre-wetted salt.
If you want to know more about the performance of de-icing materials, check out our white paper, “A Strategic Guide to De-Icing for Contractors & Municipalities.” 
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