What is the Difference Between Anti-Icing and Deicing?

pine tree covered in snow

What is the Difference Between Anti-Icing and Deicing?

This is another question that we get at GLC. Hope this helps clear things up!


Anti-Icing is a proactive approach—should be first in a series of strategies for each winter storm. By applying a small and strategic amount of liquid before a storm, you can prevent snow and ice from bonding to the pavement.

This also gives your crews a reaction time to a storm event. It allows crews to get into the shop, load their trucks and get out to there routes prior to the lanes becoming icy causing accidents.


Deicing is a reactive operation where a deicer is applied to the top of an accumulation of snow, ice, or frost that has already bonded to the pavement surface and can no longer be physically removed. Deicing costs more than anti-icing in materials, time, equipment, and environmental damage. Deicing is the “traditional” approach to winter maintenance.

Anti-icing with a planned transition to De-icing during a storm event can reduce accidents, which improves service levels, as well as reducing clean up cost and the end of the storm.