Aaaaaargh! Salt!

It’s that time of year when we all start thinking ahead to icy paths, slips and slides.

And the magic word is “salt”.

When your local council “grits” the roads, it’s actually salting the roads. And maybe you’ve noticed that the gritters get sent out BEFORE things freeze up. And maybe you’ve noticed that when there’s a covering of snow on the ground, the councils send out snow ploughs, not gritter lorries.

And have you wondered why there’s so much publicity about cleaning the underside of your car in winter?

Fact is, salt’s corrosive!

Sprinkle it on top of ice for all you like. Rather, save yourself a lot of cash and buy a bag of grit sand or sharp sand from your local builders’ merchant (simply because the builders’ versions are usually cheaper than the horticultural versions).

But back to salt. A few simple facts:

If salt washes off your paths onto your lawn or flower borders, it’ll kill anything green it touches (remember the days when salt was a weedkiller? It still is but it’s illegal!)

Salt corrodes aluminium (lots of cars have lots of aluminium these days). And your expensive carpets and laminate flooring will suffer. There’s a school of thought that says it attacks PVCu too. Bang goes your double glazing or PVCu front door if they get splashed. And if you have a concrete drive or pathway it goes for those too.

It can kill cats and dogs. Salt irritates their paws. They lick it off. It can cause dehydration, kidney problems and a lot more.

So if you want to use salt, you need to use it before anything falls on it. It won’t eat through ice. And, if it’s raining when you apply the salt, it’ll wash away.

One of the top selling salt thingies is the “Salt Stick”. This is about a yard long and contains about 1.5Kg of salt. It’ll cost you anything between £3 and £10 (though paying more than £6 means you’re robbed). Sprinkle it on top of your icy path. Then walk back up the icy path in through your front door. Then, if you’ve got any sense, wash your hall carpet (and repeat wash after any visitors).

If you’re doing anything after the event, grit sand or sharp sand is the way to go. It vacuums up from your carpets easily too.

If you want an “after the event” solution, invest in an ice-melt product. Now lots of products call themselves ice-melt but I’m talking about something which doesn’t contain salt, doesn’t kill your adjacent lawn or flowers, doesn’t kill your pets and doesn’t damage your carpets.

Have a look at OK, a 25Kg sack’s going to cost you £33 plus £6 delivery (get together with neighbours to bring the cost down) but remember ice-melt-25kgthat works out at £1.56 a kilo. That salt stick I talked about earlier is at least £2 a kilo before delivery. And if you don’t use the 25Kg this year, it’ll keep. Just tie the bag with some of that green wire stuff you’ve got in your garden shed. And remember it works on top (salt doesn’t) as well as underneath; it won’t harm your pets or your carpet or your plants.

[Info: I haven’t received any incentive to write this review. Unlike some web sites, I write reviews on the basis of what I think, not what I’m paid to write!)