What is a Salt Spreader?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2019
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A salt spreader is much like a fertilizer spreader. Typically found in walk-behind or vehicle-mounted versions, the salt spreader is used to evenly dispatch rock salt on icy and slippery areas. Sidewalks, parking lots and driveways are common areas where a salt spreader can be used to prevent the dangerous buildup of ice and snow. In commercial snow-removal applications, the use of a salt spreader is often available at an added cost. Many areas that are subjected to icy and snowy weather conditions utilize large trucks equipped with a salt spreader to clear highways and roads.

Airports all over the world are equipped with a salt spreader to maintain the runways in the event of snow and ice. Once the salt has been applied to the runway or roadway, it continues to work for a long time. Salt spread on one area of a highway is spread along even greater distances by the vehicles traveling on the roadway. Tire treads pick up small particles of salt and carry them down the road only to release them later. This aids an area in the ice prevention task by saving fuel in the salt spreader truck while still covering large areas of roadway with the ice remover.


Some areas of the world are beginning to use a liquid-type salt spreader in lieu of the crystal or granule types of salt. The liquid-type spreader distributes several small streams of liquid chloride or salt brine on the surface of the roadway. The liquid is also easily spread by vehicle tires and is believed to do a better job of removing and preventing ice than crystallized salt. This technology is also being applied to liquid sugar spreaders, which are believed to be as effective as salt- in ice-prevention applications. By using sugar refined from locally grown sources such as sugar beets, the cost of ice removal is also reduced in many areas.

Often combined with sand, salt placed on a roadway through a salt spreader allows many areas that would otherwise become impassible to remain open and active during snow-filled winter weather months. The sand spread with the salt provides instant traction enhancement while the salt begins to dissolve the icy buildup on the roadway. Even areas that are equipped with plow trucks and road scrapers cannot completely rid a roadway of ice. Salt is one of the more effective ice-fighting products that highway maintenance crews typically have at their disposal.


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