Ice melt sold out? Try these 17 alternatives instead

Dec 8 2016, 1:56 am

As BC’s South Coast braces itself for an “intense” snowstorm, it seems ice melt is sold out almost everywhere in Vancouver.

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Daily Hive called Home Depot, Rona, Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, Walmart, West End Hardware, Acklands Grainger and Army and Navy – all were sold out of ice melt.

If you fancy your chances, Home Hardware on 4th Avenue and West End Hardware said they may be getting more ice melt in on Wednesday afternoon.

But if you have no luck, here are some alternatives to help you deal with that ice over the next few days… Just don’t forget to clear up afterwards.

Ice, begone!

If you want to attack that ice and keep your driveways clear, here are some alternative options:

  • Heated mats – If you’re really desperate or absolutely loaded, heated mats will melt snow and ice and stop you slipping too. But they will cost you hundreds of dollars.
  • Potassium chloride pellets – When these pellets come into contact with ice or snow, they will pick up water to form a strong brine, and give off heat too.
  • Magnesium chloride flakes – This absorbs the water, and is less corrosive, more environmentally friendly, and leaves no visible trace after use.
  • Calcium chloride crystals – This works faster than some other options, so good if you’re on a deadline, but can damage grass and plants if overapplied.
  • Potassium acetate liquid – This may be hard to find in small amounts, as it is often used on an industrial scale, but you never know.
  • Urea/Fertilizer – One of the least toxic de-icers, but also not as effective as other options. Still, what it lacks in speed, it makes up for by providing grip too.
  • Beet juice – A great organic option, which reduces corrosion, and reportedly smells like honey. When used with a sugar and saline mix, it doesn’t even stain.
  • Table salt – Yes! This will work. However, the amount of table salt you’ll need means it could get pretty expensive. Perhaps try Costco?
  • Pool salt – Even if you don’t have a pool, there’s no harm in trying out pool salt, which is likely more environmentally friendly than other chemical options.
  • Water softener – You might not know this, but water softener is in fact salt. And it works to de-ice driveways too!

Note – be careful using chemicals to de-ice concrete that is less than one year old, as the meltwater can soak in and re-freeze, expanding and possibly cracking the concrete. 

Get a grip!

If all of the above fails, or you don’t want to risk damaging your surfaces too much, then you could throw down these admittedly messy alternatives to give you some traction:

  • Alfalfa meal
  • Coffee grinds
  • Sand
  • Ashes
  • Kitty litter
  • Gravel
  • Straw

Note – Please remember you’ll need to help clear this stuff up when the cold snap passes. Unless you like walking around on alfalfa, of course.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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