How to melt driveway ice without salt?

Freezing winter is here to stay and salt is all sold out ! Now, what ? I have researched for affordable options on the net and have summed up the tips below. Please see the sources for detailed explanations.

SOURCE # 1 by Jennifer Wanger 

  http://voices.yahoo.com/salt-alternatives-melting-snow-ice-10589517.html

“Affordable salt alternatives

Salt-free deicer - Many homeowners purchase salt-free deicers because they are safe to use around pets. Products such as SafePaw are 100% safe to use and works just as well as salt. Other brands are available that are eco-friendly salt alternative which won’t harm plant life or property.

Natural Cat Litter - It may not melt snow and ice, but natural cat litter will help provide traction for walking and driving when sprinkled on driveways and walkways. This product is also an eco-friendly alternative to salt because it contains no added chemicals and is 100% safe to use around children, pets, and plant life.

Straw, wood chips, gravel, deer corn, sand, cedar, and saw dust, are all materials that can be used to provide traction on snow or ice covered surfaces. They won’t actually melt the snow, but they will help to prevent falls and injury.”

 SOURCE # 2 by Jaime McLeod

http://www.farmersalmanac.com/home-garden/2010/02/15/how-to-melt-ice-naturally/

“Sugar Beet Juice – On its own, or used to dilute salt solutions, the juice from sugar beets can lower the freezing point of water, and help to deice slippery roads, driveways and sidewalks. In recent years, some communities have even been using beet juice mixtures to melt ice on municipal roads. Though using beets to melt ice has caused some to scratch their heads, the odorless and virtually colorless substance is completely harmless to humans, animals, plants, cars, fabrics, and water systems. And, if you grow the beets yourself the summer before, the juice is practically free!”

SOURCE # 3  by Kendra Mangione

http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/toronto-using-beet-juice-to-melt-ice-on-city-streets-1.1627195

Other alternatives to road salt

Hundreds of Ontario plow operators are trying to use less, since sodium chloride is expensive and hard on the environment. Here are some other alternatives:

  • Mozzarella cheese brine is used in Wisconsin
  • Sugarcane molasses has been used in Minnesota
  • Edmonton blends road salt with sand and limestone chips

SOURCE # 4 by Ben Popken

http://consumerist.com/2011/02/01/what-if-my-hardware-store-is-out-of-salt/

  • Alfalfa meal – fertilizer
  • Sand – absorbs sunlight and adds traction
  • Sugar – like salt, it lowers the melting point
  • Baking soda – it’s a kind of salt!
  • Vinegar
  • Epsom Salt
  • Calcium magnesium acetate – sold under brand names like “Quad melt” and “Premiere Ice Melter”
  • Urea – found in fertilizer

Please note that some of these options can also be harmful, so please research properly before trying one. Having said that, I will be personally trying beet juice, epsom salt and cat litter !

All the best & happy shovelling !

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Posted in driveway, winter care

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