Global shortages of rock salt and calcium chloride, as well as other types of ice melt, have had a dramatic effect on the removal of snow and ice on both a public and private level. Business owners and property owners have to pay a premium for the product, and municipalities’ supplies often don’t last through the winter.
Luckily for you, many innovative people looking for low-cost substitutes have had some luck in the last place you’d expect: pickle juice and cheese brine. These two cheap methods provide great results, usually at a fraction of the price. If you’re fed up with prices or tired of ice melt eating away at your concrete, check out these new options.
Working With Other Chemicals
The thought of pickle juice and cheese brine as a prohibitive method of snow accumulation is often misconstrued. Many people believe these two products melt snow. However, this isn’t how it works. What it actually does is act as a base for other chemicals. Cities that use this method add other chemicals such as magnesium to the mix. The brine or juice helps raise the melting point, while the magnesium begins to melt the snow and prevent it from icing over.
Similar Salt Content
Image via Flickr by KOMUnews
Other places throughout the country don’t add salt to their mix, but instead rely on the natural saltiness of the brine. This does two things. One, it prevents the added cost of salt, and two, it lowers the effect to the surrounding pavement. Many snow removal businesses and public works also try to find the saltiest cheese brine to promote more profound effects. These companies found that mozzarella and provolone brine provide the best results due to their high salt content. Pickle juice also has a high salt content, and thus works just as effectively.
Disadvantages Compared to Traditional Alternatives
Pickle juice and cheese brine have relatively few disadvantages. However, buying bulk quantities often provides a problem unless you have the storage space or a source. Spreading it might be a problem for homeowners unless you have a spreader that can handle the snow. Plus, in heavy snowfall, you may have to remove the snow before you put down a layer of brine. Even so, it’s still a very effective and low-cost way to melt ice and snow. For large areas like parking lots, it’s more effective to hire a professional, especially if you don’t have the proper equipment.
Pickle juice and cheese brine aren’t the only two methods to pop up over the past several years. In fact, many places use their local food products to combat the weather. In Washington, D.C., the city uses beet juice, while in Massachusetts, they use molasses. Both of these products are readily available in their respective areas and work much the same as pickle juice and cheese brine, but they’re much cheaper.
The next time snow hits your neighborhood, give this alternative method a try. You’ll find the results absolutely amazing.