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​The Battle of the Salts

​The Battle of the Salts

Posted by Lisa Pieraccini on 19th Jan 2024

White Salt vs. Brown Salt in Winter Gritting

As we have been experiencing extreme winter weather throughout the UK we thought we’d give a special mention to de-icing salts and their crucial role in keeping our roads and walkways safe during icy conditions.

In the UK alone, a staggering two million tonnes of salt are annually spread to ward off winter hazards, emphasizing the importance of understanding the key differences between white de-icing salt and its grittier counterpart, brown salt.

Two Varieties of Salt: White vs Brown:

The primary question that often arises in the context of winter gritting is, "What distinguishes white de-icing salt from brown salt (commonly known as 'grit')?"

It’s not just the colour that different. Brown salt, or 'rock salt,' is sourced from salt mines in the UK, undergoing minimal processing. Brown salt contains sodium chloride, but because it is mined it also contains sand, dirt, grit, and other earthy elements. While it provides enhanced traction on slippery roads, the downside is a messier aftermath with mud and residue left in its wake, which isn’t ideal for all environments.

On the other hand, white salt is a marine salt harvested by drying saltwater. With a purity exceeding 99% sodium chloride, white salt does not contain any of the impurities found in brown salt. This results in a more aesthetically pleasing solution that leaves minimal mess behind.

Brown or White Salt?

Both de-icing salts are effective de-icers.

Highway and local authorities, including councils and transport agencies, often opt for brown salt due to its cost-effectiveness and widespread availability.

Contractors responsible for maintaining office or supermarket car parks tend to choose white salt for its precise spreading capabilities and the clean finish it provides.

Why WE Love White Salt:

One of the notable advantages lies in the cleanliness of white salt. Compared to its brown counterpart, which contains 5-7.5% dirt, white salt boasts less than 0.15% dirt content. This significant difference translates into a cleaner application, with less residue left on roads and walkways.

The implications are not merely aesthetic; they extend to environmental considerations. Brown grit's higher dirt content results in more extensive street cleaning efforts and increased waste runoff into the drainage systems.

Peacock Turfscape is part of the Peacock Salt family. Peacock Salt is the UK’s leading importer of white salt and is a prominent supplier for various sectors, including local government, contractors, businesses and individuals. You can purchase both types of salt from us here.

BUY WHITE SALT                                                          BUY BROWN SALT