How to Safely and Effectively Salt Your Icy Driveway and Path

Posted on March 04 2023

As the winter months approach, it's important to be prepared for icy paths and driveways. One of the most effective ways to prevent slips and falls on these surfaces is by using salt. However, it's important to know how to spread salt safely to avoid any harm to yourself, others, or the environment. Below, we'll discuss how to spread salt on icy paths and driveways safely.

Pre-salting before the snow comes

Pre-salting is a technique that involves spreading salt on your paths and driveways before it snows. This can help prevent snow and ice from sticking to the surface, making it easier to clear the snow later. Here are some tips to help you pre-salt safely:

  1. Choose the right type of salt: There are different types of salt available for de-icing, including rock salt and calcium chloride. Rock salt is the most commonly used, but it can damage concrete surfaces and harm plants. Calcium chloride or 'white salt' is more expensive but is less harmful to the environment.

  2. Wear protective gear: It's important to protect your hands and eyes when spreading salt. Wear gloves and goggles to prevent any irritation or injury.

  3. Use a salt spreader: A salt spreader can help you spread the salt evenly and quickly. This can save you time and ensure that you're using the right amount of salt.

  4. Spread salt evenly: Don't apply too much salt in one area, as this can damage the surface. Spread the salt evenly across the entire area you want to treat.

  5. Avoid spreading salt near water sources: Salt can harm plants and wildlife, and it can also contaminate water sources. Avoid spreading salt near water sources or use an eco-friendly alternative if possible.

What to do if you didn't pre-salt

If you didn't pre-salt your paths and driveways, don't worry. There are still steps you can take to de-ice the surfaces safely. Here's what you can do:

  1. Shovel the snow: Before you can apply salt, you need to remove any snow from the surface. Use a shovel to clear the snow, making sure to remove any loose snow or ice.

  2. Apply salt: Once you've cleared the surface, it's time to apply salt. Use the same techniques as you would for pre-salting, making sure to spread the salt evenly across the entire area.

  3. Wait for the salt to work: Salt takes time to work, so don't expect immediate results. It can take up to 30 minutes for the salt to melt the ice, so be patient and avoid walking on the surface until it's safe to do so.

  4. Clean up: Once the ice has melted, clean up any excess salt. Too much salt can harm plants and wildlife, so make sure to clean up any salt that didn't dissolve.

In conclusion, spreading salt on icy paths and driveways can help prevent slips and falls during the winter months. By pre-salting before the snow comes and using the right techniques, you can de-ice your surfaces safely and effectively. Remember to wear protective gear, use a salt spreader, and avoid spreading salt near water sources. If you didn't pre-salt, make sure to shovel the snow before applying salt and wait for the salt to work before cleaning up any excess salt. Stay safe and enjoy the winter weather!