How To De-Ice Your Driveway

It’s a lot easier to prevent ice from freezing on your driveway than it is to chip it off, so the first thing you want to do is get the precipitate off before it has a chance to harden. Once the rain/sleet/wintry mix stops, bust out the shovel and start getting as much slush off as possible.

You can also spread sand and salt on the driveway on high points on the driveway. The salt will melt under the ice and make it easier for you to get a shovel in. The sand will absorb heat and help to melt the ice.

(The shoveling and chipping part you’ve probably got figured out already.)

Calcium chloride is also useful as it will continue to help melt ice even when the temperature is between 0 and 25 degrees. Salt is great but won’t really work after the temps go below 20. You can pick up a jar of calcium chloride at automotive or hardware stores.

So those are your tools. Salt, sand, calcium chloride, a shovel, and your willpower. Use them together, early, and you have a better chance of keeping your driveway from turning into a winter-long curling range.

How to De-Ice a Driveway [eHow]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    hey! I like my winter-long curling range!

  2. apbailey says:

    Move to a warmer climate!

    • PatrickPortland says:

      F’n a, are you serious? As I started to read this I thought, “Some jerkoff is going to blame the people who live in 49 of the 50 states that currently have snow for not living in Florida” – and bam, there you are.

      You win at failing.

    • ConsumerA says:

      It’s helpful to have a driveway with southern exposure if you live in the Denver area. 90% of the time, the snow will melt off the driveway by the next day. Thanks to the sun and the wind from the nearby canyon, I haven’t had to shovel my driveway in years!

      • Kibit says:

        Completely agree! Our place in Boulder is southern exposure and its amazing how quickly the snow melts. :)

    • ArizonaGeek says:

      80 degrees and sunny here in the Phoenix area!

    • FuzzyWillow says:

      I purposely moved OUT OF Florida. Its a hot humid mosquito haven. In lake Wobegon all of the children are above average. The below average ones live in Florida.

      Seriously, I’ll take the once-in-a-while fire up the snow blower evening along with the beautiful seasonal changes I get here in the northeast. Small price to pay for living where I live.

      • Mike says:

        Florida sucks. It is a common mistake for people to try and escape snow by moving to Florida, big mistake. You are right, it is too humid, the mosquitoes can kill you, and the real estate market is insane. That said, there are plenty of great warm places to live that aren’t Florida, many of which have dry heat.

        You couldn’t drag me back to the northeast if my life depended on it. My wife and I have an agreement, nothing north of Raleigh ever again.

    • ReaperRob says:

      What’s this snow thing people keep talking about, I live in southern Alabama and haven’t seen any since 1997.

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      Would if I could. I hate New York.

    • TorontoConsumer says:

      Pfft, all of you are sissies! It’s supposed to get to -25 C this weekend here in Ottawa, and it’s been a mild winter so far.

    • erinpac says:

      I thought I had when I got to Georgia. Apparently not. I traded lots of snow for a little snow, but added sucky roads that never drain and a lack of gov. snow plows/salt.

  3. Mike says:

    I have a better idea- move some place warm. I left New York years ago and have lived in warm places ever since.

    • tbax929 says:

      Agreed. I miss a lot of things about Pennsylvania; the weather isn’t one of them!

    • ArmyCats says:

      And then you need to start worrying about floods, which leads you to a new solution: move to some colder places, and then to avoid freezing driveways, you move to warm place, and then cold place warm place cold place warm cold ($#*&)(*@#(@

      *(goes mad)

    • madfrog says:

      True, but alot of places that don’t normally get snow/ice are getting this durning the current season. Us seasoned New Englanders have been doing this for years- I think it was done to educate them. Another good tip is to flip up you wipers so that they don’t stick to the glass on the car if you know a storm is coming, particulary one that may have ice with it. You can always tell the true cold climate people from the ones who have no clue by this.

  4. rewind says:
  5. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    I ran a series of tubes under my driveway, and as the information/trucks drive through them, they generate heat and melt the snow.

  6. TheGreySpectre says:

    I live in someplace warm, I would gladly go back to shoveling my driveway to have four seasons instead of just having summer and summer+. Shoveling your driveway really isn’t that hard and it’s a nice way to get a bit of exercise.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      Having recently moved out of florida, I know how you feel. Though in central florida, some years it was summer+ and summer++;

      At least here we have autumn, and boy was it beautiful.

