Every year, the buildup of winter ice and snow on walkways and driveways is an inevitability when you live in Wisconsin, Minnesota, or anywhere else in the Midwest. So how do you remove ice from your driveway and sidewalks? It’s important to know what materials and techniques to use to keep your driveways and walkways safe and ice-free. Additionally, using the wrong materials can actually damage your concrete. In this article, we’ll go through the proper de-icing techniques and tools for you to use when winter rolls back around.
What Is The Fastest Way to Melt Ice On The Sidewalk?
The surefire fastest way to melt ice on the sidewalk is using rock salt, but it definitely comes with its major drawbacks. In fact, using rock salt can be very damaging to your concrete. Rock salt, otherwise called sodium chloride, is actually corrosive when left on concrete, asphalt, and brick. Once the salt has melted the snow and ice, residue can damage the surfaces and also get into the pores and holes to create real damage over time. So if you absolutely must use rock salt and don’t have any other options, use it only to soften the snow and ice, and within 30 minutes of applying it, break out the shovel and clear off your surfaces.
How Do You Melt Ice Without Damaging Concrete?
The good news is that there are other much less harmful options to remove ice from your driveways and walkways without salt. Additionally, sometimes there are salt shortages anyways, so it’s good to use the following options when removing ice from driveways.
How to Remove Driveway Ice With Magnesium Chloride and Calcium Chloride
Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are two popular options that will work without damaging your driveways and sidewalks. Magnesium chloride is the more environmentally friendly and pet-friendly of the two, and it’s remarkably effective. For the best results possible, make sure you get magnesium chloride pellets rather than flakes.
Calcium chloride melts the ice a bit faster than magnesium chloride, so it’s another good option. Just as with the magnesium chloride, make sure you look for pellets rather than flakes. They are far more effective.
How to Remove Ice with Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)
Calcium magnesium acetate is another option that you can try. The main component found in vinegar, calcium magnesium acetate, is safe to use on concrete and near vegetation. However, it does not work well in conditions below 20 degrees.
How to Remove Ice with Urea
Urea is typically used as fertilizer, but it can also work well in certain conditions, for example, on slick surfaces. It isn’t corrosive for concrete, but using too much of it can harm vegetation and negatively affect the water supply in an area, so use with caution. It also does not work in conditions below 15 degrees.
How to Remove Driveway Ice with Rubbing Alcohol
Believe it or not, you can actually remove driveway ice with rubbing alcohol. In fact, if you look at the ingredients list of many deicers, you will see that they contain 70% rubbing alcohol, which has an extremely low freezing point. Buying some rubbing alcohol is a great and cost-effective method for deicing smaller areas. In fact, you can combine 2 parts of rubbing alcohol with 1 part of warm water in a spray bottle to have on hand whenever you need it, and spray it liberally on icy areas.
Eco-Friendly Ways to Remove Ice from Your Driveway
While chemical deicers are undoubtedly the most effective method for removing ice, you may be interested in using some environmentally friendly options that align with your principles. Easier on the environment and pets, the following deicing methods may require a sizable investment and may not be particularly effective, but they are worth mentioning regardless.
Heated Driveways and Sidewalks
If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, installing heated coils or hydronic tubes underneath the concrete of your driveway can allow you to control the temperature of your driveway to prevent ice and snow from accumulating in the first place. Of course, this requires a significant investment, along with a relatively intensive construction project to complete.
Snow-melting mats are another heated option that is, of course, used only seasonally. Laying down a sturdy non-slip rubber mat and plugging it into any outlet will heat up the driveway and melt snow within an hour or two.
Natural Non-Slip Materials
If you’re looking for something simple and cost-effective as an alternative to salt or chemical deicers, you can try some natural non-slip materials such as sand, wood shavings, birdseed, or sawdust. These materials won’t actually melt the ice, but rather they’ll help to provide a non-slip surface to drive or walk on. These materials will easily wash away as the snow melts or during the following rainfall.
How to Prevent Ice on Driveway
Of course, one of the best methods for de-icing your driveway or walkways is to prevent the ice from forming in the first place. There are a few things you can do to help prevent ice from accumulating. First, you can spread down a layer of liquid de-icer thinly and evenly over the pavement. Make sure you read the instruction labels first. And finally, if and when snow accumulates, make sure you remove it from the sidewalks and driveways immediately.
Ninja De-Icer Helps You Remove Ice From Driveway
As you well know, it’s incredibly important to have a game plan for removing ice on driveways. If you don’t have a solution in hand when the winter storms arrive, you may be faced with a dangerous situation for cars and pedestrians. Luckily for you, Ninja De-Icer offers an environmentally-friendly liquid de-icer perfect for treating and preventing ice and snow accumulation in driveways and walkways. To remove ice from pathways, visit Ninja De-Icer and stock up on your winter weather essentials.