Calcium Chloride vs. Magnesium Chloride

What's the Difference?

Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are both inorganic compounds that contain chloride ions. However, they differ in terms of their chemical composition and properties. Calcium chloride is composed of one calcium ion and two chloride ions, while magnesium chloride consists of one magnesium ion and two chloride ions. Calcium chloride is known for its hygroscopic nature, meaning it has the ability to absorb moisture from the air. It is commonly used as a desiccant and de-icing agent. On the other hand, magnesium chloride is often used as a supplement to provide the body with essential magnesium, which is important for various bodily functions. Additionally, magnesium chloride is known for its ability to improve the texture and taste of food products. Overall, while both compounds have their own unique properties and applications, they play different roles in various industries and fields.


AttributeCalcium ChlorideMagnesium Chloride
Chemical FormulaCaCl2MgCl2
Molar Mass110.98 g/mol95.21 g/mol
AppearanceWhite solidWhite solid
Solubility in WaterHighly solubleHighly soluble
Melting Point772 °C714 °C
Boiling Point1935 °C1412 °C
Common UsesDe-icing agent, food additive, concrete acceleratorDe-icing agent, food additive, mineral supplement

Further Detail


Calcium chloride (CaCl2) and magnesium chloride (MgCl2) are both inorganic salts that are commonly used for various applications. While they share some similarities, they also have distinct attributes that make them suitable for different purposes. In this article, we will explore and compare the attributes of calcium chloride and magnesium chloride, highlighting their chemical properties, uses, and potential benefits.

Chemical Properties

Both calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are hygroscopic compounds, meaning they have a strong affinity for water and readily absorb moisture from the atmosphere. However, calcium chloride has a higher hygroscopicity compared to magnesium chloride. This property makes calcium chloride more effective in dehumidifying and drying applications.

Another significant difference lies in their chemical formulas. Calcium chloride consists of one calcium ion (Ca2+) and two chloride ions (Cl-), while magnesium chloride contains one magnesium ion (Mg2+) and two chloride ions (Cl-). These differences in chemical composition contribute to variations in their physical and chemical properties.


Calcium Chloride:

  • De-icing and anti-icing agent: Calcium chloride is widely used for melting ice and snow on roads, walkways, and airport runways. Its ability to lower the freezing point of water makes it effective in preventing ice formation.
  • Food and beverage industry: Calcium chloride is used as a food additive, primarily for its ability to enhance firmness and texture in products like cheese, canned fruits, and vegetables.
  • Concrete and construction: Calcium chloride is added to concrete mixtures to accelerate the curing process, reduce setting time, and improve the overall strength and durability of the concrete.
  • Oil and gas industry: Calcium chloride is utilized in drilling fluids to increase density and control well pressure. It is also used for dust control on roads and in oilfield operations.
  • Desiccant: Due to its hygroscopic nature, calcium chloride is employed as a desiccant to absorb moisture and reduce humidity in various applications, including drying air in industrial processes and preserving moisture-sensitive products.

Magnesium Chloride:

  • De-icing agent: Magnesium chloride is commonly used as an alternative to calcium chloride for de-icing purposes. It is effective in melting ice and snow, even at lower temperatures.
  • Dust control: Magnesium chloride is applied to unpaved roads and construction sites to minimize dust generation and improve road stability.
  • Medicine and healthcare: Magnesium chloride is used in medical treatments and supplements due to its potential health benefits. It is believed to aid in muscle relaxation, promote cardiovascular health, and support bone density.
  • Textile industry: Magnesium chloride is utilized in textile manufacturing processes, such as dyeing and printing, to improve color fastness and enhance fabric quality.
  • Agriculture: Magnesium chloride is sometimes used as a fertilizer to provide essential nutrients to plants, particularly magnesium, which is crucial for chlorophyll production and overall plant growth.

Potential Benefits

Calcium Chloride:

  • Effective de-icer: Calcium chloride's ability to lower the freezing point of water makes it highly efficient in melting ice and snow, ensuring safer road conditions during winter.
  • Improved concrete strength: The addition of calcium chloride to concrete mixtures accelerates the curing process, resulting in faster construction timelines and enhanced structural integrity.
  • Enhanced food preservation: Calcium chloride helps maintain the texture and firmness of various food products, extending their shelf life and reducing spoilage.
  • Reduced dust and improved air quality: Calcium chloride's desiccant properties make it effective in controlling dust on roads and construction sites, reducing particulate matter in the air and improving overall air quality.
  • Industrial applications: The hygroscopic nature of calcium chloride makes it valuable in industrial processes that require moisture control, such as gas drying, refrigeration, and chemical manufacturing.

Magnesium Chloride:

  • Environmentally friendly de-icer: Magnesium chloride is considered more environmentally friendly than calcium chloride, as it has a lower impact on vegetation and aquatic life.
  • Health benefits: Magnesium chloride supplements are believed to support various health benefits, including muscle relaxation, stress reduction, improved sleep quality, and cardiovascular health.
  • Improved textile quality: The use of magnesium chloride in textile manufacturing processes enhances color fastness, resulting in vibrant and long-lasting fabrics.
  • Plant nutrition: Magnesium chloride can be used as a fertilizer to provide essential magnesium to plants, promoting healthy growth and chlorophyll production.
  • Cost-effective dust control: Magnesium chloride is a cost-effective solution for dust control on unpaved roads and construction sites, reducing the need for frequent maintenance and improving road stability.


While calcium chloride and magnesium chloride share some similarities as inorganic salts, they have distinct attributes that make them suitable for different applications. Calcium chloride's higher hygroscopicity and effectiveness as a de-icer, concrete additive, and desiccant make it valuable in various industries. On the other hand, magnesium chloride's environmental friendliness, health benefits, and applications in dust control, textiles, and agriculture provide unique advantages. Understanding the specific properties and uses of these compounds allows for informed decision-making when selecting the most appropriate option for a particular purpose.

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