    • Pax says:

      … and instead, you have two-or-more-inch-long FLYING cockroaches … excuse me, “palmetto bugs”.

      No thanks, I’ll keep my snowy New England winters, rather than trade ’em in for That. O_o

  7. BigPapaCherry says:

    Not trying to be overly pedantic, but isn’t calcium chloride a salt? I realize salt is generally sodium chloride, but if you check the label of most commercial ice-melting salts, they have a combination of sodium chloride, calcium chloride, and some other chemicals. Probably already have calcium chloride in the salt you already own.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      I use Kosher Salt. Pretty sure it is pretty much all Sodium Chloride.

      • RandomHookup says:

        Perfect, except you have to have a mohel come over and clip the tops off your shrubs before it’s effective.

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      Different solvents, in this case NaCl and CaCl, have different cryoscopic constants and cause the water/ice/salt mixture to freeze at different temperatures. The article doesn’t specifically mention NaCl as the salt they’re using, but I think it’s implied. Anyhoot, NaCl’s constant is such that water will still freeze/ice won’t melt below 20 degrees. CaCl’s constant is such that it depresses the freezing point of water to 0 degrees.

  8. OnefinFinn says:

    Although the salt and CaC12 do a great job on ice, I find the side effects not worth their use. It renders the areas around the driveway inhospitable to flora. I also find it gets tracked indoors ruining the floors and rugs around entryways. My least favorite aspect, sometimes it ends up on the dog’s paws, which can cause them great discomfort. I am sure our resident scientists can also attest to long term environmental impacts on the watershed.

  9. mospeada says:

    How about not letting it get to ice to begin with? Preventative shoveling will take care of this problem unless the precipitation is actual ice. Get off your lazy bum and shovel early and often to prevent ice.

    • bsh0544 says:

      Nice idea, but I’ve got a job, and many many things to do in the house. And when I’m not doing one of those things, I like to actually relax.

      • axhandler1 says:

        Exactly. Not to mention that this solution becomes completely impractical when it starts snowing at midnight and continues throughout the following day.

    • 6a says:

      I find it helpful to toss down some salt before it starts, it’s just like greasing a frying pan.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      that is what I do. it’s easier to shovel too.

      Shovel before I go to sleep. Wake up early and shovel some more.

      if the snow is light, a broom is good enough. I realized I only get ice if I live the snow there and people walk all over before I shovel.

      My parent have a large driveway. enough to park 5 cars. The day they bought a snow blower was one of the happiest day.

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      I use a snow blower…lot more fun watching my neighbor try to shovel that crap.

    • aloria says:

      I enjoy not getting up at four o’clock in the morning to keep up with the snow and freezing rain.

      My boss also, for some strange reason, won’t let me leave work in the middle of the day to do the same.

      It must be nice to sit at home all day and make sure your driveway stays clear… can I have your job?

    • madfrog says:

      That depends on the particular storm. If it starts off as snow and then it warms up a bit and you get sleet/freezing rain- if you clear it- you get a skating rink. It is better in a case like this to leave a bit of snow on the driveway and wait until the storm is over to clear everything off.

  10. skylar.sutton says:

    Slow news day, huh?

    • kingofmars says:

      More like SNOW news day!

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        Back in my day, to get the news you had to walk 12 miles in the snow. Uphill. Both ways.

        The newspaper was printed on sheets of broken glass and the words were written in semi-transparent oil. It was nigh impossible to read but that’s the way we liked it.

        Funny thing about that oil… it would burst into flame if you look at them cross-eyed. Flaming shards of broken glass were a frequent hazard. That’s why they’re taken to the restroom: you’re going to need plenty of first aid supplies to read them.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:


        • kingofmars says:

          See I thought you would just flush the oil down when it caught on fire, but now I realize that the oil would just rise to the top and whirl into a fire tornado! God I never would have survied olden times.
          Also did they have those seeing eye posters back then? “ok I’ve finally got my eyes crossed… it’s a sailboat! And now it’s on fire!

  11. MutantMonkey says:

    Savory water?

  12. stevied says:

    Salt +/- Calcium Chloride = rust on your new car.

