When freezing temperatures cause dangerous patches of ice to develop on our driveways and sidewalks, many people turn to rock salt to combat the slippery mess. Unfortunately, rock salt is composed of sodium chloride—a harsh chemical which can make animals sick and damage nearby plants and grasses. The good news is, there are plenty of alternatives to rock salt that can effectively melt ice without putting pets at risk or harming local ecosystems.
Here are four eco-friendly ice melting alternatives to rock salt.
Typically used in fertilizer production, urea is a less poisonous alternative to rock salt. Urea is produced from natural gas and performs similarly to rock salt. This natural deicer keeps pets safe and will not corrode metal or pit concrete. Avoid plants when using this product, however, as it can be hazardous to gardens.
This natural product has become so popular in recent years that it’s even been used to melt snow and ice on municipal roads in some places. Beet juice will lower the melting point of ice on your driveway, and it’s safe to use around animals, plants, concrete and metals.
Sand or Ash
Consider an economic alternative that provides traction such as sand or ash. Brick sand is a particularly good option because it’s coarser than normal sand. Dark-colored ash and sand can also help to melt snow and ice by absorbing sunlight and raising the temperature of your driveway.
You can even melt ice and snow with the brine from your latest pickling project. Pickle brine prevents ice from sticking to the road, making it easier to remove. Just apply it before a snowstorm, and then shovel the loose snow and ice away once it starts to accumulate.