I mean the stuff that our state uses on highways: big, irregular
yellowish crystals. They always seem to be slightly wet.
I come away from Googling with the impression that as long as the
humidity is over 75%, road salt will be absorbing water.
I've got a couple of 5-gallon buckets of it that I am saving for next
winter and wonder if it is worth leaving the buckets uncovered for a few
weeks of lower-humidity weather in hopes of drying it out.
Does the stuff dry out? Or is the water adsorption a one-way street?
In open air it'll just form a solid mass anywhere except AZ desert-like
area. You can dry it of course, but only w/ an _extremely_ dry
environment. A hot attic during the summer would be a good example if
it's not on the coast where humidities are high year-round, anyways.
I used to see it stored outside and I would not be shocked if they wet
it down before they spread it anyway so it wouldn't be clumped up and
it would feed better in the spreader.
When I was in Maryland I helped a salt truck guy get unstuck and he
gave me a 30 gallon can of salt but it ended up being a 30 gallon
solid rock by the next year. I chipped away with it with a hatchet for
a couple seasons until it was all gone.
The DOT guys I know down here in Florida will not be much help with
road salt tips.
They used to sell bags of CaCl, I think it was, to hang in the closet
with one's clothes to keep the closet dry. Try to find the instructions
for using that. I had a bag, and iirc the instructions said that to
dry it out to put it in the oven at a particular temp (not so hight the
cloth bag fell apart or burned up) for a length of time, in the hours
iirc, and that woudl dry it out.
They still have little bags of "that stuff????" that come shipped with
electronics and cameras.
I had a flooded basement that started to smell of mold, so I bought a 50
pound bag of salt of some sort, at a janitorial supply store. I took a
plastic bucket and some of that brown masonite-like stfuff with the
filligree holes in it, that was hot stuff in the '50's, and I cut a
piece to divide the bucket vertically. I put the salt in one side of
the bucket and I put the bucket where I smelled mold. The next day
there was an inch of water in the bottom, probably on both sides, but I
could see it and when it was fuller, puur it out from the side that was
Strangely, the smell disappeared only where hte bucket was. I actually
noticed the smell more when I was walking up the basment steps, so I put
the bucket on a step. In a day or two, the smell was gone from that
step, but I could still smell it on the others. I had to put the bucket
on each step in turn. What's stranger is that my nose was about 5
feet higher than the bucket, but it still worked this way. I poured
out a lot of water, maybe put in salt a second time. Eventually I got
rid of all the smell and I gave most of the bag to a gas station I
thought might need it. A 50 pound bag was still a lot cheaper than a
whole bunch of 4 oz. bags.
Calcium chloride is not only hygroscopic it is deliquescent:
Road salt is mostly sodium chloride - not hygroscopic. If you use it,
best to keep off concrete as it degrades it.
I don't get it either. I guess it was road salt. That's something
that a janitorial supply house would have too, for siidewalks and
parking lots. It was absorbing the water from the air.
When my basement flooded, I coudln't throw away everything that got wet.
Most of it was cardboard boxes that sat on the floor and held things.
It took a long time to find stronger than average boxes in the sizes I
needed. So I just let them dry out. None of the boxes every showed any
mold or ever smelled bad -- I still have most of them --, but they
probably kept the humidity level in the basement higher than normal.
So the mold started growing on a sheet rock wall, that was painted
white. When I found the black stuff (behind a dresser I used for tools)
I used bleach to kill the mold. The black area stopped getting bigger,
so the mold must have been dead. I thought the black area would change
to white again, but that must have come from watching too many wolfman
movies. When I realized it woudln't turn white on it's own, I painted
it white, having added mold "suppressor" or whatever it's called, to the
Yet the basement smelled bad, even to me, and I'm not very picky.
Now that I think about it, I'd probably had the bucket in the middle of
the room for a couple weeks or more, water filling up the otherwise
empty side, and periodically I'd dump the water, salty water I guess (it
certainly wasn't clear and transparent), in the laundry tub and it would
go down the drain.
