During the dark and cold winter months, the last thing you want to do is clear your driveway of ice and snow. Even though rock salt gets used to melting ice quickly, it’s not always readily available when temperatures drop. What should one do then?
There are several ways you can get rid of ice on your driveway, for example:
- Hire A Snow Removal Service
- Utilize A Strong De-Icer
- Use Magnesium Chloride
- Use A Shovel And The Sun
- Using Pickle Brine To Melt Ice
- Remove Ice With Rubbing Alcohol
- And more
To learn more about how to remove ice from your driveway effectively and efficiently, read on. We’ll also talk about some other things like what to do if you have a gravel driveway, what NOT to do to remove ice, and more. Let’s first talk about how to use the various methods…
#1: Hire A Snow Removal Service
After a severe winter storm that has dumped over a foot of snow, the task of shoveling can be daunting. Consider employing a snow removal service to clear your driveway and walking paths rather than tackling the large snowdrifts yourself.
Most snow removal services utilize vehicle-mounted snow plows and industrial-grade snow blowers to remove snow. These devices will make short work of your frozen snow and cost significantly less than a snowblower.
#2: Utilize A Strong De-Icer Before Shoveling The Snow
Before beginning to shovel, apply a high-quality de-icer to the snow, (I like this one from Amazon as it’s also pet and child friendly).
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Avoid using rock salt to de-ice your driveway, as it is ineffective at low temperatures and harmful to plants and animals. Instead, choose a plant-safe, animal-safe de-icer that functions at significantly lower temperatures than traditional salt.
Here’s how to use it correctly and effectively:
- Spread this plant- and animal-friendly de-icer on the snow before beginning to shovel.
- This de-icer is effective at temperatures as low as -2°F (-19°C), 17 degrees below the temperature at which rock salt becomes ineffective.
- Allow the de-icer two to three hours to soften the snow, then begin shoveling.
Allowing the de-icer to work for two to three hours before beginning to shovel will give the de-icer time to penetrate the ice formed on the snow’s surface. It will be much simpler to bury your shovel in this softer snow.
#3: How To Remove Ice With Magnesium Chloride
Magnesium chloride is a common household item in the Northeast. And for a good reason. It can effectively melt ice at temperatures as low as 5°F (-15 degrees Celsius) and can handle moderate to substantial ice accumulations with ease.
In addition, magnesium chloride is a more eco-friendly and animal-friendly alternative to its calcium chloride counterpart.
Purchase magnesium chloride pellets rather than flakes for optimal results. You can find it on Amazon here.
Simply spread the pellets over icy paths until their distribution is roughly uniform. As the magnesium chloride pellets penetrate the ice, the chemical components melt the ice and your winter troubles!
#4: Use A Shovel And The Sun
The sun and a shovel are a tried-and-true combination, albeit not the most entertaining or time-efficient. The sooner you begin digging, the better off you’ll be.
Remove as much snow from the driveway as quickly as possible to prevent people from walking on it. It becomes more difficult to remove when people walk on snow and is more hazardous.
By shoveling early, the sun has ample time to melt any remaining snow, preventing the formation of black ice. You will need to shovel every morning throughout the season for this method to be effective. However, if you are consistent, it can keep the driveway free of dangerous ice.
#5: Using Pickle Brine To Melt Ice
New Jersey and other states are experimenting with pickle brine. Yes, pickle brine, which functions similarly to plain saltwater. Like traditional rock salt, brine can melt ice at temperatures as low as -6 degrees Fahrenheit (-21 degrees Celsius). And it surpasses salt in another way: This substance prevents snow and ice from adhering to the pavement, making it easier to chip away and remove!
#6: How To Remove Ice With Rubbing Alcohol
Alcohol may get listed as an ingredient on the packaging of many commercial de-icers. Because of its extremely low freezing point, a 70% rubbing alcohol solution is an ideal de-icer. The lower the freezing point, the less likely your accumulated precipitation will refreeze into a dangerous ice rink.
This particular solution is quick and straightforward to create yourself. Here’s how:
- Pour half a gallon of hot water, one-fourth cup of rubbing alcohol, and approximately six drops of dish soap into a bucket.
- Once everything is combined, the solution gets applied to the driveway. The snow should begin to bubble and melt.
- However, you will still need a shovel to remove any remaining snow. Additionally, a larger driveway may necessitate a larger batch of the mixture.
Why does this basic combination work? According to Jeff Rossen, an NBC News National Investigative Correspondent and host of Rossen Reports, rubbing alcohol freezes at a lower temperature than water (128°F below 0), speeding up the melting process and preventing the surface from entering icing up in the future.
Additionally, he suggests pouring the mixture into a spray bottle and using it to defrost your vehicle’s windows.
#7: Radiant Heating Technique
Radiant heating is the most comprehensive method of permanently eliminating the inconvenience of snowy driveways. If you have a radiant heating system in your driveway, you will never have to worry about snow or ice again. Instead, your driveway will perform all of the work.
Automatic radiant heating systems for driveways are of superior quality. They monitor precipitation, temperature, and humidity so that driveways remain devoid of snow and ice throughout the season.
In addition, radiant heating systems for driveways are installed beneath the concrete or pavers, making them aesthetically pleasing throughout the year. A 750-square-foot system will cost approximately $7,500.
#8: Portable Snow Melting Mats
Typically, portable snow melting mats get used on walkways and entryways, but they also get installed on driveways. You can store the mats in your garage and place them on your driveway when necessary.
