Winter can bring a lot of challenges, especially when it comes to keeping sidewalks, driveways, and steps clear of ice and snow. One of the most common solutions for this challenge is to use ice melt products. However, they can be expensive and often contain harsh chemicals that can damage surfaces and harm the environment. Fortunately, there are plenty of DIY ice melt options that you can make at home using natural, non-toxic ingredients.
Discover below the 10 different ice melt alternatives you can make with items you probably already have on hand to keep your walkways safe and clear all winter long.
DIY Ice Melt for Sidewalks and Driveways
Salt Ice Melt
Salt is the most popular way to get rid of ice. The most common salt you can use to melt ice is rock salt, but you can also use table salt although, it will provide less traction when walked on.
Salt doesn’t melt the ice so much as lower its freezing point from 32 degrees Fahrenheit to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. This means it doesn’t work in extreme cold but is very effective in places with temperatures in the 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit range.
To use salt as an ice melt, add it to hot water and then pour the salty water over the ice you’re targeting. The hot water will melt the ice while the salt keeps it from refreezing.
Baking Soda Ice Melt
Baking soda works in a similar way to salt. It lowers the freezing point of water when it permeates it, working well in environments with cold but not freezing weather.
Just like salt, mix it with hot water and apply it to the ice you want to melt. A benefit of baking soda is that it’s less alkaline than salt, so you run less of a risk of it damaging concrete or bricks.
Fertilizer Ice Melt
Fertilizer works as a very effective ice melt. Its ingredients, like alfalfa meal, urea, and ammonium sulfate, melt ice. Although this is a great temporary solution, you shouldn’t use it consistently over a long time. If you use it too often, it can lead to burning vegetation or eroding concrete.
To use fertilizer as an ice melt, spread it over an icy surface. It won’t work immediately but rather speed up the melting process.
Epsom Salt and Sugar Ice Melt
Epsom salt is a perfect option for ice melt because it’s as effective as table salt and rock salt, but it’s much safer to use around plant life. Mix the Epsom salt with some sugar for the best results because sugar has great ice-melting capabilities as well.
You can mix these two with hot water for immediate ice melting or sprinkle them on top to speed up the melting process.
DIY Ice Melt Spray
Beet Juice Ice Melt
This method is not only all-natural but also pet-safe. It’s because dogs, cats, and other pets can consume small quantities of beet juice.
You also don’t have to worry about beet juice harming plants or corroding your sidewalk and driveway. You might have to worry about it dying purple, but to prevent that, rinse it off with soap and water once the temperature rises above freezing again.
To use beet juice to melt ice, mix 20 percent beet juice with 80 percent salt brine and put it in a spray bottle. Spray it in slippery areas and wait for it to work. Beet juice will help the salt brine lower the water’s freezing temperature even more.
White Vinegar, Wood Ash, And Water Ice Melt
This white vinegar, wood ash, and water ice melt method are effective in getting rid of old ice and preventing new ice from forming. Plus, it is gentle on plants, sidewalks, and driveways.
To make this ice melt, collect 2 cups of wood ash from your fireplace, fill a bucket with a gallon of water, add the wood ash, and let the mixture sit overnight.
In the morning, clear out all the bits of wood ash still floating. Pour the mixture into a new bucket, leaving behind the clumps of wood ash at the bottom of the old bucket. Next, add 2 cups of white vinegar and stir the mixture well. Once it’s sufficiently mixed up, pour it into a spray bottle.
Then you can take it outside and spray the snow and ice you want to melt. Not only it melts old ice, but also prevents new ice and snow from accumulating.
Because sugar is so effective in melting ice, beverages that contain a lot of it can function as ice melt. Whether Kool-Aid, soda, fruit juice, or another beverage with a large amount of sugar, you can spray it on ice and snow to get them to melt more quickly.
This option is good to use if your house is out of salt and sugar and you need a quick fix to deice your sidewalk and driveway.
However, do not use it frequently since it’s not quite as effective as some of the other methods mentioned above, and artificial dyes can cause a mess if they get on the bottom of your shoes and you track them into your house.
DIY Ice Melt for Your Car
Three-Ingredient Ice Melt
This three-ingredient ice melt is one of the most effective ice melts on this list. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also perfect for removing ice from cars!
To make it fill a bucket with ½ a gallon of hot water, add 6 drops of dish soap to the water, and mix them into it. Then add 2 ounces of rubbing alcohol and mix that into the water. When the mixture is complete, pour it into a spray bottle.
If there’s any snow on your car, brush it off and spray this mixture on the ice below it. You can then gently push all of the ice off your car or use your scraper to give it a nudge off. It should fall right off, and no heavy scraping is required!
Isopropyl Alcohol Ice Melt
This super simple ice melt method is perfect for removing stubborn ice from car windshields. Keep a bottle of this stuff near your door to use when you don’t want to deal with the timely and arduous process of scraping ice off your car.
To make it, add a cup of water to a spray bottle. Then, add a cup of isopropyl alcohol. Shake the bottle well before each use. You can spray it right onto your car’s windshield, windows, and door handles, and the ice will melt immediately!
Water and Vinegar Ice Melt
This easy DIY ice melt is particularly gentle on your car. To make it, all you need is a spray bottle, water, and vinegar.
The water and vinegar mixture should be one part water and three parts vinegar. Just add 1 cup of water and 3 cups of vinegar to keep it simple. Before using, shake the bottle well so that the water and vinegar are thoroughly mixed.
Spray a decent dosage onto your car’s windshield, and the ice should gradually melt away.
Be Cautious This Winter!
These ice melt instructions are great for removing ice from your roof, driveway, sidewalk, car, and where ever else it freezes over. With their help, you won’t get caught in a winter storm without ice melt and will save some extra money.
What’s best, you can make these super simple but extremely effective ice melt recipes at home with items you probably already have!
If you found this guide helpful, share it with your friends and family, and comment below which DIY ice melt you think is best!