How to Prevent Ice From Sidewalks

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Keep your sidewalks clear of snow to prevent ice from forming.
Keep your sidewalks clear of snow to prevent ice from forming. (Image: snow path image by sparkia from Fotolia.com)

Icy sidewalks pose a serious danger to the safety of everyone who uses them. According to the Green Hotel, ice on sidewalks, driveways and parking lots can create hazardous conditions for people, property and the environment. You can find all of the products necessary to deice your sidewalks at most home improvement stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Chemical deicer
  • Plastic tarp
  • Snow shovel or snow blower
  • Salt
  • Sand
  • Ashes
  • Kitty litter

Spread a chemical deicer containing magnesium or potassium chloride onto the sidewalks to prevent ice from forming. The University of Maryland Cooperative Extension recommends spreading the deicer thinly and evenly over the pavement to prevent ice formation. Read and follow all label directions carefully before applying the chemical deicer to the sidewalks. You can purchase a chemical deicer at most home improvement stores.

Lay a plastic tarp or another water-proof material on the sidewalks to prevent ice formation. The plastic material will prevent snow or water from sticking to and forming ice on the sidewalk. You can purchase a plastic tarp at most home improvement and gardening stores.

Remove snow from sidewalks immediately. When snow melts it turns into water. The water then turns into ice in freezing outdoor temperatures. Use a snow shovel or snow blower to remove the snow from your sidewalks. You can purchase a snow shovel or snow blower at most home improvement stores.

Tips & Warnings

  • Consider sprinkling salt on sidewalks, if you don't want to use a chemical deicer. According to Frostburg State University, salt lowers the freezing point and as a result melts ice.
  • You can improve the traction on icy sidewalk surfaces by placing sand, ashes or even kitty litter onto the sidewalks.
  • Many chemical deicers can harm the environment, so carefully choose the product you use. According to the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension, some deicers can damage concrete, corrode metal, damage cars and aluminum siding and destroy plants.

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