How to Get Rid of Thick Ice on a Driveway

Living in Canada, come winter, the one thing you can bet your bottom dollar on is that snow will not be the only thing sitting in your driveway after a snowstorm. Ice causes a lot of trouble. Even if you clear away all the snow by shovel, you could still have a slippery driveway left to walk over and drive on. It’s a hazard.

While road salt is what many people go grab for, this type of salt is incredibly harmful to the environment. There are several other ways to get rid of thick ice on a driveway that you can turn to beforehand. Here is a close look at how.

Rock Salt Isn’t a Great Choice

While rock salt is effective, it can kill grass and nearby plants. It also eats into the body of vehicles as they drive over roads covered in it and, from an environmental standpoint, contributes to the over-salination of local lakes and rivers.

All in all, it’s not the best choice for de-icing a driveway. Especially if you value the aesthetics of your lawn, landscaping, and garden, never use rock salt on your property.

Best Rock Salt Alternative Is Ice Melt Salt

Ice melt salt is a chemical-safe way to melt ice in your driveway. It works faster than rock salt, too. Ice melt salt is typically a combination of sodium chloride – which is pure rock salt – alongside calcium chloride and magnesium chloride to form a safe ice melt product.

It works in low temperatures and requires less than what one would have to use in rock salt to do the same work.

Find a Heavy-Duty Shovel to Break Ice

The most eco-friendly way to eliminate thick ice is to start with a heavy-duty shovel. It works on thin ice but isn’t always great on thicker ice. Many people can break ice apart with a steel shovel, especially when combined with other methods.

A shovel can help compromise the solidness of the ice but also makes it easier to remove ice after it’s broken and needs to be shoved off to the side.

Buy an Ice Scraper

An ice scraper – aka snow scraper or ice chopper – is a heavy-duty tool that you can use to cut through hardened layers of ice and snow. It’s an industrial-grade steel blade with which you can dig into thick ice.

If your shovel is not working and you want to keep efforts as eco-friendly as possible, and you don’t mind working with it, an ice scraper for driveways provides quite the advantage.

Work When the Sun Is Out

The sun can help melt and break up thick ice. If all you have is a shovel, try to work on your driveway when the sun is at its peak. This would be mid-to-late afternoon.

The sun will be in the process of melting off residual snow and tackling the ice naturally. This will make breaking up thick ice with a shovel all the easier.

Try Hot Water Across Thick Chunks

Boiling water might allow you to break up a particularly problematic thick chunk of ice. Sweeping this water off the surface at a certain point is necessary.

If you don’t, the water will freeze, worsening your initial ice problem. That said, stubborn parts of the driveway covered in ice can be resolved with the right hot water approach.

Use Portable Snow Melting Mats

There are various products, from portable snow melting mats to radiant heating, that one can use on their driveways to help melt thick ice. They are quite expensive and can be tedious to use or install.

However, they won’t necessarily require as much effort and wait time as other methods. Portable snow melting mats can melt ice fairly effectively and efficiently at that.

Potassium Chloride Is Not Effective Enough

Potassium chloride is sometimes referred to as an alternative to rock salt. While it won’t kill your grass, it’s also unlikely to have the power to break up and get rid of thick ice.

Potassium chloride only works if temperatures are above 15 degrees Fahrenheit. This limits the use of potassium chloride for melting ice. When it does work, it works very slowly; even with that, it’s not enough for thick ice.

Try Vinegar or Isopropyl Alcohol

Though they work slowly, vinegar’s acidic nature or use of isopropyl alcohol is an eco-friendly choice to eliminate driveway ice. Both lower ice’s melting point, causing it to weaken and break apart.

Unfortunately, you may not get the full performance you want from either, and working on thick ice with your shovel will be the next step to ensuring your driveway is cleared of all ice.

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