And I'm sure I added more salt to the bucket, probably twice, and iirc
the smell in the main part of the basement went away, but it still
smelled when I started to walk up the stairs. The floor is either
cement or vinyl tiles, but the stairs are carpeted, with padding, and I
had no idea what the carpet might have absorbed. But the real amazing
thing was what I said. I'd put the bucket on a step for one, two days,
or even if it was 3 or 4, and the smell would go away when I stood on
that step, with my nose 5 feet above the carpet. I think maybe then I
moved the bucket two steps up, but later I had to go back and put the
bucket on the step I skipped, to get rid of the smell when I stood on
I don't get it, but it's confirmed my pre-existing habit of trying all
sorts of remedies, even if I don't think they have any good reason to
There are more than one chemical used in road salt.
Sodium chloride is minimally hygro, calcium chloride
is very hygro.
Not clear if it's sodium or calcium. Used to be a salt
mine in our state, in Retsof, but not sure that mine is
active. Some concerns about runoff and ground water. Our
state also has a lot of rusted out vehicles.
Christopher A. Young
learn more about Jesus
Keep it under roof, like a shed or garage. If it's already wet, chances
are it will be a huge clump.
Your State may be using Moroccan salt. Some States barged over hundreds
of thousands of tons, since a shortage was anticipated. Most if not all
States spec out their salt size, but this salt from Morocco is huge. I
just hauled some Moroccan salt from the Great Lakes area, even tho there
are salt mines under the lakes! I did notice the salt appeared to wet.
And no, it's not supposed to be wet, that is what activates it. That's
another subject, but trucks have a pre-wetting system on them, which can
be filled with brine/beet juice/ or calcium. There's a whole slew of
new liquid products on the market for pre-wetting.
The pre-wetting is just so the salt doesn't bounce around as much. In
Ontario, the provincial system no longer uses pre-wet, since we assume
the roads are wet with snow or frozen rain when the salt is dropped.
Um no it isn't. It's a tool to manage deicing. Brine to prewet is used
at 20+ degrees, Beet-Heat is used down to 10 degrees, and liquid calcium
is for under 10 degrees. The spinner speed along with the speed of the
truck, which both help control bounce. To say pre-wetting is _JUST_ for
control of bounce is a WAG and nothing more. You adjust the system to
put down 5 to 8 gallons of liquid for every ton of material. If you
haven't seen how quick you can deice with settings set to pump 25 to 40
gallons per ton, then you really don't have an idea of what you're
With over 15 years of experience and constant training, I believe I know
a bit about managing storms.
Regardless of your experience, this is the provincial policy in Ontario.
The only trucks that run any liquid are the DLA trucks, which run on dry
roads, but rarely (usually in the beginning and end of the season).
Yes, a WAG. You can look up the facts on the net.
Think of it this way. Not all snow melts the same unless the conditions
are identical. The colder the temperature, the more salt is needed to
melt the snow. You have to take into consideration winds, air
temperature, road temperature, & snow fall. You either throw a bunch of
salt at it, or use an additive, which is cheaper and faster acting than
salt alone. You take into consideration bridges and ramps, which freeze
quicker than an expressway and are treated differently than an
expressway surface. You take into consideration traffic, which helps
keep the roadway more clear than an rarely traveled rural road. Each of
our trucks have air/road temp gauges. We have a host of information
readily available at our finger tips for bridge temps/frost/frozen,
traffic conditions (if they're in the green/yellow/red areas for
movement). So you see, pre-wetting is not _JUST_ for bounce.
The trucks you are trying to explain are no doubt brining or what is
commonly called pre-treating. I operate a 5,000 gallon semi-tanker with
a unit built in Canada for pre-treating.
After googling WAG, the only definition that came up is Wives and
Girlfriends, which I could have answered anyways. Still doesn't make
sense in context.
You are correct that it is an over-generalization, but why does it
bother you so much that I wrote it?
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.