11 Easy Hacks For Ice Removal

Updated: Jun. 13, 2024

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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Pickle Juice

Pickle juice? Yep. That jar full of pickle juice can come in handy during the winter months to help deice your sidewalks, windows, etc. Because pickle juice has a lot of salt, the mixture will quickly melt ice from car windows and other surfaces.  If you use it on the walkway, just remember to sweep off the melted ice and juice or the ice will reform. You can even use it to remove black ice on sidewalks and driveways, though you might need a lot of it. The salty brine will help prevent snow and ice from bonding to the surface. Here are a few tips to safely remove snow and ice.

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ice proof windshield with alcohol
Family Handyman

Homemade Deicer with Alcohol and Water

If you find yourself without an ice scraper or needing to scrape the ice off your windshield in a hurry, try making a two-to-one mix of rubbing alcohol and water and spray the mixture on your windows. Add a tablespoon or so of dish soap to the mix to help prevent further ice and help break up the stuff that’s already there. After spraying it on and letting it work its magic, just hit the windshield wipers to clear it away. You may still need to scrape hard-to-reach parts. Also, this removing ice mixture is safe for your car’s glass and paint. You can also try this super easy trick for defrosting your windshield, too.

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Saltwater for Your Car Windows

If you don’t have rubbing alcohol and you’re out of pickle brine, try a saltwater mix to clear your windshield. 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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shutterstock_370399166 removing ice car lock icy
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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 may be a more costly option, but they are still cheaper than installing a heated driveway. They’re just heated mats that you unroll to cover sidewalks, driveways and other surfaces that you want to keep clear. They do require some storage space for the offseason.

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Spreading Salt On A Icy Winter Driveway
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Use a Natural Deicer for Walkways and Steps

Rock salt can cause damage to plants, pets and children, not to mention your concrete surfaces. So instead of using rock salt try another deicer that’s easier on the stuff around it. Both magnesium chloride and potassium chloride won’t irritate skin or hurt your plants. Also look at your home store or garden center for deicer with these ingredients.

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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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WD-40 to Prevent Frozen Locks

Not only can they keep your from getting into your car, but a frozen lock can prevent the door from shutting. Fortunately, a little WD-40 can keep the locks on your car from freezing up in the winter. Just spray a little into the lock before the temperatures drops and the precipitation starts flying. The WD actually stands for “water displacement,” and it keeps moisture from building up and freezing. It will only prevent ice build up for a few days, so don’t expect one spray to last all winter.

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shutterstock_538731970 icy deck snow winter
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Use Caution on Decks

You should take some time to winterize your deck before the depths of winter, but even then, you’ll still have to deal with snow and ice covering it. 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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High Angle View of Curious Devon Rex Kittens Examining Dirty Cat Sand in Litter Box - stock photo
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Use Kitty Litter to Prevent Slips

If you don’t have time to clear your sidewalk with a snowblower or a shovel, or if there’s some stubborn ice and compacted snow that just won’t budge, throw down some kitty litter or sand on your sidewalk or driveway. That will help give people walking over that area some traction, reducing the risk of slips and falls.

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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.

DIYers have also devised ways to deal with ice dams more safely with techniques like roof deicing cables and ice dam pantyhose hack.