Could it really be? After an incredibly mild winter here in Hampton Roads, could we actually see snow on the ground Friday morning? While some folks might find snow down right annoying, there are many eager for a snow day filled with snowball fights, sledding, cold noses, and piping hot chocolate. Either way, you need to brush up on your deicing tips! With so little snowfall in Hampton Roads, it is very easy to forget the best ways to remove snow and ice from our sidewalks and driveways to keep everyone safe. With a little preparation, you can protect your home and keep our environment clean.
Go “au naturel” – Use these tips to deice without the use of harsh chemicals.
- Make a mixture of warm water and table salt. Apply solution to small areas of thin ice.
- Apply sand over ice to improve traction.
- Before the freezing weather arrives, cover high traffic areas around your home (such as your entry steps) with a trap or other heavy, waterproof plastic. When you’re ready to deice, simply remove the tarp and enjoy clean, dry surfaces.
- Magnesium chloride & calcium magnesium acetate are ranked as the least toxic deicing salts because they contain no cyanide and less chloride. This makes them safer for hard surfaces, cars, and the environment.
- Calcium chloride doesn’t contain harmful cyanide but it can be harmful to your surfaces, lawn and plants.
- Rock salt, also called sodium chloride, is probably the most commonly used deicer to treat ice and snow on sidewalks and driveways but it contains cyanide which can be harmful to hard surfaces, vehicles, plants/grass, and even your family pet!
- Lawn fertilizer should never be used as a deicer. It’s toxic to the environment. In fact, fertilizer should NEVER be left on ANY hard surface whether it’s sunny or snowy. Melting ice and snow will carry fertilizer into our local waterways contaminating habitat for local populations of fish and crabs.
How to safely use chemical deicer:
- Read instructions carefully and follow them closely. Overuse of chemical deicers will increase the chance of damaging your home and lawn.
- Apply deicer BEFORE snow falls or temperatures drop to prevent ice from forming in the first place.
- If snow and ice are already accumulated, remove the loose top layers with your snow shovel. Deicer works best on thin areas of ice.
- Keep chemical deicers away from your lawn, plants and any area used by your pet.
- Treat only high traffic areas. Pick a single path to use to get safely in and out of your home.