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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.
Listen to BOB VILA ON MAKING HOMEMADE ICE MELT or read below:
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.
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