How Salt Works

The Salt Mines in Northern Ireland extract up to half a million tonnes of rock salt grit every year for use on the roads all over Ireland and  
the UK and even as far as the USA. The Rock Salt Grit is more than 90% pure Sodium Chloride (salt) with the remaining insolubles being  
mostly Marl (mudstone or siltstone). This Marl helps improve traction under foot and between the wheels of vehicles and the highway. It is  
preferred by the Road Service for de-icing the public highways - over 2 million tonnes are spread on UK roads every year.

How Salt Works

Salt works by lowering the melting point of ice. When salt mixes with water or moisture, it creates a saline solution (salty water). In the  
same way as it needs to be really cold for seawater to freeze, this saline solution will freeze at a lower point than fresh water. The  
temperature at which it freezes will depend on the salinity of the water (how salty it is).

Does salt work on snow?

Salt will not directly melt snow. It needs to mix with water or moisture to create a saline solution which will in turn melt snow. The Road  
Service often tells us that the roads have been gritted but it takes cars to drive through the snow to mix up the salt and snow and  
moisture to help with the melting process.

Is it better to put salt down before or after snow?

Scattering salt on top of snow will have a limited effect. There needs to be a salt saline mix on the ground for the snow to land on and in  
turn melt. The salt will reduce the chance of the snow freezing to the ground. If there are heavy falls of snow, the snow will simply lie on  
top of the snow. The snow will need to be cleared away (ploughed or pushed) and salt spread on the ground to reduce the build up of ice.

Can I keep my salt for next year?

Rock Salt has been forming in the ground for hundreds of millions of years. Of course it is best that it is kept somewhere dry so it does not  
dissolve but if it is stored properly, in its sealed bags preferably, then it should definitely keep for another year if it is not used this winter.  
There is an anti-caking agent added to the salt which works by preventing it from clumping together even it does get wet.

Which salt works better - white salt or brown salt?

Both are relatively equally effective providing the salt content is the same. White is preferred by some as it cant be seen and doesn't stain  
the snow. The Rock Salt Grit is preferred for providing better traction under foot.

Where does the salt come from?

Our brown Rock Salt Grit is mined at the Belfast Lough. Our white salt is usually European, Turkish or Egyptian marine salt although this may  
change from year to year.
Belfast Salt Company Ltd
o3 Group
Forsyth House
Cromac Square
Co. NI 49766
VAT. 833 1584 34
[email protected]
028 9002 2468
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Keep up to date with regular updates on winter information, weather forecasts, winter products and special offers
Keep up to date with regular updates on winter information, weather forecasts, winter products and special offers
Belfast Salt Company Ltd. Forsyth House, Cromac Square, Belfast. BT2 8LA. Northern Ireland. 028 9002 2468.