  13. YokoOhNo says:

    Waaaaah, there’s snow/ice on my driveway so I have to get off my ass and put about 60 minutes of physical labor into clearing it.

    or, for the privileged among the consumerist crowd, pay the neighborhood kid walking around with a shovel $30 to do it for you so your tender hands don’t get a chill…(cue the “it’s MY money, I worked hard for it, and i’m not paying someone to remove a substance that i didn’t request to be on MY property” consumerist crowd)

  14. guspaz says:

    There’s also the option of heating driveways. At 30W per square foot, a typical 10’x20′ driveway requires 6KW to heat. HydroQuebec charges 6.88 cents CAD per kilowatt hour, and Montreal has an average of 60 days of snowfall a year. If we assume 12 hours a day of heating per snowfall (since snow doesn’t fall in solid 24 hour chunks), that’s 720 hours, for a total per-winter electrical cost of $49.54 CAD per year.

    People spend hundreds of dollars a year on driveway clearing services in Montreal, how come more people don’t use heated driveways? Heck, the driveway clearing service just takes care of snow, not ice, so the heated driveway would do a far better job to boot.

    • bsh0544 says:

      $297.22/year. You forgot to multiply in the 6 KW.

      Also there’s the cost of installation, and I can only assume maintenance would be much more difficult/expensive.

    • neilb says:

      How much is the system to install and maintain? How much maintenance does it take?

    • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

      You might want to figure in the cost to rip up your old drive and install the new heated driveway.

      • Rachacha says:

        Installation costs apparently are $12-$21/ square foot. Pricing is dependant on whether it is a new driveway. or whether you have to rip up an existing driveway as well as local labor and material costs. So for the same 10′ x 20′ driveway mentioned above (which is a small driveway) , you are looking at $2400 – $4200 (which includes the new driveway surface).

        Assuming the driveway and the system last you 20 years, you are looking at about $200/year for installation + operation costs.

        If you lived in an area that received a lot of snow/ice and you did not want to shovel yourself, it provides an alternative to hiring a plow contractor (although it will be more expensive…but there will be no ice (in theory))

  15. Alvis says:

    “Calcium chloride is also useful…. Salt is great but won’t really work…”

    Calcium chloride IS a salt.

  16. Consumeristing says:

    LOL! 70 degrees here in SoCal. Every time I think of moving out of this sunny hellhole, well, it gets sunny outside.

  17. kennedar says:

    Please do not use salt, its horrible on animals. We try to be respectful of our neighbors and not let our dog walk on their lawn, but when they use salt she is in a large amount of pain. Its simply impossible to walk her without going on their lawn. I have decided that if they are going to use salt, then our dog is allowed on their lawn.

    Oh and its a curling rink or sheet of curling ice, not a curling range! ;)

  18. elysse says:

    And then, in the warmer season, the family’s bicycles and motorcycles get a free sand trap to slide in! YAY DROPPED BIKES.

  19. MountainCop says:

    I make my own curling rinks at home.

    • Hrustar says:

      Pretreat with brine. It’s what a lot of DOTS are doing now. Make up your own brine (Salt and water), put into a gallon sized sprayer and cover your driveway with a thing coating. Works well to prevent ice build up.

  20. Invader Zim says:

    Now that we have stated the obvious…can I have those 2 minutes back?

  21. Mike AKA MonolithTMA says:

    Ours is just a one car garage, but it’s nearly identical to the one in the picture!

  22. GameHen says:

    Living in the Pacific NW, I’m always mystified at my neighbors that break out the snow shovels the moment the snow starts to fall. Dude, it’s just going to melt away tomorrow. Why go through all the effort?

  23. turkishmonky says:

    whenever I buy a house, i really want to do a diy heated driveway (something like ). Figure it will be much easier then shoveling out the whole thing every few days in winter.

    It’s nice now because someone shovels and plows for us if there’s more then an inch, so we don’t have to worry about it.

  24. VOIDMunashii says:

    Just spray some lighter fluid all over it, and light that puppy up!

  25. Buckus says:

    Step 1: Move to Phoenix
    Step 2: Ice?

  26. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Good timing; we’re supposed to get more snow Wednesday into Thursday. Bleah.

  27. Flatiron_32 says:

    If you live in Colorado, just make sure your house faces South and the sun will take care of the rest; otherwise, you are screwed.

  28. Mr.Grieves says:

    Salt = fail, god I hate salt getting on my sh*t.

    Chipping IS the way to go. All you need is a steel, flat headed object on a pole, and the ice will just leap off your drive way. (I live in Canada, yes I get snow and I neglect my driveway as long as I can)

  29. Sparkstalker says:

    Use Magnesium Chloride instead of Calcium Chloride or rock salt. Better for plant life and your vehicle.