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Many of us are trying to safely find our way around after a recent snowstorm and cold snap have left roads, driveways and walkways coated with ice.

Here are 10 different methods for melting it away.

1. Salt

The most common and most popular solution, salt is the go-to solution for many people dealing with icy conditions around their house.

It works well, but it has several drawbacks. It can damage metal and fabric – so your car might get better traction, but it may be getting rusted out from underneath. Runoff from salted areas can also affect groundwater.

2. Urea

Another commonly used deicer, urea has many uses, including fertilizer and treating skin conditions. It is less corrosive than salt and safer for pets.

However, it can be even more damaging for plants than salt. Use too much, and plants can end up burned.

It can also create algae blooms in lakes and ponds after runoff.

3. Alfalfa meal

Another all-natural solution, alfalfa is also used as a fertilizer. It has less nitrogen than urea, making it safer for plants and water systems. Its dry and grainy texture helps add traction to icy spots as it works on melting them.

^ No, not that Alfalfa.

4. Sugar beet juice

On its own, or in a salt solution, the juice from sugar beets can lower the freezing point of water. It can help deice slippery roads. It’s harmless to humans, cars, plants, pets and water systems. Plus, if you grow and juice the beets yourself, it’s free!

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5. Wood ash

Need to scoop out your fireplace? Put those ashes to good work.

Wood ash contains potash – or potassium salts – which will help de-ice and melt snow, and provide a bit of traction, in moderate conditions. It won’t work as quickly as rock salt, potash is a much gentler salt that won’t harm your plants, animals, or paved surfaces.

6. Leftover coffee grounds

Once you finish your morning brew, bundle up and go deal with the ice. The nitrogen and acids in coffee grounds can help melt ice and snow. It also can add extra traction to slippery walks.

7. Cover it up first

Have you ever heard the old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

One prevention measure is to put plastic tarps over high-traffic areas like walkways. After the snowfall, shovel it off or pick it up and shake it off before it gets a chance to freeze.

8. DIY ice melter

You can make your own ice melter with a simple recipe of two quarts of warm water, six drops of dish soap and two ounces of rubbing alcohol. Put it in a spray bottle and take aim at those stubborn icy spots.

9. Shop around

There are several all-natural products on the market that can be used to stop slippage and improve ice melt.

EcoTraction is a mix of volcanic rock granules that provide an increased gripping effect.

Safe Paw is meant primarily for pet owners, and melts ice in temperatures as low as -2 and can prevent ice for up to three days.

10. Either shovel or wait

If you shovel the snow directly after a snowstorm passes, you’ll have less need for ice melting treatments. Or, you can wait for the most effective ice melting treatment – the sun.

Joshua Trudell About the author:
Joshua Trudell is a freelance writer, photographer and graphic designer living in New Hampshire. Follow Joshua on Twitter and Facebook and check out his website.
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