10 Simple Hacks for Snow & Ice Removal

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There are pros and cons of any climate. While the South gets beach days, living in the North means ice skating, sledding and snowball fights. While that can be tons of fun, dealing with snow removal definitely is not, especially when it's a daily chore that can possibly go on for months on end.

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Dealing with the snow and ice doesn't just mean shoveling the driveway and sidewalks a few times a year. It means knowing how to handle the hassle of situations like iced-over windshields, car door locks that are frozen solid and miles of slippery ice.

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If you're someone who is not used to the snow or you just don't know how to deal with it, this can be a daunting task. It doesn't have to be, though. A little pre-planning and having a few of our tricks up your sleeve will come in handy the next time you're met with a snowy situation. Keep reading for 10 simple hacks for dealing with snow and ice.

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1. Use Cooking Oil Spray on Your Snow Shovel

To cut down your shoveling time and make things easier on you all around, try coating your shovel with a layer of cooking spray the next time you need to clear the driveway. The cooking oil will prevent the snow from sticking to your shovel. The snow will literally fall right off. It will also make it easier to slide the shovel into the snow piles. Just be sure to wipe off the shovel before storing it away to avoid any greasy messes that you'll have to clean up later.

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2. Cover It With a Tarp

If you know a snow storm is about to hit, do yourself a favor and break out the tarps — the more, the merrier in this case. Throw one over your car and another over your sidewalk, porch or any other walkways that are usually hit hard with snow. When the snow is finished falling, just go outside, drag the tarp off to the side and shake off the snow. Roll up the tarps and save them for next time. A little prep work goes a long way, especially in freezing temperatures.

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3. Pre-salt the Sidewalk

This is where preparation comes in handy. Slick sidewalks can be dangerous, and one way to prevent it from happening is to pre-salt your sidewalk and driveway before the snow even starts. The rock salt will make the ice melt on contact and will stop any of it from sticking to the ground. Simply spread the salt and leave it alone. You can even put some salt in a sock and gently rub it on your car windshield to prevent icing. It doesn't get much easier than that.

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The rock salt can be rough on your dogs' paws, though, and it's best to keep it off your plants. If you'd prefer a gentler product, look for de-icers containing magnesium chloride or potassium chloride at your local home improvement store.

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4. Use a Leaf Blower to Clear Snow

Just because fall is over doesn't mean you need to put away your leaf blower just yet. This is a great hack for removing that light, fluffy snow, especially if you don't have a snow blower. You still may need to shovel some since it won't remove everything, especially if a layer of ice has formed underneath, but it will definitely get you off to a good start.

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5. Cover Walkways With Sand

Bring the beach to the snow storm with this hack. Cover your driveway and porch with a layer of sand to prevent the snow from turning to ice while adding some much needed traction to slippery walkways. This all-natural solution is safe for kids and pets, so you won't have to worry about a thing. If you aren't able to get a hold of a bag of sand, you can use kitty litter instead.

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6. Defrost Car Door Locks With a Hair Dryer

If your car door locks are frozen shut and you need to leave soon, whip out your hair dryer for help. Use it on the lowest setting and slowly move it back and forth over the door lock. You can also pour room-temperature water over the locks, but you might have to do it a few times. Avoid trying to speed things up with hot water, though. The extreme temperature difference can cause damage, like warping and cracking.

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7. Set a Schedule

If you know a heavy snow storm is about to hit, go ahead and set a reminder on your phone to go outside and shovel your walkway every hour or two. Doing it little by little will be so much easier than waiting until the snow has stopped falling since it won't have a chance to build up. It may seem like a pain to keep going back outside, but each trip will take mere minutes versus hours if you wait to shovel all the snow at once.

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8. Install Snow-Melting Mats

Living in an area with constant heavy snowfall can mean a lot of shoveling and a lot of potential slips and falls thanks to the icy layer that can form underneath the snow. If you have areas of your home that are constantly slick and covered with layers of powder, consider installing special snow-melting mats. These mats heat up when turned on and slowly melt the snow. You can find them on places like Amazon, and while it might be an investment, your time and health are worth a lot.

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9. Make Your Own De-icing Spray

Whip up your own de-icer mixture with simple ingredients you probably already have lying around the house. Combine 1 teaspoon of regular dish soap and 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol in a half gallon of water. You can pour the mixture directly on any surface where you need the snow or ice to melt, or you can save some of the solution to pour into a spray bottle to keep in your car to use on your windshield. It will make scraping off the base layer of ice easier than ever.

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10. Make It Fun

Got a big shoveling job ahead? Enlist the help of all the neighborhood kids and make a fun day out of it. Play some music and make it a party. When the shoveling is finished, turn all the new snow piles into a huge snowball fight (away from the newly shoveled sidewalk, of course) or a snowman-building contest. The shoveling will be accomplished, and everyone will walk away with a great memory. After all, what good is the snow if you aren't playing in it?

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