How to Melt Snow and Ice Around Your Home Without Rock Salt

Apply an abrasive

Applying an abrasive material, such as sand or natural volcanic granules, to an icy concrete driveway or sidewalk is great for improving traction and making surfaces safer. Although these abrasives won’t actually melt ice or snow, you can use them in combination with deicing chemicals, if necessary, to reduce the amount of deicer you need to apply and lessen its negative impact.


What home remedy will melt ice?

Ice melting home remedies
  • 2/3 cup vinegar and 1/3 cup warm water.
  • 1 tablespoon of dish detergent, 1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol, and 1 gallon of warm water.
  • Kitty litter.

Natural Alternatives

Other, more natural, products can be used to treat icy sidewalks and driveways. Although they are less effective, they pose less harm to the environment and pets. Natural alternatives like sand, sawdust, wood shavings, and kitty litter are mainly effective for their gritty, anti-slip qualities. They provide better traction to walk on the ice but do not melt ice. They are often mixed with ice melt products as a way to use fewer chemicals.

There is a product called Magic Minus Zero which is a liquid de-icing agent made from a blend of magnesium chloride combined with an agricultural by-product of the distilling process. It is non-toxic, biodegradable and has a corrosion index lower than distilled water. Magic Minus Zero can be applied directly to paved surfaces in advance of a winter storm or can be sprayed onto regular rock salt.


If you happen to have some fertilizer leftover from this year’s gardening season, you can try using that to melt driveway ice. The key here is reading the label and keeping an eye out for three key ingredients: Ammonium sulfate, potassium chloride, and urea. That’s because like rock salt, these compounds lower the melting point of ice. But unlike rock salt, it won’t damage your driveway or yard.

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Does peroxide melt ice?

DON’T: Attempt to remove ice from a windshield before it starts to show visible signs of melting. DON’T: Put vinegar, WD-40, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol on your windshield. Vinegar is very acidic and will damage both the surface of your windshield and your wipers.

6. Chloride Compounds

If you still want your ice melted as quickly as rock salt can but are willing to switch to a more environmentally friendly option, then calcium chloride is a good choice. It works best when used between 0 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s easy to find in many home improvement stores. Similarly, potassium chloride and magnesium chloride can also be used to melt ice. In fact, magnesium chloride is an even more ecologically safe option than calcium chloride, and it works at temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit.


Every year there are more and more choices when it comes to de-icers. A lot of the choices are very similar and differ only in marketing with each product claiming to be the best. Typically blends are made to try and combine the best advantages of each chemical.

  • Calcium chloride: This is the traditional ice melt. It will melt ice to temperatures of -25 degrees F. It gives off heat as it dissolves which melts the ice quicker but leaves a slimy residue. It is corrosive to metal and can be damaging to vegetation if over-applied. Magnesium chloride is a similar product and is becoming more popular. It is less corrosive and safer on concrete and plants.
  • Sodium chloride: Also known as rock salt, this is the least expensive and very efficient. It will melt ice to temperatures of 20 degrees F and is effective at drying out icy surfaces. Rock salt is not as harmful to concrete as other products but can be damaging to vegetation and is corrosive to metal.
  • Potassium chloride: A more expensive option than other products, it works well when mixed 50/50 with rock salt. Potassium chloride will melt ice to temperatures of 12 degrees F. It is relatively safe but can still cause plant injury if over-applied.
  • Urea: Commonly used as a fertilizer, it is also an effective ice melter. It will melt ice to temperatures of 15 degrees F. Over application can harm vegetation.
  • Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA): It is made from dolomitic limestone and acetic acid (the main compound in vinegar). It has little effect on plants and concrete, but its performance decreases at temperatures below 20 degrees F. It works differently than other materials in that it does not form a brine like salts. CMA helps prevent snow particles from sticking to each other on the road surface. It prevents re-freezing more than it melts ice and it tends to leave a slush.

Beyond Salt and Water

Putting salt on water isn’t the only time freezing point depression occurs. Any time you add particles to a liquid, you lower its freezing point and raise its boiling point. Another good example of freezing point depression is vodka. Vodka contains both ethanol and water. Ordinarily, vodka does not freeze in a home freezer. The alcohol in the water lowers the freezing point of the water.

A Better Deicing Solution … Literally

If the old-school method is the school you attend, we have some best practices you can use to get more with less. Mixing up your own brine or solution, in a large bucket and then spraying it over the surface of the ice will allow you to use less of the harmful stuff and cover more surface area. Benefits include being able to prepare and store the solution ahead of time as well as have enough left over for reapplication as necessary.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A big bucket
  • Half-gallon of hot water
  • Six drops dish soap
  • A quarter-cup of rubbing alcohol

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In the winter months, having a trained team do your snow removal for you eliminates the risk and worry for the safety of your friends, family, and/or customers. Our experts will keep a watch on your property and snowfall totals to automatically show up and perform the removal without you having to call us every time for assistance. To inquire about our snow removal process, pricing, or general questions about our services — contact us here or at: (573)-268-3947

3. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are often thrown away or composted after making coffee, but this organic debris is a great option for melting ice on your driveway and porch. Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which works to lower the melting point of ice. Additionally, the dark color of coffee grounds better absorbs sunlight better than white snow or clear ice, slightly helping to increase the melting speed.

How To Melt Ice On Sidewalks Without Salt Details

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What if my concrete already has salt damage?

Over time, salt can damage concrete and lead to discoloration, cracking or a crumbling surface. Depending on how severe the damage is, you may be able to fix your concrete. There are a variety of concrete repair options, as well as concrete resurfacing to create a fresh, new surface.

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