Close up of the rock salt to melt the ice on the asphalt

Did You Ever Wonder Why Road Salt is Blue (or maybe even Green, or Red)?

And why does it need color added to it?

Drab and Dull Winter has been getting more colorful!

Those who live in parts of the country that get significant snow and ice accumulations have known for a long time of the tremendous benefits of rock salt. Found in bags in just about every hardware store, and in huge mountains at municipal storage facilities, rock salt has always been there for us to help melt ice, provide footing and traction and generally make the bad stuff go away. We spread handfuls of salt over onto steps and walkways, while trucks and plows spread tons and tons of salt over parking lots, roads and highways.

But now, you are seeing much more colorful rock salt or brine solutions being used in many areas.

Did you ever wonder why road salt is blue?

Ice-Melt & De-Icing dyes aid in the visual identification of icy areas that have been treated. With safety being a primary concern in areas such as stairways, pedestrian sidewalks, parking lots, and industrial loading areas, colorant-treated ice melts help to minimize dangerous hazards. This is also true of colored rock salt being applied to roads and highways – you want to be sure that the salt is applied where it is supposed to be applied – and you can see if any ends up where it is not supposed to end up.

The use of brine solutions has also risen in the past few years – as an addition directly onto the rock salt, or as a pretreatment on roads and highways BEFORE a snow/ice event. Pretreatment keeps the ice/snow from initially building up quickly, while also allowing for easier snow removal once it starts coming down.

Brine solutions are also easier to apply, penetrates better into cracks and adheres better to road surfaces. Rock salt, by its nature, tends to bounce and end up in areas not intended for treatment.

The use of dyes to help in the visual aspects of brine or rock salt application have become more and more popular – even essential. The chemistry of rock salt differs greatly from the chemistry of brine solutions, so different colorant chemistries are required for best performance.

ORCO Road Salt Dyes

ORCO has developed a number of dye product lines that are engineered specifically for the different chemistries of ice-melt (rock salt or brine), application visibility, and even branding:

OrcoTint NS™ colorants are the preferred color ingredient in ice-melt/brine formulations as they have minimal or virtually no staining effects on concrete, asphalt, brick, wood, clothing, shoes, leather, & carpet. They are also highly concentrated, environmentally friendly to vegetation, easy-to-use, and visually appealing. These are typically used when wet blending rock salt with magnesium or calcium chloride solutions or in brine pretreatment solutions.

OrcoMelt™ dyes are economical and tinctorialy strong dyes suited for large volume road and industrial parking lot applications. They are typically used in dry blending with rock salts. They should NOT be used when liquid magnesium or calcium chloride solutions are present.

You can find out much more about our dyes for ice melt and snow melt application as well as view the available dye shades or you can contact our experts immediately with your questions.

So this winter, keep an eye out for “many new colors of winter” and if you want to bring color into YOUR ice-melt world, we are ready to help you.