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The Dangers of Potassium Chloride Ice Melt

is potassium chloride bad for you

Many parents, pet owners, and wildlife lovers wrongly assume that potassium chloride rock salt is the same stuff they put on their food, only in larger form. They conclude that if it is safe to eat, it must be safe to use on their sidewalks, steps, and other icy surfaces – Surfaces where children and animals might easily come in contact with and even ingest potassium chloride ice melt.

However, table salt is sodium chloride, NaCl, not potassium chloride, KCl. While the salt you season food with is safe in limited quantities, potassium chloride poses much higher health risks including death. There are other reasons not to use KCl as ice melt, and they are discussed below along with a safe, natural alternative ice melt: Safe Paw.

Is Potassium Chloride Ice Melt Safe?

You might know that potassium chloride is available as a dietary supplement. Does that make it safe? First, the supplement form is regulated for dose and purity. Potassium chloride salt is not advisable for human consumption and often contains poisonous impurities.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is one of many health organizations warning against exposure to potassium chloride.

Get ready for winter with the ONLY Pet Safe Ice Melt you can trust


Is Potassium Chloride Bad For You?

Some of the harmful effects of Potassium Chloride are as follows

  • Cough and sore throat are caused by inhaling KCl dust (such as during handling or spreading)
  • Redness and eye pain (when eyes are touched with hands that have handled KCl or dust gets into the eyes while spreading)
  • Nausea, vomiting, weakness, convulsions caused by ingesting potassium chloride

Children and pets like the taste of salt, including Potassium Chloride salt. When they ingest too much of it, serious health risks occur, like stomach ulcers and internal bleeding.

The Mayo Clinic reports that potassium poisoning leads to hyperkalemia, a condition that results in diminished kidney function and cardiac failure when acute. Did you know that potassium chloride is used in lethal injections to stop the heart?

Pets are susceptible to all these dangers and more common ones too. When they walk on KCl ice melt and other rock salt products, the skin on their paws can be irritated and even burned, resulting in a painful rash or blistering. If your dog is exposed to it while on your daily walk around the neighborhood, rinse off its paws when you get home, and never let your dog stop to lick salt off the ground. As potassium chloride is not for dogs.

Salt Free Ice Melt

Safe Paw - Pet Safe Ice Melt

Safe Paw

The Original and the #1 Pet and Child Safe Ice Melt for over 20 years. Guaranteed environmentally safe – will not harm waterways and sensitive wetlands.

A Comparison Of Potassium Chloride, Rock Salt, And Salt Free Ice Melt

Potassium Chloride Ice Melt

It has pale white irregular crystals that leave behind a white residue. The deicing speed is slower than other ice melts. It works well at 12 degrees Fahrenheit. Potassium chloride is not safe for concrete as it increases the frequency of the freeze-thaw cycle, thus damaging the surface.

Safe Paw – A Safe and Effective Ice Melt

Pet owners and parents breathe a sigh of relief when they learn about Safe Paw ice melt. Not only is it safe for pets, people, and the planet, it works at a lower temperature and melts ice more effective than rock salt like potassium chloride. This reduces the risk of dangerous slips and falls on icy surfaces, the main reason to use ice melt in the first place.

Safety First: Safe Paw is recognized as safe for people, pets, and the planet, as these recommendations show:

  • United States governmental agencies awards
  • Included in the Green Catalog: 1000 Best Things for the Earth
  • Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA) Green Product Seal of Approval

Secure Footing Too: What good is ice melt if it doesn’t work? While KCl rock salt becomes ineffective in very cold temperatures, Safe Pet effectively melts ice at any temperature:

  • The outer layer liquefies when it contacts the ice, and this releases a proprietary, safe ice-melting formula that breaks up the slick surface of the ice
  • The inner core of amide, a safe and proven ice melter, can then penetrate deep into the ice to destroy its structure
  • The blend includes a safe level of glycol, a substance used in deicing products and to prevent freezing
  • When the ice is melted and the moisture evaporates, a coating of Safe Paw is left behind to prevent icy surfaces when the next storm comes

Safe Paw is the top-selling ice melt brand and boasts of prestigious awards and recommendations. It is recommended by pediatricians, veterinarians and animal hospitals, animal shelters and humane societies, and wildlife experts. It is the right choice for pets, kids, and the planet!

Find a Safe Paw retailer today. There’s one in your neighborhood, and Safe Paw can be ordered online too. It’s the right choice for pets, kids, and the planet!

Get ready for winter with the ONLY Pet Safe Ice Melt you can trust

Sodium Chloride

Many of the most popular salt-based ice melt on the market, such as Safe Step 8300 and Road Runner ice melt, have sodium chloride as the main ingredient. While these rock salt products melt ice in moderately cold conditions, they pose serious health risks to family members, pets, soil, animals, water bodies, and infrastructure. 

Hypernatremia can develop in dogs who consume large amounts of this ice melt. It happens when the salt level in the blood rises. It can cause dehydration, tachycardia, tachypnea, and mortality in severe cases.

When salt is present in high concentrations in the soil, it absorbs water quickly and competes with plants for moisture. Excess salt in the soil leads vegetation to suffer from drought-like conditions. 

Increased salt levels in drinking water are dangerous for people who are already suffering from high blood pressure. The use of salt-based ice melt is one of the causes for this.

Sodium chloride, sometimes known as rock salt, is one of the most poisonous components that can harm our pets. When using rock salt to melt the ice around your home, it is vital to keep an eye on your pets. It is troublesome to keep track of this when you have an energetic pet.

Salt pellets may become trapped between the paw pads of pets walking on a pavement that has been treated with rock salt to remove ice. It could create inflammation or burns on or between your pet’s pads, which can be extremely painful.

