Bob Vila Radio: Melt Driveway Ice the DIY Way

Sometimes the snow and ice come faster than we can prepare for. If that's the case, don't worry! You already have the supplies for homemade ice melt.

Winter storms sometimes have a way of sneaking up on us. If that happens, and you get another surprise—no ice melt on hand!—don’t despair. Chances are you already have the makings of homemade ice melt on the shelves of your pantry or garage.

Homemade Ice Melt




Although rock salt works better than table salt for melting ice, the stuff you add to your soup can help out. Either type of salt has to permeate the ice, so it does the best job if you pour hot water over patches of ice before spreading the salt.

A common ingredient in commercial fertilizers—ammonium sulfate—also helps in a pinch. It works by effectively lowering the temperature at which ice melts. Careful, though: You’ll want to go easy on use of fertilizer in areas that might drain into municipal sewers and end up in waterways.

Rubbing alcohol is another alternative. You can either pour it on straight or mix it with water in a spray bottle.

Regardless of which method you use, it’s best to include some cupfuls of sand or kitty litter to help with traction.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!