One of the worst and best parts of the winter months is the snowfall. It’s the best because snow is beautiful to see and adds something wonderful to winter. However with snow comes ice, ice which will cover all your pathways generally making your daily commute a major inconvenience and a lot more dangerous. Do not worry though below we have a few tips and tricks for clearing your paths and driveways so you can go about your business a little more safely.
One of the best ways to get rid of the ice on your driveway is salt, just adding a small amount to your paths will quickly cause the ice to start to melt. Salt can also be used to help with keeping the ice away as it keeps water in its liquid form, disallowing it to turn back into ice. If you live in a rainy or windy area it can be washed or blown away so it is a good idea to regularly put more down to prevent the ice coming back.
Ash and Sand
If you do not have any salt to hand you can instead use a combination of ash and sand to achieve a similar result. Unfortunately not as effective as rock salt it does give a good non-slip platform for you to walk on while you wait for the ash and sand do their work. Mixing them in about 60% sand and 40% ash should be enough to help.
Shovel and Ice Chisel
Go to any hardware store and they will have these items for sale, they might even be on sale if the weather is bad enough. You can use the shovel and the ice chisel to remove some of the looser ice and snow in your driveway and on your path. The shovel and chisel will work best when combined with either of the above methods and will also work with a de-icer which will be discussed further down.
There are a lot of different types of De-Icer products which can cause a lot of confusion. However, if you look at the products in store there is usually information on which ones can be used where and how. Remeber though to look at the instructions on your de-icer product as you will probably use less than you expect (which will end up saving you money in the long run). De-Icer fluids usually work best on thin ice unless the product says differently, which is why using it in combination with the shovel and chisel mentioned above will be the most effective way to clear your driveway.
An odd but effective idea on this list is using cat litter to help with the ice; it will work mainly to help with traction, making sure the type of cat litter you buy is the non-clumping kind is important as when the litter clumps it can cause problems. To place the litter down spread it like you would salt.
Another odd but effective idea to help reduce the amount of ice and snow on your path and driveway is Beet Juice, placing ordinary beet juice on your paths before the cold snap can make the freezing point of the water from the snow become lower than 35 degrees Fahrenheit, this is lower than the freezing point of water at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The degree difference may only be a small amount but it can make all the difference when the weather turns. It also has an added bonus of smelling nice and being cheap to acquire. You can also use a glass after a snowstorm, although it may take a little while for the snow to melt.
An easy solution for the problem with ice is to use hot water on the snow and ice to make it melt quickly. This is only a temporary solution, as the water if not brushed off or dried away can freeze and turn into black ice. Black ice is a thin clear ice which is very hard to spot and is incredibly slippery. Black Ice means that you may cause more problems than you had to begin with if you just use this method and leave it alone. It’s best to use hot water on sunny days to clear the remaining ice or in combination with any of the above techniques to solve the black ice problem.
Water and Vinegar
If you are looking for something more effective than the hot water above try mixing it with vinegar. Equal parts vinegar and water will make a de-icer which although is less potent than the store bought variety it is both environmentally friendly and very cheap.
When dealing with thicker ice than usual change the recipe for the water and vinegar to about 40% water and 60% vinegar which will be a lot stronger. Once you start to pour the mixture onto the ice wait a little while and the ice will slowly start to turn into liquid, once it does you will need to remove the water in order to prevent the creation of black ice as previously mentioned. The one downside to using vinegar is that it can smell very strongly and the smell is hard to remove. However, sprinkling it with baking soda can help with this problem.
In the end
There are tons of ways to help clear an icy path, from environmentally friendly ones such as salt to harder substances like the de-icer; it will depend on what you need it for in regards to which you choose.
There are still many more ideas out there, Traction Grit, Sawdust and even birdseed can be helpful to name a few others. However when it comes to safety some of the best weapons in your arsenal to combat the icy weather is the list above as they can also be combined to add further strength to help you combat the snowy months.
Thank you for reading and remember to stay warm this winter! You can’t clear a path when you are cold and sick after all.