Potassium Chloride vs Rock Salt

The use of potassium chloride for ice melting is limited due to its endothermic qualities and the lowest effective temperature of +25°F (-4°C). It has a low melt capability and works slower than calcium chloride, rock salt, and magnesium chloride. Corrosion and environmental effects are moderate, as they are with other chloride materials. 

Rock salt is used owing to its ease of availability and low cost. It absorbs heat from the environment to form an ice-melting brine. When temperatures are low then it becomes ineffective and sluggish.

Rock salt, like all chloride-based compounds, is corrosive in nature. If rock salt deicer is applied in large quantities straight to grass or vegetation, it can injure lawns and other plants.

Effect Of Chlorides On Concrete, Pets, And Plants

Any substance containing chlorides, such as sodium chloride, potassium chloride, or calcium chloride, may be safe in other contexts, but not in the case of concrete, particularly new concrete. 

Because these compounds are slightly acidic, they weaken the paste that holds concrete together by expanding the pore size and enabling water to get through. The freeze-thaw cycle gets more harmful when more water seeps into the pores of your concrete.

Salt is a peculiar substance because it is hygroscopic, which means it holds water. When salt penetrates the pore structure, it increases the frequency of freeze-thaw, thus damaging the concrete.

Chlorides can cause corrosion of reinforcing steel because they quickly penetrate the thin, protective iron oxide layer and begin the corrosive reaction in steel.

Get ready for winter with the ONLY Pet Safe Ice Melt you can trust


Sodium chloride is just plain salt. Ingesting a significant amount of sodium chloride can be fatal for dogs; minor ingestion will cause gastrointestinal irritation at the very least. It also results in irritating the paws of our furry friends. Potassium chloride is another salt compound that is unpleasant if consumed. 

Magnesium chloride is a popular deicer that comes in crystal and flake form. If taken in high numbers, it can cause stomach difficulties, and it is dangerous for dogs with renal impairment who are sensitive to doses of magnesium.

Calcium salts (calcium carbonate, calcium chloride, and calcium magnesium acetate): Of all the ice melts, calcium salts are the most dangerous. Ingestion can cause gastrointestinal problems, and they are also likely to irritate the skin and paws.

Salts can harm plants in a variety of ways. The chloride ion is the most hazardous component of deicing salts, and it is responsible for much of the direct plant tissue damage. Salt from puddles spraying onto plants as automobiles pass by can scorch leaves or damage buds and twig tips on deciduous plants, especially in the spring. Pines are known for their susceptibility to roadside deicing salts in general. Pine needles that have been impacted may turn pale green, yellow, or brown in late winter. Salt spray is most likely to blame for fading vegetation on the side of the plants facing the road or driveway. Salt builds up in the soil, making it difficult for plant roots to absorb water.

Excess sodium damages soil structure, which can lead to poor infiltration and erosion. The sodium ions can deplete soil fertility by displacing critical plant nutrients. 

So, the conclusion of Potassium Chloride vs Salt, is that they both are dangerous for pets, the environment, and concrete. Their regular use and contact can also result in skin irritation, eye soreness, and other health hazards.

Get ready for winter with the ONLY Pet Safe Ice Melt you can trust

Natural, Salt Free Ice Melt 

To get the most out of your salt free ice melt, keep it indoors and at room temperature. Before the winter rains come, spread it on the surfaces prone to suffer from ice accumulation.  

If your car becomes stuck in the snow or ice, it can be utilized as a traction aid. To boost grip, clean the ruts and sprinkle the ice melt pellets around the tires. There are other natural products available in the market, to provide you traction. You can also use your solid ice melt for giving you instant traction and to avoid any slip and fall incidents.

You would not need as much this ice melt as you would with other homemade or cheap salt based ice melting products. Natural salt-free ice melt is a safe and effective product. Using too much ice melt may cause the grass to brown or surfaces to become temporarily colored. If this happens, cut back on the amount of product you are using. Wait for some time and if the effects still persists follow the procedures given below: 

  • If your grass starts to turn brown, water it and do not fertilize it. 
  • By the end of the spring, the color should have returned. 
  • When exposed to water and sunlight, surface coloration caused by usage fades with time. 
  • Use OxyClean or a comparable solution to hasten the fading process. 

Gaia Enterprises Inc. delivers 100% pet-safe and environmentally friendly winter products. Safe Paw, our flagship product, is the #1 selling pet-safe ice melt that does not harm pets, safe if ingested, and safe on all types of concrete.

The natural salt-free ice melts are non-toxic products that are also good for the environment and will not damage your surroundings.

Where Can I Get A Natural Ice Melt? 

100% salt free Safe Paw ice melt is easily available in the United States and Canada. 

You can get it from 

  • Amazon. 
  • Veterinary clinics 
  • Stores that sell pet supplies 
  • Chain grocers and drugstores

Get ready for winter with the ONLY Pet Safe Ice Melt you can trust


Salt-free natural ice melt will keep your pets and children without harming the environment. Moreover, it will not harm decking and is safe to use on asphalt, concrete, and pavers. A few of these ice melt solutions are highly effective even in -2 degrees and work instantly in getting rid of slippery ice.

The environment-safe ice melt is non-corrosive and keeps your water supplies free from contamination. Some of them also provide the Teflon effect by creating an unseen protective shell on your surface and keeping away ice from it for three days.

Try Our Other Winter Safety Products

Walk On Ice

Prevent slips at home, work or on the go, The handy disposable canister can be taken everywhere, with the same 100% naturally occurring minerals that provide instant traction on ice or snow.

Walk On Ice - Traction On Ice

Traction Magic

Stay safe on slippery surfaces with a product that’s 100% natural and safe for pets, people, and your property. Use Traction Magic on sidewalks, steps, or as instant traction for your car.

Traction Magic Concrete Safe Ice Melt

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