How to Remove Ice From Driveway Without Salt

When winter approaches, our temperature drops to a point where water freezes. On our roads, air temperature, pavement temperature, precipitation and moisture content all contribute to ice forming, and when these align, our driveways become a sheet of it.

Unfortunately, cold weather doesn’t shut down the world, and we still have to go to work, shop and do our daily running around in our vehicles. What about our slippery driveway? Salt is a common deicer, but if we don’t have any or don’t want to use it, are there other options out there? Yes, there is. This is how to remove ice from your driveway without salt.

1. Salt Harms The Environment

Using salt on a driveway will help to melt the ice, but it comes at a cost. Salt can run off and contaminate water systems, injure plants, dry out and burn your pet’s paws and even eat away at concrete or brick, causing it to crack and crumble. It is much better to try these alternatives.

2. Heating Mats

These are like electric blankets for your driveway and are very effective at keeping ice from forming. There are several different brands, but most are used by laying them out on either side of our car, beside the doors or down the driveway. They plug into an exterior outlet and then heat the ground using a heating element covered in layers of rubber.

They are very durable, so you can drive over them, and they can come in long lengths of 30′ to line your whole driveway. Others have heated water and antifreeze to control the ground temperature where they are placed.

3. Liquid Deicer

Liquid deicer is a chemical compound that can be used proactively or reactively. When you put salt on the ice to melt it, it can get knocked off by vehicle traffic, making it less effective. Liquid deicer penetrates the ice quickly through the surface and gets to the pavement to work, breaking the bond between the ice and the driveway surface.

Common ingredients are magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, which are not harmful to the environment and will quickly clear your driveway to get you operating your vehicles safely.

4. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a great de-icing solution to splash or spray on your driveway. All you need to do is mix 2 litres (around a half gallon) of water in a bucket with a 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol and six drops of dish soap, and you are ready to go.

You can spread it around your walkways and driveway and watch it bubble up and melt the ice away. Rubbing alcohol has a lower freezing point than water, which also helps prevent re-icing.

5. Sand

Sand is a great alternative to salt, and you may already have some kicking around the house. If not, you can buy it in the bag at your local home improvement store. Sand works as an abrasive, so it doesn’t melt the ice. Instead, it creates traction so you won’t slip as much as you drive on it. Sand will also stick around longer and may make it easier to scrape any ice off as it helps break it up.

6. Coffee Grounds

When you make your daily pots of coffee, what do you do with the used grounds? Instead of throwing them in the trash, why not spread them on your driveway to combat the ice?

Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which helps lower ice’s melting point. It also works similarly to sand as a cover for better traction, and the dark colour absorbs more light to increase melting, too.

7. Beet Juice

Beets are a healthy vegetable but can help you with an icy driveway. Make a brine with an 80/20 water/sugar beet juice mixture and pour it where needed to lower the melting point, similar to rock salt. It is safe for concrete asphalt and non-toxic for plants and pets, but you should wash it off once the ice melts to avoid reddish staining.

8. Sugar

Sugar is another DIY idea for melting ice on your driveway. It works to lower the freezing point of the water, and it is not toxic like salt. It may be more expensive, but sweeten your driveway if you have lots on hand!

9. Vinegar

Lowering the ice’s melting point can be achieved with vinegar, too. You can use it independently, but mixing it with hot water to rapidly melt even solid ice sheets is better.

These are the best alternatives to removing ice from your driveway without salt. Try them all to see which one works best for you. You can consider having extra on hand when the winter approaches. Then, you will be free to come and go on your driveway without the risk of slipping and sliding.

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