How to Remove Ice from Steps, Walkways and Driveways

Icy, slippery steps, walkways or drives cause many injuries during the winter months.

Watch this video to learn how to:

  • Use deicers, such as rock salt, to melt existing ice.
  • Spread sand or kitty litter to increase traction on ice.
  • Apply liquid chemical anti-icers to prevent ice from forming.

Further Reading

Danny Lipford: One of the most common causes of injury around the home—ice. Every winter thousands of people slip on icy steps, walkways, or drives and wind up bruised and sore or even worse, in the emergency room.

Even a surface like these bricks that normally have very good traction whether it’s wet or dry will become incredibly slick later this evening when the temperatures drop again and all this water freezes.

One solution is to melt the ice after it forms. Sodium chloride, or salt, is a popular way to do this, but the problem is as the ice melts, the salty runoff can kill adjacent plants and build up in the surrounding soil.

Now you can also create traction on top of the ice by spreading some sand or a little kitty litter over it. But my favorite solution is to pre-treat an area just before the bad weather hits to stop the problem before it starts.

This is a regular pump-up garden sprayer, and it contains a chemical deicer that you spray onto the surface you want to protect before the storm hits to prevent any ice from bonding to the surface.

But if you happen to miss the forecast, and you don’t get a chance to pre-treat, you can still apply it directly to the ice or snow, and it melts both with no problem. But be sure to choose a deicer that’s completely biodegradable, so that it won’t hurt the lawn or garden.


    • Hi, Heather,
      You’ll need to treat concrete surfaces with care — that’s as easy as mixing ice melt with something that reduces the salt applied to your steps and walkways.
      Just stirring in some sand, for instance, can solve two concerns at once: reducing that salt and providing some much-needed traction!

  1. It would be nice if you would list some recommended de-icing products available, especially the spray-on type .

    Thanks RC

    • Hi, Rob,
      This video provides a quick overview of de-icing solutions. For the best solution for your home, we recommend visiting your local home center, sharing specs about the surfaces you want to de-ice and the area’s size, and they can provide a tailored solution.
      Thanks for watching!

  2. This sounds like a better option than salt, which has pitted my pattio concrete. How often do you have to spray the de-icer onto your steps or walkway? Does it last 24 hours? Do you have to reapply every hour or what?

    • Hi, Janet,
      We have to read labels and follow instructions too! If you have questions about a specific product, it’s best to contact the manufacturer directly for the latest information and assistance.
      First, provide your patio’s specs to an associate at your local home center; then they can direct you to the best product for your unique situation and application instructions.
      Stay warm! 🙂

    • Hi, Roy,
      Each home’s needs are different, so we recommend visiting your local home center, sharing specs about the surfaces you want to de-ice and the area’s size, and they can provide a tailored solution.
      Good luck and stay warm!

  3. I wanted to ask what biodegradable chemical de-icer Mr. Lipford was using in the sprayer to pre-treat brick steps for icing, where it can be found, and whether it degrades cement? What is best to use on pressure treated or composite decking? The products used in the video would be great!
    The video is very helpful for a very common problem in winter in the NE; the answers/responses to comments would be helpful too.

    • Hi, Gene!
      We recommend choosing a de-icer that’s biodegradable so it won’t hurt your lawn or garden. Any environmentally green de-icer available at your local home center should work just fine.
      The specific product is not important; they all work well in our experience. The process, however, is the game-changer.
      Just make sure you give the surface’s complete specs to a friendly associate.
      Thanks for your question. 🙂

    • Hi, Laura,
      The embedded video shares our game plan for removing ice from surfaces so they are walkable.
      All the information you need is included in this video; just talk to your local home center’s friendly associates for specific recommendations that suit your home’s unique needs.
      Hope this helps! 🙂


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