How Do I Melt Ice on my Driveway?

Nothing says winter like freezing winds, piles of snow and ice-covered paths. Though it may be tempting to stay where it's warm, it's easier and safer to control ice before it forms. With these tips, you can work quickly to prevent ice from forming on your driveway and paths.

When it comes to your driveway and paths, early prevention is key. Snow buildup can easily turn to ice, so it's important to grab your shovel or snow blower after each snowfall. Once ice has formed, rock salt is the most common method used to de-ice driveways. However, most rock salts contain chloride, which is dangerous to plants and animals. To better protect your plants and pets, you can consider homemade remedies or alternative salts. Here are some options to consider:

  • Calcium magnesium acetate is a biodegradable alternative, but it loses its effectiveness around 20° F.
  • Magnesium chloride is an environmentally-friendly rock salt alternative that won't damage plants if it's not overapplied. For colder areas, it works well in subzero temperatures. 
  • A homemade salt alternative can be made from 1 teaspoon of dish soap, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and a ½ gallon of water mixed and poured on icy spots.

After applying salt, you should see smaller patches of ice start to melt quickly. Thicker patches of ice take longer to melt, so after the salt begins to melt these patches, break them up and remove them with a shovel.