Snow Snow Go Away!!!

Are you fed up with the snow and ice yet? 

I wanted to have a quick chat about de-icing our driveways and sidewalks.  

The most common products available for homeowners are de-icers made of mineral salts. As the salts dissolve, they seep down and create a liquid layer under the ice that allows it to be removed easily. Unfortunately, the chemicals that help turn the ice into water can also be harmful to plants and animals, and contaminate water. As a homeowner, you should balance your needs with any environmental concerns.  Simple rock salt also will destroy your concrete.  I can confirm that from my own experience.  

Here are some alternatives I have found:

1. Shovelling as soon as the snow falls to minimize snow will minimize the risk of ice.   This is the method I try to use.  I am not a fan of using any kind of salt or de-icer on my property, like I said, it damages concrete plus we have a dog and we would rather not hurt his paws or poision him if possible.  Most of us however don't have the time to shovel as soon as the snow falls, and in the temperatures we have been experiencing lately, the ice is impossible to prevent.  

2. Scatter sand, kitty litter or even birdseed for traction on the icy surface. These won't melt snow or ice, but they will give you more grip on icy surfaces.

3. If you do use salt, choose wisely. Sodium chloride may contain cyanide. Calcium chloride is slightly better since less goes farther, but it is still not ideal as it can cause clogs waterways. Potassium chloride is another salt to avoid. Whatever you use, if you use salt, keep it away from landscape plants, especially those that are particularly salt-sensitive, like tulip poplars, maples, balsam firs, white pines, hemlock, Norway spruce, dogwood, redbud, rose bushes and spirea bushes.    

4. There are plenty of de-icers available that claim to be safe for pets and will not damage concrete – here are two I have found.  I have not used these myself but they may be worth a try; Safe Paw and Clean Melt.  Both available from Amazon.  

5.  Here is a 3 ingredient homemade de-icer.  Apparently is works and its also a safe alternative:
  • One quart lukewarm water.
  • 2. 3 drops dish washing detergent
  • 3. 1 ounce rubbing alcohol
Mix all 3 ingredients together and coat icy surfaces with this mixture and the ice will quickly be gone. 

Hope these ideas help.