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The Ultimate Green De-icing Guide for Aircraft Owners

A guide to green de-icing for aircraft owners, full of tips and advice to help you learn how to stay safe and airborne in winter without polluting your local environment.

aircraft green deicing

Welcome to our updated guide to green de-icing tips for aircraft owners

To comply with safety standards aviation-grade de-icers have to be strong. You can’t simply go down the garage and pick out a bottle of de-icer or use gritting salt like you would have seen on the roads.

However, making these products effective and compliant with aviation safety standards comes with additional problems. Not least of which, is that the chemicals used in many de-icers can have a negative impact on the local environment.

Before we get into that though, we want to highlight another couple of issues. First, that chloride salts – which are widely used in road de-icers – can be corrosive, which for obvious reasons is a big no when it comes to aircraft de-icing.

Secondly, the holdover time is another serious consideration. This is the time after the initial de-icing that ice may start to form again.

As this is generally something you would want to avoid there are additional procedures and products, including anti-icing products, that are necessary and again have to comply with aviation-grade safety standards.

Why use a green de-icer?

It has been found that run-off from airport de-icers have been the cause of the contamination of nearby streams and environments. These build-ups of chemicals are highly toxic to animals and plant life.

Green deicers take this into account and utilise specially formulated products to have as minimal an environmental impact as possible.

How do I choose the right de-icer?

Careful research is required before the purchase of any de-icing products to ensure that the product is CAA approved. On top of this, you should always purchase from reputable suppliers and trusted brands.

Your key considerations when choosing which product is the right one for your needs should be:

  • Does it come from a reputable and well-established supplier?
  • Is it environmentally friendly?
  • Does it comply with aviation safety standards?

What makes de-icing products so toxic?

The key active chemicals in many aviation de-icers are glycols. Glycols and other deicing chemicals work by forming a solvent and essentially lowering the freezing point of the water they come into contact with. The main components are usually propylene glycol or ethylene glycol.

Ethylene glycol has been the standard for anti-freezes and deicers for years because of its low cost. It is a liquid with a freezing point of -13°C, and it can lower the freezing point of water to about -50°C, depending on dilution.

Ethylene glycol is highly toxic when ingested. It depresses the central nervous system and can be fatal to animals and even humans in small quantities.

Airports use thousands of litres of anti-freeze and deicer on a single aircraft, much of which isn’t recaptured, and can build up in substantial quantities in the soil or in streams.

Propylene glycol, on the other hand, is essentially non-toxic. It is similar in appearance but actually also outperforms ethylene glycol in several ways. For example, it can lower the freezing point of water to about -60°C, again depending on dilution.

Green Chela aviation-grade de-icing products

For all aviation standard liquid de-icers, Chela designs and manufactures everything you need. These products are designed to help the aviation and transport industry operate optimally even in severe weather conditions.


Clearway 3 is an aviation approved non-corrosive and environmentally friendly de-icer/anti-icer liquid. It has been tested to comply with AMS 1435a aviation standards.

Clearway 3 can even be applied in close proximity to water run-offs as its low BOD qualities make it non-hazardous to aquatic life.


Iceblast SF is an environmentally safe anti-icing and de-icing aviation approved runway solid.

It is an effective high-performance deicer that can also be used other specialist applications, for example, road bridge de-icing.

IceBlast SF is a solid sodium formate based de-icer and anti-icer. It contains no glycols, urea or triazoles. It is formulated with corrosion inhibitors and conforms to material compatibility tests according to AMS 1431.


Clearway 6s is industry-leading and widely used throughout the UK aviation industry. The Clearway 6s combines exceptional de-icing performance while retaining all-important positive environmental qualities.

Clearway can even be applied in close proximity to water run-offs as its low BOD qualities make it non-hazardous to aquatic life.

For more information or product enquiries get in contact and we can find the right product for you.

Photo by Brandon Pierson