If you clicked on this, it’s likely that you’re in search of a silver bullet ice-melting formula that’s effective, cheap, and eco-friendly. The truth is, there are heaps of de-icing solutions for surfaces like asphalt driveways, but when it comes to melting ice on or near your lawn, it gets a little trickier. Let’s peek at a handful of ice removal and melting methods that will keep your yard in tip-top shape.
- Shoveling. I know. This is by far the lamest option on the list, so let’s get it out of the way first. But despite being the lamest option, it’s also the cheapest and most trustworthy. When shoveling on your lawn, it’s best to leave about a half inch of snow or ice, to avoid digging in and damaging the grass. This will save you a major reseeding headache come spring. Keep in mind, as well, that while shoveling your lawn often works well with snow, it may be ineffective against a tough sheet of ice.
- Snow blowing. Snow blowing your lawn is a great option if you’re looking to clear a fairly sizable space—like creating a path to a grill or shed or making a little area for your pup to pee. Similar to shoveling, you want to be sure you’re not digging into the grass, which you can do by adjusting the skid shoes a little higher than you would if you were snow-blowing your driveway. Before doing this, however, you’ll want to ensure that your yard is free from any debris.
- Safe Paw. Safe Paw is probably the closest you’ll find to being a silver bullet solution to melt ice without harming your kids, pets, or lawn. On top of being completely safe, it’s also non-corrosive, meaning it can be used on concrete with no ill effects. A little goes a long way with Safe Paw, so just sprinkle a little on the area you’re trying to clear, wait ten minutes or so, and voila! While Safe Paw is a great product, you pay for the convenience of not having to suit up and shovel: an eight-pound jug is about $25.
- Coffee. Yep, admittedly, this one is a little strange, but hear me out. Used coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which helps lower the melting point of ice. In addition, the dark color of coffee grounds attracts sunlight, which can also increase melting speed. The only problem, of course, is quantity. You would need a whole heck of a lot of coffee grounds to melt any sizable space.
- Kitty Litter. Kitty litter is sometimes regarded as the preeminent underground de-icing agent. But the truth is, the active ingredients in kitty litter do little to lower ice’s melting point. While it can be used to provide traction on slippery surfaces, many kitty litters can harm your grass and plants.
- DIY Ice Melt Solution. The appeal of this solution is that it’s incredibly cheap and that you likely already have all the ingredients on hand. Here’s how to make it: mix one gallon of room temperature water, two tablespoons of dish soap, and 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol. Pour lightly over the area you’d like to clear, and wait for the area to thaw (which can actually happen in the course of minutes, depending on how cold it is). If using on grass or other vegetation, for best results, pour the solution into a spray bottle and spray away!
Keep in mind that the best solution for you will depend on your yard, the weather, and what you happen to have on hand. Be wary of traditional deicers, because while they’ll likely make quick work of the ice, they may also make quick work of your grass and plants, too.