No Rock Salt? 5 Homemade Ways to Melt Ice

Rock salt is a great way to melt ice, but it's not the only way. Check out these 5 homemade ice melts made from items you probably already have at home.

Woman shovels snow 

Did you know there are alternative ways to de-ice your driveway and sidewalk that you can find or make at home? It can be much more convenient and budget-friendly than buying rock salt at the store. Some are also better for the environment. This winter, take a look in your cupboards and give the ice the slip with your own homemade deicer. 

Table salt for ice melts

1. Table salt

Instead of rock salt, you can sprinkle a thin layer of table salt over icy areas. Heat is generated because of the chemical reaction that takes place between the salt and water, which lowers the freezing point of the water in the snow. Be careful when using a lot of salt as it can be harmful to grass and plant life when spring arrives. A safer alternative is Epsom salt, but it takes longer and is more expensive. 


Sugar ice melts

2. Sugar

Sugar is another common household product you can use to de-ice that acts in the same way as table salt, lowering the freezing point of the water. However, sugar is more costly than salt. So you may only want to use it on smaller areas, like your front porch. 



Rubbing alcohol ice melts

3. Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, an ingredient found in most commercial deicing products, can be used on its own to melt ice. It has a freezing temperature of about -20 degrees Fahrenheit, which slows the freezing process of water. It’s not quite as effective as salt, but it’s not as harmful to plant life either. In more than moderate quantities it can cause skin, eye and lung irritation, so you may also want to limit its use to smaller areas. 


Fertilizer ice melts

4. Fertilizer

It’s not as quick as salt or rubbing alcohol, but fertilizer can be used as a deicer. Compost is often comprised of ammonium sulfate, potassium chloride or urea, which have warming effects that will slowly melt the ice. 


Beet juice ice melts

5. Beet juice

Believe it or not, beet juice can be used to melt ice when it’s mixed with a water-based salt brine. Mix 20-percent beet juice with 80-percent salt brine and pour it over slippery areas. The beet juice will help the salt brine lower water's freezing temperature even more. To prevent staining, make sure you rinse it off with soap and water as soon as the temperature is above the freezing point. 

Winter can be nice but it also brings ice, which can be very dangerous if not tended to. So it’s important to make sure you protect yourself whether it’s with these homemade ice melts or store-bought rock salt. Protect yourself from perilous winter household breakdowns, too, with an American Home Shield® Home Warranty Plan.


 Related: Don't Let These Winter Home Problems Leave You Out in the Cold

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