Sometimes the meteorologist gets it wrong, and you wake up to a couple of inches of wet snow. If you don't have any ice melt handy and you've lost your ambition to shovel (or never had it in the first place), you might be stuck staring forlornly out at your driveway wondering how to melt ice and snow fast with minimal effort. With a few simple DIY recipes, you'll be able to melt snow and ice quickly and safely so you can get on with your life.
Simple DIY Recipes to Melt Ice and Snow Fast
One of the best ways to melt snow is rock salt, but if you're caught by surprise from a freak snowstorm, you don't always have any on hand. You can also substitute table or kosher salt for ice melt, but it's going to cost a bundle to buy the amount you need. Thank goodness you can protect your bottom line with DIY snow melt that uses ingredients and materials that are already snowed in at your house with you.
Dish Soap & Rubbing Alcohol
This is one of my favorite methods because it works on snow and ice, and it's easy to make in bulk and safe for dogs. Just remember to push the liquid away after it melts the ice, so it doesn't refreeze on your porch. You can also use this method on your windshield to save you some scraping.
- Mix 8 cups of boiling water, 7-8 drops of blue Dawn dish soap, and ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol.
- Pour it onto your deck or sidewalk.
- Use a snow shovel to push away any remaining ice or snow.
Pro tip: Put it in a spray bottle and spray away to quickly de-ice your car windows.
Rubbing alcohol and dish soap is my go-to because it's fast and cheap, but you can use white vinegar to melt ice too.
- Mix a 2:1 ratio of white vinegar to hot water. (Make a small batch for cars or a large batch for sidewalks and porches.)
- Pour over the snow and ice.
- Be sure to push away any remaining liquid or slush with a snow shovel so it doesn't refreeze.
Pro tip: This method also works well if you spray it on the porch or sidewalk any time you're expecting snow or an icy freeze.
Ash & White Vinegar
Do you have a wood or pellet stove? Then, you've got natural ice melt you're currently throwing away. Not only is this method DIY and effective, but it's also safe for your plants and pets.
- Collect two cups of ash from your fireplace.
- Fill a gallon bucket halfway with water.
- Put in the ash and let it settle overnight.
- Sift out any large chunks of ash from the top.
- Pour the ash water into a new container.
- Add two cups of white vinegar to the ash water and mix well.
- Add it to a spray bottle and spray the ice or dump it from the bucket in the areas you need to de-ice.
Time (or maybe it's patience) has never been my friend. Therefore, waiting overnight for a mixture to melt stuff is hard. So, don't wait. Pull ash right out of the fireplace and sprinkle it on the snow. You don't want the coals to be red hot, but warm coals are very effective at melting ice on driveways, bricks, etc. The black of the ash also keeps the snow melting in that area because it absorbs the sun's heat.
Other DIY Methods to Melt Ice
So, there aren't a lot of DIY methods that work to melt snow fast. Those listed above are pretty much it, and even some of these might not meet the speed of commercial ice melt. However, if you take the fast out of the equation, you can find several DIY tricks to melt ice and save your pooches and plants. But you'll want to grab your coffee and maybe a book because many of these will take some time to process.
- Baking soda - Generously sprinkle baking soda on the walkway and let it work. It also adds a little grippiness.
- Sugar - Apply to small areas. It reacts the same as salt.
- Soda - Diet Coke brand works the best. Just dump and wait.
- Sand & baking soda - Mix equal parts and apply generously. The baking soda melts the ice while the sand adds grip.
- Alfalfa meal - Sprinkle generously to add traction and melt ice. The Farmer's Almanac is pretty handy!
- Coffee grinds - Don't throw those grinds away! Sprinkle them on the snow like you would salt to melt the ice and provide traction. Just don't let the pets try to eat it. Lesson learned the hard way.
- Kitty litter - Apply generously to add grip. It doesn't melt the ice, but it's a great alternative to give traction.
Easy Ways to Melt Snow and Ice Fast
Snow and ice are beautiful when you're staring at them cozily from your window and sipping hot cocoa. Not so fun when you slip and are lying in your driveway questioning your life choices. Keep your feet on the ground and your thoughts moving forward by using a few simple recipes to melt snow fast. Who has time for shoveling, anyway?