Green home deicer

Eco-friendly Salt Alternatives for Melting Ice and Snow

Salt does do a great job of melting ice and snow through the winter but its bad news for your pets, the environment and your garden. Pets get salt on their paws which causes cracking, salt corrodes metal, damages concrete and wreaks havoc on your garden and lawn. With spring melt, all the accumulated salt ends up in your waterways where the local wildlife may not survive the seasoning. Here are some green living alternatives to melt your winter ice.

Organic Salt-free Deicer

It’s a little pricier than salt, but these products will help to keep your walkways and driveways ice-free.

Kitty Litter

OK, this doesn’t actually melt the ice, but it does provide traction for a more non-slip surface and the darker color causes the snow to melt faster.


This is a natural deicer and while it won’t harm your pets, corrode your metal or pit your concrete, it can be really bad news for your plants so avoid using it near the garden.

Alfalfa Meal

This is a super effective natural green ice melting miracle! It’s 100% natural and is usually used as a fertilizer. It’s grainy so it will provide traction and is extremely effective when used in moderation.

Sugar Beet Juice

The juice from sugar beets lowers the melting point of ice and snow which helps to clear your driveway. It’s even been used to melt ice and snow on municipal roads in some areas. It’s safe for animals, people, metals, concrete and plants.

Sand, ash from the fireplace or coffee grinds

Sprinkle these over your icy surfaces to provide traction and the darker colors will absorb more heat and help to melt snow and ice.

Don’t underestimate the importance of shoveling. A good shovel will clear your drive while giving you a wicked workout and it’s the most natural, environmentally friendly and green way to get rid of your icy bits this winter.

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Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives with her husband and a very bad dog.

15 thoughts on “Eco-friendly Salt Alternatives for Melting Ice and Snow

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  2. David Guion

    We don’t get a lot of ice here in North Carolina, but when we do, we get some wicked ice storms. Years ago, I bought a product called Driveway Heat because it was supposed to be better for plants and concrete than salt. Of course, no ingredients are disclosed on the label. So I certainly hope it’s not too awful in case I have to use any this year.

    I used to live in the Chicago area, so I would like to comment further on the meaning of “a good shovel.” Look for one with sort of an S-shaped handle. That design is much, much better for your back! I’m glad I brought mine down here, because I have had to use it on a sloping driveway.

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