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The best salt mixes for cold temperatures

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. -- While many businesses were closed Monday, Mathew Luper, an employee with The Turf Boss, was in the parking lot hard at work, laying down salt.

"This is my second today," Luper said. "I’ve got a big ole’ list of stuff I’ve gotta do today.”

It’s been nonstop work for Luper since last weekend’s storm. As businesses try to keep their sidewalks clear, homeowners rush to do the same.

“We sold out of everything," said Gwen Maffei with Akard True Value Hardware in Zionsville. "We just got a shipment and we’re loading up the shelves now.”

Monday, Maffei was restocking the depleted supply at Akard True Value Hardware in Zionsville. Maffei says the store carries plenty of mixes, all with different ingredients.

"This has got no rock salt, this has got magnesium and potassium in it,” Maffei said as she showed off the pet friendly mix. While Maffei says all mixes are somewhat corrosive, some work better than others.

“The calcium chloride is probably one of the best," Maffei said. "It will melt at a lower temperature and it won’t be as corrosive as rock salt will be.”

Calcium chloride has the potential to still be effective anywhere from 15 below to nearly 30 degrees below zero. Other products like multipurpose sand can be effective as well, and are a good addition to the trunk of your car.

“If you can put this near the rear axle of your car, it’ll help weigh down the car and give you better traction in your car," Maffei said. "Then of course if you get stuck you just pop it open and you have the traction sand in your car.”

Maffei warns against buying play sand, which instead of providing traction will simply turn to mud. She also suggested mixing sand and a salt mix together, to both melt ice and provide traction. That would also save on salt use.

Even with temperatures in the single digits, Luper says his mixture with calcium chloride is doing pretty well, melting the ice and snow left behind from the weekend storm.

"I think so," Luper said of their work. "We haven’t had any issues.”

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