If you live in a place that gets a decent amount of snowfall, you’ve probably had find a way to get rid of ice on your sidewalk. Most people just use salt to help melt the ice, but there are better and more efficient ways at removing thick plates of ice from your driveway and steps. Follow this awesome guide for a list of tips and tricks to remove the nasty dangerous slippery ice from your house. Be proactive about the snow and ice on your property and follow these quick tips to make your property safer to reduce slippery ground and falls.
Icy sidewalk safety
Falling can be a serious problem for just about anyone. For adults, falling due to slippery sidewalks or icy steps can be avoided by following a few simple steps. Anyone can slip on ice, and it becomes a greater problem during the winter when freezing rain and snow accumulate on the sidewalk and create great problems. Walking on ice tips come by the few since this technique takes some practice and a lot of luck. Correct posture is futile for ensuring your safety while travelling on slick surfaces. Wearing the proper snow gear is also helpful when preparing to walk on ice, as the gear and extra fluff can reduce injury upon a fall.
Star by keeping your eyes up. If you start looking at the ground, you’ll throw off your balance easier or bump into something which can cause you to fall easier. Consider mimicking a penguin and walking with your feet further apart. This will create more stabilization by widening your center of gravity. Also, resist the urge to walk on your tiptoes, and stay flat footed with your knees bent to reduce the risk of falling on ice. Your arms should stay out of your pockets in the off chance that you need to swing them for extra balance.
Some people spend hours trying to pick the best ice melt, but we are here to simplify that journey into a small, easy decision. It seems that snow blowers and shovels often don’t produce a sufficient amount of force to break up ice on your driveways or sidewalks, so you need to pour down some salt on the frozen ice to melt it quicker. These salts are not reusable and can get expensive quick, depending on how many square feet you have to melt. Calculate an extra 20% of square footage when purchasing the salt since you may need extra. If possible, spread this salt over the slick surfaces to help melt the ice and also get rid of the slipperiness.
Choosing the right sidewalk salt is vital to getting rid of ice on your sidewalk fast, and some of the best brands can do it in under 5 minutes. Some of the possible compounds that are great at melting ice are:
- Calcium chloride
- Calcium magnesium acetate
- Magnesium chloride
- Potassium chloride
- Sodium chloride – also known as rock salt
- Urea or Carbonyl diamide
The most commonly used salt to eliminate ice from your yard is rock salt, which is the same as table salt with a few added chemicals. When applying the salt, try to spread it evenly on the surface. Little do most people know, but an overspreading of salt on sidewalks or driveways can erode and crack away at the concrete. Don’t use an ice melt salt on any concrete or cement that is less than a year old since it will require time to cure and harden. If possible, remove any snow on top of the frozen surface to ensure that the ice melts. Use an automatic salt sprinkler or use a scoop to spread the salt by hand. I don’t recommend spreading it by hand since the salt can dry out and crack your skin fast.
If you live in a place where it is common for ice to form in your driveway, consider purchasing a sidewalk salt box. These little wooden storage tubs are great for keeping a 50 pound bag of salt in. It will keep the kids and animals away while adding great decoration value to your home. You can make your own sidewalk salt box or purchase a pre-built one from Amazon. Either way, this is a great tool from keeping ice from freezing on your sidewalk. This procedure can be used to salt your stairs and steps as well.
Melt ice on sidewalk without salt
A group of people wonder will vinegar melt ice and if it will prevent ice from forming. Spraying a vinegar water ice melt onto your car doesn’t always work. The claim isn’t actually as effective as most readers conclude. Although a homemade spray of vinegar and water may melt ice due to the thermal temperature, there is no chemical reaction going on that produces heat and actually melts the ice. For this very reason, I would not use vinegar to melt ice on your sidewalk. However, it does seem to work fine on reducing the ice of a windshield.
There are a few home remedies of ice removal. Not only is it a natural way to break up ice on your driveway, but it can get rid of ice without using salt. Some of these methods involve a homemade solution of different chemicals. Always read the directions and create these sprays at your own risk.
Here’s a homemade ice melter that can be made in under 5 minutes. First, start with a quart of lukewarm water and add in 5 drops of dish washing detergent and a liquid ounce of rubbing alcohol. Mix all the ingredients together and place in a spray bottle to deice your steps and sidewalk really fast. Coat any icy surfaces with this solution and the ice will be gone within a matter of minutes! Some people have found tremendous luck by creating a gallon jug mixture of this and just pouring it over the steps to get rid of the ice quickly. Others say that the ice will refreeze within a matter of hours, so make sure to have extra or find another method at keeping it thawed.
If you have wooden steps or stairs that are made mostly of a wood byproduct, there are studies that prove salt can harm the integrity of these structures. I’m saying that you shouldn’t salt your stairs simply because it can deteriorate the wood and will eventually break down the particles which can lead to rotting and splits. Many de-icing products are meant to be used on hardened concrete and will eat away at the soft grainy wood. In fact, even repeated use on your driveway can create small holes and indentations. The steps and sidewalks should be at least 6 months to a year old before even considering throwing down some salt.
Heated sidewalks and driveways are a great alternative to get rid of ice without using any salts. It’s very easy to add a heating element added into the infrastructure of a new concrete slab. These heating systems work great if you are pouring more concrete. However, for those with old slabs, you’ll have to check out electric heat mats to thaw out the sidewalk. This will keep the surface from refreezing as opposed to any of the methods mentioned above. HeatTrak Mats can be layed down and plugged into almost any electrical outlet for a quick fix to slippery side walks. Also, any snow that accumulates on your yard or near these mats will melt, which is a nice side effect. You can purchase heated mats from Amazon, but be careful to read the reviews before making any purchases.
If you live in an environment where there is a high amount of snowfall and below freezing temperatures, you may want to invest in some shoes with spikes. There are tons of footwear with spikes and they work great when walking on ice. Not only do they help stabilizing on a slippery surface, they can also be used to kick apart the ice. Some notable brands are Yaktrax or Icers. In fact, there is an attachment made for all shoes that allows the ability to add or remove spikes to any shoes.
Consider sprinkling some kitty litter over the ice to increase traction. There are tons of other traction grit sources, but kitty litter seems to work quite well. Sand and sawdust can be purchased at a cheaper price. When spreading these tiny pebbles, remember that they will stay in your yard afterwards, so try not to pick one that will kill your grass. Pea gravel, wood ash, sawdust, bird seed, and even corn are all possible things to spread over the ice to help increase the traction. These tiny compounds will sink into the surface and reduce the slipperiness of your sidewalk and steps. I recommend buying some professional traction grit. Place inside a pizza pan or cookie sheet and throw into the over at 250 degrees. This will warm up the grit enough to melt the snow and ice within a few seconds. Using a glove, sprinkle this hot grit over your sidewalk and driveway to make it safer to walk over.