How to Melt Ice Fast (Hint: It’s Not Salt!)

Updated: Dec. 27, 2022

Out of rock salt? Here’s how to avoid slipping and sliding on your front porch this winter.

In the dark and cold months of winter, the last thing you want to do is shovel ice and snow from your driveway. We hear ya! While rock salt might be a quick fix to melt ice, it’s not always easy to find once temperatures drop, either. What to do?

Thankfully, winter-proofing your home doesn’t require breaking the bank on rock salt or fancy gadgets. You can create a DIY de-icer with items you already own instead.

This magical ice melter is easy to make, too. In a bucket, combine a half-gallon of hot water, about six drops of dish soap, and 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol. Once you pour the mixture onto your sidewalk or driveway, the snow and ice will begin to bubble up and melt. Just keep a shovel handy to scrape away any leftover pieces of ice.

Why does this simple combo work? Turns out, rubbing alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water (128°F below 0), so it speeds up the melting process and prevent the surface from icing up in the future, says Jeff Rossen, an NBC News National Investigative Correspondent and host of Rossen Reports. He also recommends pouring the mixture into a spray bottle and using it to thaw your car windows.