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10 Hacks for Removing Ice

Winter ice around your home can be dangerous, so some preventative measures and a plan of attack can prevent slips and falls, and make winter life a little easier. Here are 11 innovative and effective ways to remove ice.

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Blow Through a StrawSasha Ivanova/Shutterstock

Blow Through a Straw

If ice has formed in your car lock, grab a straw. And put the end of the straw right up to the lock and blow into the straw. Also, the warmth from your breath will melt the ice.

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Snow Melting Mats

Snow Melting Mats

Snow melting mats may be a more costly option, but you certainly won't have to keep shoveling and dealing with ice. And these mats work for walkways, stairs and even driveways. Photo: Courtesy of morelectricheating.com

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Natural Deicer for Walkways and StepsArina P Habich/Shutterstock

Natural Deicer for Walkways and Steps

Rock salt can cause damage to plants, pets and children, so try a more environmentally friendly deicer.  And both magnesium chloride and potassium chloride won't irritate skin or hurt your plants. Also look at your local hardware store or garden center for deicer with these ingredients.

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Hot Water on PavementAndrey_Nikitin/Shutterstock

Hot Water on Pavement

If the ice is stubborn and you don't have any deicer, wait for the warmest part of the day and boil some water and pour it over the troubled area of pavement. And then be sure to sweep or shovel off the water so ice doesn't reform. You can also use a towel to soak up some of the water.

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Saltwater for your CarTim Trott/Shutterstock

Saltwater for your Car

Running late and you don't have a windshield scraper in the car? So try a saltwater mix. Road salt mixed with some water will remove the thin layer of ice when the temperature dips below 32 degrees F. And then use your wipers to push the slush away. Since salt isn't great for your car, use this method sparingly.

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Alcohol Mixed with WaterMaxim Blinkov/Shutterstock

Alcohol Mixed with Water

Try making a two-to-one mix of rubbing alcohol and water and spray the mixture on your windows. And then wipe away the melted ice with a blast from your windshield washer. You can also add a drop or two of dish soap to the mix. Also, this removing ice mixture is safe for your car's glass and paint.

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Your Handsrodimov/Shutterstock

Your Hands

In a pinch, use your hands to melt the ice from your car windows. And since your hand is warm, it will provide the heat needed to melt the ice but it will take a bit longer than a typical deicer.

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Use Caution on DecksAlena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Use Caution on Decks

Metal shovels and some chemicals can damage your deck, so use caution when removing ice from the boards. Ice melt for wood decks: Make sure deicer products are designed for your type of deck (wood or composite decking). Also, remember to push snow parallel to your deck boards. With decks, it's best to shovel early and often to prevent ice buildup.

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Use Caution Around Trees and Bushesalexnika/Shutterstock

Use Caution Around Trees and Bushes

It may be tempting to break all the ice off tree limbs and bushes, but use caution. Instead of trying to whack all the ice off the branch with a shovel, just take a broom and knock off loose pieces. And while the trees may seem strained from the ice, once it melts the trees should stand up straight again and you risk breaking off branches if you're too aggressive.

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Remove Icicles CarefullyPhill Beale/Shutterstock

Remove Icicles Carefully

Keeping your home free from icicles can help prevent ice dams from forming, however, use caution when removing them. And use a long broom and knock the icicles down from the side so they don't fall on you (or someone else). Also be careful not to hit the icicles too hard, since doing so could also cause your gutters to come crashing down.

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Pickle JuicePeter Albrektsen/Shutterstock

Pickle Juice

Don't dump that jar of pickle juice, use it to deice your windows or walkway! And since the juice has a lot of salt, the mixture will quickly melt ice from car windows in a pinch. Also if you use it on the walkway, just remember to sweep off the melted ice and juice or the ice will reform.

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.