Every winter, I see people struggling with snow removal from their driveways, walkways, and steps. I feel the urge to make a public service announcement about how to deal with the problem effectively.
9 Great Snow Removal Tips To Save You This Winter
Here are 9 of the tips and tricks to help you get rid of snow & ice faster and more effectively
1. Spread Rock Salt
Ok, this is one most of you will know. But being the most effective and popular method I could not miss it out. Wait, before you grab your salt and start spreading, a word of warning. Even though it is highly effective it is also one of the more damaging methods.
Used in large amounts, rock salt, or sodium chloride, can be corrosive. It may damage plants and can cause harm to animals it comes in contact with. Remember, by using less the runoff is less likely to harm your plants and pets.
2. Use a Leaf Blower to Clear Snow
Using a leaf blower to clear snow is not a foolproof method, as I’ve covered in another blog. But, if you only have a light and powdery snow flurry, it can work.
A few words of caution, though. I would only recommend the use of a small engine gas-powered leaf blower for snow clearing, never an electric model. Moisture and electricity do not mix and make for a serious hazard.
Even with a gas leaf blower, I don’t want you to spend too much time on the job. Do not attempt to use a leaf blower to blow snow if it is wet, heavy snow, or over 3 inches deep. They are ideal for smaller surfaces like front doorsteps or a small walkway etc. but no more.
If you regularly receive medium to large amounts of white stuff, I recommend that you upgrade to a snowblower.
3. Lubricate Your Snow Shovel
Although shoveling snow is always a chore, it becomes even more difficult when the snow starts sticking to your shovel. One of the best tips I can give you for this is applying a lubricant to the snow shovelhead.
You can buy special non-stick sprays at the hardware store. Personally, if I have to shovel snow, I use whatever I find in the house. Cooking spray and vegetable oil both work very well along with vaseline or paraffin wax.
If you find yourself shoveling for any length of time it may be worth investing in an ergonomic and user-friendly snow shovel. Or, better still treat yourself to one of the little electric shovels, they are an amazing piece of kit to have.
4. Make Giant Snowballs to Clear Snow
Looking for a snow removal method that can actually be fun with the family? Rally the kids and start a giant snowball-building competition or build a snowman or two!
This is a great way to make the most out of winter weather while clearing snow. If you are comfortable with secretly tricking your family into doing a chore, that is.
5. Get Rid of Ice Using a Rubbing Alcohol Mix
Did you know rubbing alcohol is a great de-icer, well you could also use gin or vodka, but…
Getting rid of the frost and ice on your windscreen by spraying rubbing alcohol mix on them is quick and easy. Just mix two-thirds alcohol to one-third water and pour into a spray bottle, simply wipe it off with a dry towel or ice scraper.
This homemade spray de-icer liquid will not cause any damage and is cheaper than shop-bought products. Keep a bottle of the solution in your car, just in case you need it.
6. Using A Driveway Cover
Now, this is one of my prevention of snow removal tips rather than cure. Place a tarp or driveway cover on the ground, make sure to fasten or weigh it down though. For ease, either tie rope or handles to the corners for moving. Then you can simply pull it out of the way after the snowfall.
If your budget allows there are also driveway snowmelt mats on the market. Built with warming elements to prevent snow and ice buildup on its surface. These will give two tracks clear of snow on your drive.
A bit of an investment, but easier than snow and ice removal. Once installed there is no more need for snow shoveling in the early morning before work.
7. Non-Toxic Ice Melters
The ice melt you buy in the hardware store could perhaps come with better safety tips as several of them can contain some not-so-nice ingredients. Some examples of these ingredients are sodium chloride (salt), magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, and urea-based solutions.
Of course, they are safe in small quantities, but if they build up they can cause problems for areas with plants and if you have pets or children.
Try to avoid using these if you can and make your own recipe. Here’s one for you, add half a dozen drops of dish soap to about half a gallon of warm water along with two ounces of rubbing alcohol. It will work wonders.
8. Using Cat Litter Or Sand To Get Some Traction
A couple of safety tricks that you can use for slippery conditions are to spread sand or kitty litter on the snow or ice. Especially good for steps, walkways, and entrances.
Although, both are great for traction remember they do not actually melt the snow or ice. They are just a good measure against slips and falls and a simple way to avoid injuries.
9. Use a Snow Blower or Electric Snow Shovel
As I touched on earlier in the blog, nothing beats owning a good snowblower if you have large amounts of snow. A snow thrower, or if your budget is tight, the best electric snow shovel you can get for your money will do the job for those of you with a little less snowfall.
Snow shoveling can be quite an effort putting a strain on the body. Be sure to buy ergonomic shovels and use PT-approved techniques to avoid injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions (People Also Ask)
As you can see there are many tips and tricks to prevent snow removal as well as help with it. Let me leave you with a few final snow removal tips.
Can you pour hot water on snow?
You should never pour hot water on snow to clear it, as when it cools it may well freeze and cause a bigger hazard. In addition to that, any sudden temperature change can also cause serious damage to the surfaces underneath, especially glass and metal.
Is it dangerous to shovel snow?
Shoveling snow is not dangerous in itself, but care should be taken. It is not only strenuous, but poor posture or bad technique can increase the risk of injury.
How to melt snow faster?
To melt snow faster you can use a mix of dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and warm water. Add half a dozen drops of dish soap to about half a gallon of warm water along with two ounces of rubbing alcohol.
Well, there you have it guys, my top 9 tips for the snow season. I have covered prevention as well as remedies for those frosty days, after all the less work you have to do clearing snow the better.
I hope you have enjoyed the read and that the tips will serve you well in the coming months.