What are Some Environment-friendly Salt Alternatives for Ice Melting

What are Some Environment-friendly Salt Alternatives for Ice Melting

How do you de-ice your driveway without harming the environment?

If you have ever wondered about that, I have some good news.

I am going to give you a detailed list of the environment-friendly alternatives to rock salt you can use.

1. Use an environment-friendly deicer

Salt consists of the chemical compound sodium chloride. When the ice thaws out, the salt washes away into rivers and lakes in the vicinity. Salt in water interferes with the ability of freshwater organisms to regulate the passage of fluid in and out of their bodies.

It also seeps down the earth, ending up in groundwater, resulting in salty drinking wells. Also, it erodes soil and damages vegetation.

Environment-friendly deicers include potassium chloride and calcium magnesium acetate. Though still not perfect, they are considerably better for the environment than sodium chloride.

2. Install a heated driveway

A heated driveway is the most effective way of melting ice without resorting to environment-destroying alternatives. Granted, it will raise the electricity bill. But it’s worth it if you want to avoid the ravages of salt on vegetation, your pet’s paws, and your concrete surfaces.

Note that you must do this when you are laying out the pavement for the first time, or when you are replacing the old one.

Operating on the same principle as radiant heat flooring, heated driveways receive heat from a grid of electrical wires underneath which radiate upwards. The pavement stays heated as the snow falls, and the heat melts the ice before it begins to form.

The effectiveness of a heated driveway compensates for the high cost.

3. Use a snow-melt mat

Snow melt mats are heated mats which you lay out on your driveway, sidewalk, entryways, or stairways. They are the best alternative if installing a heated driveway is out of the question.

They produce enough heat to keep the temperatures of the sidewalk up to prevent ice from forming on its surface

4. Hot water

The main trick when using hot water is to start breaking the ice with a shovel or an ice pick immediately after you pour the hot water on it.

If you are experiencing freezing weather, the water will cool and begin to freeze at rapid speed.

Don’t use hot water to de-ice your window or your car’s windshield. Unless you want to see the glass shatter!

5. Pickle brine

One of the great things about pickle brine is that it contains less chloride than salt, reducing the adverse environmental impact.

Another advantage: if you wet the sidewalk with pickle brine before the ice covers it, the brine will prevent the ice from bonding with the pavement. This will make it easier for you to scrape it off later.

6. Water and alcohol

Prepare a mixture of water and alcohol or water and vinegar, and put it in a spray bottle. It will be useful for deicing your car’s windshield. Remember to use warm water, not hot, because hot water will break the glass.

You might need to apply the alcohol solution a few times if the ice has built up too thickly. If you spray the solution on your windshield at night, you will have an easier time when scraping the ice off the next morning.


There you go! Six different ways you can melt ice without relying on salt.

  • Updated January 21, 2017
  • Ice
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