How to Melt Ice on a Driveway

You are getting late for work, the cold outside is freezing your bones, and you can’t take your car out because your driveway is fully covered in snow and ice. If you happen to live in any of the snowiest states of the U.S.A, this could be a common experience for you every winter. There are enough troubles to deal with in any icy winter, and a frozen driveway should not be one of them.

To help you out of this difficult situation and save your time, we have developed a small guide on how to melt ice on driveway – a very frequently asked question. While there are quite a few ways of doing the job, we share the most time-tested and trusted method, broken down into small steps for your ease. But before that, take a look at what items you may need for melting ice on your driveway.

Things You Will Need

Many items make the job easy – melting ice on your driveway is no exception. Here is a list of items you may need to get your driveway functional again.

How to Melt Ice on a Driveway

Pet-friendly Rock Salt

Calcium Chloride Pellets

Sturdy Snow Blower

Metal Snow Shovel

Walk-behind Garden Spreader

How to Melt Ice on a Driveway in 6 Steps

Step 1: Clean the snow from the top to get to the ice underneath.

What a lot of people get confused by is the fact that snow and ice are two different things. If you are melting ice on your driveway for the first time, understand that the ice you want to melt is hidden beneath a layer of snow. Therefore, before you do anything to melt the ice, you have to shovel the snow off from the top.

You need not get rid of all the snow but try to remove at least 2 inches (5 cm) of snow to bear the ice underneath. There are several ways to get rid of the snow on top, and using a metal shovel is just one of them. It is also slightly labor-intensive, so if you are looking for an easier option, you can invest in a durable snow blower to get rid of snow every year.

Step 2: Make sure any plants and pets are protected from rock salt.

Before you begin to sprinkle the rock salt, know where your plants (if any) are so you do not accidentally sprinkle the salt on them. It can be very harmful to plants. Similarly, if you have any pets outdoors, make sure they do not ingest any rock salt as it can get them sick or even cause death. For this reason, we suggest pet-friendly rock salt because we always believe in ‘better safe than sorry.’

Step 3: Let the sprinkling begin (evenly).

If you are wondering whether there are any measurements to follow when melting ice on your driveway with rock salt – yes, there are. You neither want to overdo it nor be so sparing as to leave areas uncovered with the salt. The standard recommended quantity is 1.8 kg (4 pounds) of rock salt per 1000 sq ft. of the driveway.

The most common way to sprinkle rock salt is by using a cup or small container – you keep filling it from the packet and spreading a thin layer of it evenly on the entire driveway. However, if you’d like things to be done faster, you can invest in a walk-behind garden spreader. If you’d like to skip rock salt altogether, you can also use calcium chloride pellets – they are equally effective.

Step 4: Catalyze the melting process by splashing some hot water.

While this step is not necessary, it can definitely quicken the melting process. all you have to do is to fill a spray bottle with lukewarm water and completely mist your driveway with it. You can directly pour the water too, but that may not result in an even spread. Either way, melting ice on your driveway will be much faster if you use this technique.

Step 5: Patience is a virtue – wait for the ice to soften.

Even though spraying warm water quicken the melting of the ice, you still need to wait a few minutes before the ice is completely melted. Thinner ice will melt in about 5-10 minutes, but thicker ice can take anywhere between 20-30 minutes. Therefore, we’d suggest you factor in 30 minutes out of your morning routine for this job. You may want to do this first thing in the morning so you can spend the waiting time preparing breakfast or taking a shower.

Step 6: Shovel the melted ice away before it refreezes!

Finally, once you notice the ice has begun to melt, use your metal shovel to remove the melted ice completely off of your driveway. You can also use a large floor squeegee to wipe the melted slush off. Leaving it on the driveway means it can refreeze there, resulting in wasted time and effort.

Our Final Thoughts

How to melt ice on driveway is a frequently searched question, and we have tried to answer it in a comprehensive yet easy way. Going to work or college can become such a hassle when it’s snowing (not to mention the less than pleasant coldness freezing one’s nose). Investing in some equipment like a snowblower and garden spreader can come in handy every winter season. With a little planning and time management, you can easily clear up your driveway following the simple steps we have shared above.