However, they can get somewhat cumbersome to move and require considerable garage space. Nevertheless, the mats are a popular and effective alternative to rock salt and shoveling, though their use can minorly impact curb appeal.
#9: Purchase A Snow blower
A snow blower could be the ideal alternative to shoveling the driveway or paying someone else. A snow blower allows you to remove snow from your driveway without the need for rock salt or a shovel.
There are various snow blowers, each with its capabilities, so you’ll want to select one that can handle the amount of snow you need to move on snowy mornings. I really like this one on Amazon as it’s really easy to maneuver compared to others on the market.
#10: How To Remove Ice With Kitty Litter
The cat is out of the bag for pet-owning homeowners! Kitty litter is an effective way to prevent slips, falls, and other winter spills. While kitty litter is not technically a de-icer, it can help you gain traction on slippery surfaces by increasing friction.
If you’re in a hurry and can’t wait for the ice to melt, sprinkle a substantial amount of non-clumping kitty litter by hand over an icy sidewalk or in the tire tracks in your driveway.
With these granules spread out, your footing on the slippery ice will become more secure. You don’t have a cat at home, or you’ve run out of cat litter? You can substitute with sand, wood chips, sawdust, or fireplace ash if you have them on hand.
#11: How To Melt Ice On Your Walkway Or Stairs
When you need to remove ice from your stairs quickly, combine equal parts boiling water and rubbing alcohol, then pour it on the stairs. This mixture will melt ice and prevent refreezing of water.
You will achieve the fastest ice-melting results by avoiding rock salt and other traditional de-icers. Instead, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, and other plants- and animal-safe de-icers are ideal for rapidly removing ice from stairs.
If the snowfall is enough to cause your steps to be covered, do not simply apply more de-icer on top of them. Instead, use a snow shovel or push broom as an alternative for snow removal. Then, a de-icer should get applied to the icy stairs. The de-icer will melt snow and ice more quickly with a few inches of snow removed first.
Removing Snow From A Gravel Driveway
Gravel driveways can be aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective, and simple to install, among many other advantages. However, when snow begins to fall, you must take special precautions…
First, attempt to establish a foundation of about 2 inches [5cm]. Now that the gravel is covered, the issue of picking up some, regardless if you shovel, blow, or scrape, is essentially eliminated.
Shoveling becomes difficult if you get heavy snowfall during the winter because the snow cannot get thrown over the banks. Blowing may be optimal because the snow is spread over a larger area and does not form banks.
Snow that melts becomes water, which means drainage, and cold weather brings ice. If the snow gets scraped, the issue of what to do with the accumulated snow arises.
Most municipalities do not want you to push it across the street or pile it along the roadside. And your neighbor doesn’t want the snow, because he’s experiencing the same issue as you. Paved driveways are ideal because they eliminate the gravel issue.
If you can afford the electric costs, warming the driveway is a good idea, but you’ll need proper drainage and to deal with the problems above. In addition, during most winters, the sun’s heat is insufficient to melt snow.
Skid shoes in conjunction with a snowblower would be the most effective thing for a gravel driveway…
Use Skid Shoes With A Snow Blower
Snowblowers are the most valuable equipment when clearing snow from a gravel driveway. Equip the snowblower with skid shoes to leave about an inch of snow behind when clearing snow from gravel. That will eliminate the possibility of gravel being picked up and processed through the chute of the implement. Here’s how to make sure it’s done effectively…
1. Start at Upwind Driveway Section
Strong winds almost always accompany snowstorms. Therefore, it is essential to remember to begin snow removal from the upwind end of the driveway. The chute of the snowblower should get directed downwind to prevent the area from being cleared and not becoming engulfed by the snow collected.
2. Raise and Lower the Blower to Eliminate Layers
If there is a lot of snow to remove from the driveway’s surface, you should raise the snowblower slightly off the ground and remove the top layer. Once the top layer gets removed, it’s time to lower the blower and clear the lower layers.
3. Wash the Snow Blower
After clearing the driveway with a snowblower, remove any remaining snow chunks to the equipment from freezing, preventing it from starting or functioning when it is time to use it again. During this step, pay particular attention to the auger and impeller.
If you don’t own a snowblower or prefer a different option, you should also consider purchasing rear blades. Position the blade’s outer edge behind the portion in the middle of the driveway. That will ensure that the snow gets pushed away from the driveway. Similar to using a snow blower on deep snow, raise the rear blade if necessary to remove the top layer of snow first.
Avoid Table Salt And Rock Salt
Rock salt, also known as halite, is frequently the first-choice method for clearing a driveway of snow and ice. However, many people are alarmed to learn that this standard solution has significant drawbacks.
It would be best if you avoided Salt-based de-icers whenever possible. For example, if you spread table salt on your driveway or walkway, it will likely run off into your lawn or garden and kill the plants and grass there. In addition, traditional salt de-icers may have left your lawn with several dead spots when spring arrives.
Rock salt can cause significant harm to asphalt and concrete roadways. Additionally, it may cause the plants surrounding your driveway to shed their leaves. Occasionally, it poses a health risk to pets and children.
Rock salt can irritate the throat, mouth, stomach, and intestines if inhaled and can be fatal if ingested in excessive quantities. Due to these factors, numerous individuals seek suitable alternatives to rock salt.
When you clear the ice from your driveway, it’s essential to remember not to use rock salt because it can damage the lawn around your driveway and even cause damage to the driveway itself over time. There are many alternative ways you can get rid of the ice from your driveway, like using a snowblower, melting mats, rock salt-free de-icers, and loads more.