How to Melt Ice on a Sidewalk

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How to Melt Ice on a Sidewalk

Having snow freeze up in your sidewalk, garage and porch can lead to some slippery accidents that can seriously injure you. Here are some things you can do to protect your family and loved ones from harm, in a jiffy.

Types of De-icers


Salt is the usual go-to for melting ice on a sidewalk. What salt actually does is lower the freezing point of ice, which will cause it to melt off the sidewalk more easily. Salt also prevents ice from refreezing. Rock salt is the best way to go if you intend to use salt, but kitchen salt will do as well in a hurry.

  • Pros: Salt is cheap and readily accessible.
  • Cons: Salt can actually cause damage to the sidewalk concrete, not to mention cause damage to flooring when your feet go from the sidewalk to the indoors of your house. Salt can also be harmful to the soil, your plants and animals that may end up inadvertently eating it.

Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is another go-to when it comes to melting ice off sidewalks. Like salt, it’s also readily available and cheap.

  • Pros: It melts the ice quicker than salt.
  • Cons: It’s corrosive to metal and can be damaging to plants. Leaves a slimy residue after use.

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium chloride is a similar product which has less potential harm. It’s less corrosive than calcium chloride and safer even in concentrated levels on salt and plants.

Potassium Chloride

Potassium chloride is typically more expensive than other products used for melting ice, but can be mixed with salt if you’re trying to be more economical. When not used with salt, potassium chloride is relatively harmless, but overuse may cause damage to vegetation


Urea is typically used for fertilizer, but it can be used for melting ice, too. However, like any particular kind of fertilizer, it also can damage plants if used too much.

Commercial Products

If you’re still flummoxed about which de-icer to use, you can always use commercial products. Magic Minus Zero is one commercial product that does do much harm to the environment while being accessible and reasonably-priced.


  1. Once you’ve chosen your de-icer of choice, make sure that you’ve read the instructions carefully (if you’re using a commercial product).
  2. Put on protective gear like rubber gloves, as de-icers can be irritating on your skin.
  3. Do not use de-icers on concrete that has not been completely cured.
  4. Shovel ice and snow and clear the sidewalk as well as you can.
  5. Do not too much of the product on the icy sidewalk. Use just enough to prevent the sidewalk from becoming slippery. Any form of de-icer can be damaging if overused.
  6. Flush the area with water if you think you’ve used too much de-icer.


If you want to avoid using any type of chemical or product altogether, you can try using cracked corn. Cracked corn won’t melt the ice, but it can provide the traction that you need to prevent you from slipping on the frozen sidewalk. It’s also biodegradable, safe for your indoor flooring and not harmful to animals.