Better Options to De-ice Your Driveway

December/January 2007
http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-and-environment/better-options-to-de-ice-your-driveway.aspx




When it comes to removing snow and ice from your driveway many people turn to salt. But salt can damage soil and plants, contaminate groundwater, and corrode driveways, car bodies and even household floors.


The most sustainable way to de-ice your car or driveway is to physically shovel or scrape the wintery mix away. There are several other remedies that do not include harmful chemicals or too much back-breaking work.



  • To help clear your windshield, fill windshield wiper reservoir with one part water and two parts vinegar or use water and rubbing alcohol. Then make sure your windshield wipers are in working condition.

  • Spray or pour lukewarm (NOT hot) water over the windshield.

  • Cover the windshield with the vinegar and water mixture to help prevent ice buildup.

  • Cover the windshield with a rug or scrap piece of carpet the night before snow or ice.

  • Hire someone to shovel your driveway.


Other ice melting products are available but can be harmful to the environment, children and pets, so be sure to read the label. Many of the pellets you put down on the driveway to melt the ice, such as Driveway Heat, contain chemicals that are considered to be nontoxic if used correctly but are still just as harmful as salt. Children and pets are especially at risk because these products heat up ? some to 175 degrees ? to break the ice away from the driveway. Pets can get the pellets stuck in their paws and end up burnt, or worse, ingesting them. The same is true for children. Anything you track onto your carpet can end up in children's eyes or mouths.


Some chemicals are less harmful to the environment and your family. Safe Paw makes an ice melting product that is specifically designed to keep children and pets safe. Cryotech E36 is acetate-based and is considered nontoxic. Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) is a better alternative to salt, but can still be harmful to the environment. The key is the amount of rainfall. The area affected needs adequate moisture to wash the chemicals away.


Some products are also available to help you shovel snow. One example is the wovel, which uses your body weight to remove snow and is easier on your back.


Do you have an ice removal remedy? Share your tips or stories in the comments section below. You can also learn about ice damming by clicking here.