How To Melt Snow & Ice Without Using Salt

​Are you tired of salt completely destroying everything you own in the winter? Not only does it destroy our cars, clothes, and shoes, but it also destroys the environment. It’s a fast solution to melting snow and ice because salt prevents it from reaching its freezing temperature. In turn, when the snow melts to water, the water and salt mixture will melt ice (salt will not melt ice on its own). But if temperatures are colder than 0ᐤ F, small amounts of salt probably won’t work and you’ll need to apply even more. There has to be an easier, more eco-friendly solution, right?

​Here are other options for melting snow and ice on your driveways and walkways.

​1. Sand

​Sand was actually the first solution to ever be used for increasing friction on roads in the winter. Though it doesn’t actually melt snow or ice, it can significantly reduce slippery roads, sidewalks, driveways, etc. without the use of harmful chemicals. But, sand is only a temporary solution and isn’t necessarily as environmentally friendly as people think it is as it can absorb water and negatively affect other ecosystems and air quality. The best way to use sand to reduce slippery conditions is by wetting it and adding a deicer so the solution sticks around longer.

2. Create Your Own DIY Deicer

An easy and popular DIY solution can be mixed in a large bucket and dumped on your driveway and walkways instantly. You’ll need:
Make sure you use gloves when you’re pouring out the solution as rubbing alcohol can cause skin irritation. You should notice ice starting to melt within an hour to four hours.

​3. Sugar Cubes

Sugar cubes are great for using in smaller icy areas, not your whole driveway. Just like salt, it prevents the snow or ice from reaching freezing temperatures. So it doesn’t melt ice, but it does prevent it from forming. The only downside is it’s more expensive than salt. sugar cubes melt ice

​4. Sugar Beet Juice

Beet juice!? Yep, you read that right. It’s slowly becoming more popular for cities to use sugar beet juice as a way of preventing ice from forming and lower the snow’s freezing temperature. It works best when mixed with salt, but it can be a mixture of 20% table or Epsom salts and 80% beet juice brine. And no, the beet juice is not purple so it won’t stain your driveway! Sugar beets kind of look like parsnips or turnips when they’re fully grown and their juice is a light golden colour.

5. Garden Fertilizer

​Again, we know it sounds weird, but trust us, it can work for smaller patches of ice in your driveway or walkway. Excessive amounts can damage grass and plants come springtime, but using the right amount can both melt the snow and reduce slippery conditions. If you have a urea fertilizer, it can be great for melting snow and ice in freezing temperatures and increasing friction. Fertilizer doesn’t dissolve in water like salt and sugar, but it will stick to the bottom of your boots and make them muddy!

​6. Kitty Litter

​Turns out there are multiple purposes for cat litter. It can be used to absorb messes like spilled sugary drinks and help with traction! No, kitty litter won’t melt ice, but it’s a great way to give fraction to your tires on an icy driveway and absorb melting snow and prevent it from becoming ice. But remember, kitty litter clumps when it’s wet, so may have to clean it up after everything melts away.

​7. Snow Melting Mats

Did you know there are such things as heated driveways? You can have a heated driveway system built to prevent snow and ice from building up and what’s even better, is you turn the system on from the comfort of your own home! Thank you technology. But, it’s pricey and not everyone can afford it. They can cost anywhere from $12-$21 per square foot.​

The cheaper solution?​

Snow melting mats! They range in size, so pricing can range anywhere from $79-$200. They can be plugged into each other and create a comfortable, ice-free walkway from your car to your front door. They can melt up to 2” of snow an hour even in harsher conditions. These are gaining popularity with small business owners too to increase the safety of their customers. Pet owners also love them to save their companion’s paws from the salt and cold!​

​If you’re looking for other ways to melt the ice in your driveway and walkways, there are plenty of options that either increase friction like using sand, kitty litter, and even garden fertilizer. Snow melting mats work great too and create a comfortable path from your car to your front door to your home, or small business. Alternatively you can use a snow removal company like CF Landscaping.


Colin Thomas MacMillan

Colin Thomas MacMillan, CEO of Riverwood Landscape, boasts over 8 years of expertise in landscaping and 3 years in transportation and logistics. A prominent figure, he serves as a board member for the Waterloo Chapter of Landscape Ontario and has been a vital part of the community for five years. Recognized for his insights, Colin has contributed to major industry events, including LeadsCON 2023. His entrepreneurial journey in landscaping began post-high school, driven by a lifelong aspiration and self-taught skills. Outside work, Colin's interests span history and video games, and he's dedicated three years to learning German, reflecting his commitment to personal growth. His professional ethos emphasizes a resilient, people-first approach, advocating for mastering current tasks and prioritizing quality in business and client relations. An avid reader of industry articles and an active networker, Colin's dynamic approach to professional development cements his status as a leader and an inspiration in landscaping and logistics.

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