Keeping Ice Off Steps and Walkways

Category Home Safety
Icy steps and walkways can be very hazardous. This is a page about keeping ice off steps and walkways.


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I came home during a freezing rain storm on Sunday Night. My cement steps were treacherous and I was out of Ice Salt and table salt. I racked my brain to think of what I could use and went to make myself a pot of coffee then I thought of the used coffee grounds. They don't disintegrate so I tried them on my steps. They are still there and have not frozen over and are doing a fine job of keeping my stairs free of ice and snow. They don't seem to track in either.

By Katie from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada

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December 12, 2012

Last minute company coming and you have a icy sidewalk? A fast way to make it not slippery is to use cat litter or fireplace ash if you have a fireplace. Just spread either along the sidewalk and your guests will have better traction.


By Sam N. from Tacoma, WA

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

October 16, 2011

I live in an upstairs condo and in the winter we generally get some ice in Dallas. This means I am a prisoner in my home when it ices since I can't use my steep staircase until it melts. The condos do not allow us to use salt since it will kill the plants under the staircase nor can they afford to pay someone to remove the ice.

I've tried all kinds of kitty litter and sand mixtures and this just makes a muddy mess. Is there anything I can spray on the stairs that will prevent the build up of ice? I'm not in the best of health and almost fell when I tried to use a shovel to break up the 3 inches of ice that built up last year. I've heard of an environmentally safe product named Ice Melt Down, but can't find any reviews on it. Thanks!


By Fran


October 17, 20110 found this helpful

I googled reviews of ice melt products, and found Earth Friendly Products Ice Melt, which says it is environmentally friendly, and leaves an ice fighting coating on things. You may want to check out this product.

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October 18, 20110 found this helpful

Potash fertilizer will melt the ice, and not harm plants, grass or the sidewalks. You will know where you have used it, and how much, because it is pink. Keep it dry, though. Otherwise it will turn into a brick.

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February 7, 20161 found this helpful

You can get ice melt from Home Depot it works well for ice

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 14, 2010

Here's an idea for a cheap salt bucket. If, like me, you occasionally purchase one of those large tubs of ice cream - the one gallon plus one quart size with a handle and a lid - save at least one tub to fill with salt for winter ice. It's the perfect size to carry out to the front or back walk. Since it has a lid, you can store it in the house without fear of kids or pets getting into or spilling it.


By Marie from West Dundee, IL


Reuse Ice Cream Bucket as Salt Spreader

Added thought, put an extra one in the trunk of the family car, just in case you get stuck somewhere. I will be doing this myself, thanks for the original thought. (12/01/2008)

By Jan

Reuse Ice Cream Bucket as Salt Spreader

Great Idea. I use mine as a Sun Tea maker. I made Sun Tea in the winter on my sister in law's glass enclosed porch. The sun was shining although it was very cold outside, made nice Sun Tea. When I left, my great-nieces asked their Mother for more "Tea in the Bucket". She finally figured out it was my Sun Tea in the Ice Cream Bucket! (12/12/2009)

By Betty Gibson

Reuse Ice Cream Bucket as Salt Spreader

I don't eat buckets of ice cream but my mom gives me a lot of them. I use them for painting, gardening, to carry my tools, play buckets and on and on. (12/13/2009)


By Melissa M.

Reuse Ice Cream Bucket as Salt Spreader

We buy 25 lb bags of dog food and rather than keeping it store in the kitchen, I put it in a big plastic trash can in the utility room. I take one of those ice cream buckets and fill that so I have some close at hand to feed the dogs. It just takes up less space for me. (12/13/2009)

By Betts

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