Eco-Pleasant Methods To De-Ice Your Sidewalk

When the snow begins falling, it’s tempting to retreat into the home and hibernate till spring. However regardless of how tempting, it’s sadly not attainable. Even when we didn’t should go to work, laws in most communities maintain people chargeable for clearing the sidewalks in entrance of their properties.

There’s a variety of conflicting recommendation about one of the simplest ways to clear a sidewalk, and most of it doesn’t take into account environmental impacts. However we do.

Know Your Circumstances

One of the best ways to clear snow relies on what sort of snow you’ve. It’s possible you’ll solely want a shovel for clearing dry, powdery snow, or it’s possible you’ll want de-icer even when your snow doesn’t stick. Take snow recommendation with a grain of salt. Or keep away from the salt as a result of it will possibly pollute your native water provide — however all the time do take into account your personal snow circumstances.

Security First

Avoiding chemical compounds is normally the most secure alternative. Don’t use de-icer if merely shoveling snow will work. In case you don’t get snow typically, you may cowl the sidewalk with a tarp when snow is predicted. After the snow stops, elevate the tarp for a transparent pathway.

If shoveling is critical, learn to do it safely with out harm. Life-style hackers typically advocate store vacs or leaf blowers as a substitute of shovels for snow removing. Except you might be bodily unable to shovel snow (and can’t discover somebody who can do it for you) it’s finest to keep away from polluting equipment.

In case you should use de-icer, use the smallest efficient quantity and solely apply it the place obligatory. That mentioned, for areas like driveways and sidewalks that you just do clear, do the job proper. Clearing a path solely as huge as a snow shovel doesn’t profit wheelchair customers, individuals with mobility points, or adults holding a toddler’s hand or pushing a stroller. Present a wider path and clear curb cuts to maintain your sidewalk protected for everybody.


Earlier than reaching for de-icer, take into account supplies like sandbox sand or kitty litter that received’t soften ice however can present traction. Hearth ash is one other alternative; relying in your soil sort, this may very well be helpful to your crops. Alfalfa meal is one other materials that will function a fertilizer whereas additionally offering traction.


A preferred and comparatively protected DIY de-icer makes use of dish cleaning soap and rubbing alcohol diluted in water.

In case you should use a business de-icer, magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are barely much less dangerous to crops (and work at a lot decrease temps) than rock salt (sodium chloride). Urea can work as a de-icer, too. Used sparingly, urea might be helpful as a fertilizer. However it will possibly additionally result in eutrophication in downstream waters and burn crops at greater concentrations.

The EPA maintains an inventory of de-icers that meet their Safer Selection Requirements. These Safer Selection requirements don’t assure absolute security to people, pets, and the surroundings. However they do exclude essentially the most dangerous components whereas assuring comparable product efficiency.

Be the Good Neighbor!

Aged or bodily restricted neighbors can’t apply your new de-icing information with out risking harm. About 100 People die shoveling snow yearly. If you can also make the time, supply to assist clear a neighbor’s sidewalk to assist stop falls or worse. It’s an effective way to determine a brand new relationship and make your group a greater place.

Initially printed on January 9, 2020, this text was republished in January 2021 with up to date hyperlinks. 

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