Salt Resources

Read and pass along WI Salt Wise brochures - Applicators Handout

Get a Grip
on Salt

While salt certainly can make roads more navigable, it's important to keep in mind that moderation is key. The salt you spread does not simply disappear, and the amount you put down may be costing extra money and doing more harm than good.

Employ the Best Salting Practices

There are many ways you can change the way you go about winter maintainence:

  • Always use mechanical methods first (Shovels, Plows, Blowers & Scrapers) to clear snow and ice before even thinking about using chemical means.
  • Integrate certain practices into your operations:
    • Calibrate equipment.
    • Properly store materials.
    • Base deicing decision on pavement temperatures.
    • Pick the proper deicer for the condition.
    • Use application rate tables.
    • Use liquid deicers.
  • More salt does not mean increased melting. Research shows that heavy salt use in an area does not melt ice more efficiently. Use equipment with calibrated spreaders with automatic controls to maintain a lower salt spread. Use the DCI Map to find out how much salt you actually need.
  • Apply at the right place and time. Curves, bridges, overpasses and shaded areas are most vulnerable to icy conditions. Applying before a storm hits and using a brine treatment can reduce the actual amount of salt applied.
  • Use the free winter maintenance training manuals.
  • Attend a training course on winter maintenance. The course will help you understand winter maintenance efficiency, and you can seek certification that will demonstrate to your clients that you work for their safety and for the protection of our lakes, streams and drinking water. Learn more about workshops.
  • Develop a plan and evaluate and edit client contracts to decrease salt use requirements.
    • Consider adding a consumer/contractor checklist that includes when to plow, when to use deicers, how much deicer to use, which areas are high priority, etc.
  • Require certification through permits for private contractors.
  • Use the correct chemical method.

Speed of Melting

Will the road salt you apply have time to work, or is it time to switch to a different deicer? This chart will aid you in making that decision.

Pavement Temp F

One Pound of Salt (NaCl) Melts




46.3 lbs of ice
14.4 lbs of ice
8.6 lbs of ice
6.3 lbs of ice

4.9 lbs of ice
4.1 lbs of ice
3.7 lbs of ice
3.2 lbs of ice

5 min.
10 min.
20 min.
60 min.

Dry salt is ineffective and will blow away before it melts anything

Don't use road salt below 15 F. You are wasting money and time

Salt for Safety

The residue from winter maintenance doesn’t go away, and communities are starting to take notice of the negative effects over-application can cause. Wisconsinites care deeply for their natural resources, and research shows that road salt is accumulating in our lakes, rivers, groundwater and drinking water supplies. Studies show about half of this accumulation is traced back to applications on sidewalks and parking lots.

Overusing salt not only breaks down infrastructure, damages vegetation and takes a toll on our aquatic life, but it also causes you and your company to appear indifferent to our environment’s future. Using less salt and using it correctly will improve your efficiency, accuracy and performance. It will also save you money, impress your customers and protect our lakes, rivers and drinking water.

Utilize the DCI Map online tool to measure the areas you are looking to apply ice melting products:

  1. Turn on a base map (right side): “Imagery 2014” to see an aerial photo of the lots and roads, or “Streets” to see the street name.
  2. Zoom to the location you are interested in using the + to the left, and the hand tool to move around.
  3. Pick the tape measure on the top.
  4. Set the measurement to polygon or rectangle (shapes).
  5. Set the measurement to square feet and feet.
  6. Draw the area.
  7. Once you double click, your area and perimeter are shown near your shape.

Use the square foot of your lot or length of your route with the application charts to calculate the type and amount of product to apply.