eco friendly salt alternatives

Eco-friendly Salt Alternatives for Melting Ice and Snow

If you are facing the problem of snow shoveling, salt does do a great job of melting ice and snow through the winter but its bad news for your pets, the environment and your garden. Pets get salt on their paws which causes cracking, salt corrodes metal, damages concrete and wreaks havoc on your garden and lawn. With spring melt, all the accumulated salt ends up in your waterways where the local wildlife may not survive the seasoning. Here are some environmentally friendly ice melt alternatives that are kind to pets and to the environment.

Organic Salt-free Deicer

It’s a little pricier than salt, but these products will help to keep your walkways and driveways ice-free.

Pickle Brine

The brine from pickling helps to melt ice and snow. National Geographic claims it is better for the environment than salt, as it prevents ice from sticking to the road which makes it easier to remove. Pickle brine use means that  4 to 29 percent less chlorine is added to our waterways.

You can make your own brine recipe by mixing  2 lbs. of salt per gallon of water. Add a glass of sugar beet juice to get the ultimate de-icer.


This is a natural deicer and while it won’t harm your pets, corrode your metal or pit your concrete, it can be really bad news for your plants so avoid using it near the garden.

Alfalfa Meal

This is a super effective natural green ice melting miracle! It’s 100% natural and is usually used as a fertilizer. It’s grainy so it will provide traction and is extremely effective when used in moderation.

Sugar Beet Juice

The juice from sugar beets lowers the melting point of ice and snow which helps to clear your driveway. It’s even been used to melt ice and snow on municipal roads in some areas. It’s safe for animals, people, metals, concrete and plants.

You can make your de-icer recipe by mixing  2 lbs. of salt per gallon of water. Add a glass of sugar beet juice to get the ultimate de-icer.

Sand, ash from the fireplace or coffee grinds

Sprinkle these over your icy surfaces to provide traction and the darker colors will absorb more heat and help to melt snow and ice.

Don’t underestimate the importance of shoveling. A good shovel will clear your drive while giving you a wicked workout and it’s the most natural, environmentally friendly and green way to get rid of your icy bits this winter.

White Vinegar and Water Window Deicer Recipe

Mix 3 cups white vinegar with 1 cup lukewarm water in a spray bottle and spray in icy windows.

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Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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45 thoughts on “Eco-friendly Salt Alternatives for Melting Ice and Snow

  1. David Guion

    We don’t get a lot of ice here in North Carolina, but when we do, we get some wicked ice storms. Years ago, I bought a product called Driveway Heat because it was supposed to be better for plants and concrete than salt. Of course, no ingredients are disclosed on the label. So I certainly hope it’s not too awful in case I have to use any this year.

    I used to live in the Chicago area, so I would like to comment further on the meaning of “a good shovel.” Look for one with sort of an S-shaped handle. That design is much, much better for your back! I’m glad I brought mine down here, because I have had to use it on a sloping driveway.

    1. R McMahon


      Increasingly cities have been using beet sugar to help melt ice. Beet sugar (or any sugar) increases
      the effectiveness of de-icing salt so you can use much less of it—which is great for watersheds and
      city budgets—but almost all beet sugar is genetically engineered, so its use encourages more
      GMO sugarbeets to be planted.

      And more GMO sugarbeets means a lot more toxic Round-up in the environment and on our
      dinnerplates, more soil fertility destroyed, more herbicide resistant superweeds, more
      genetic contamination of organic sugarbeets, beets and Swiss chard, and a greater monopoly
      over our seed supply by Monsanto. Yikes!

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  10. Michael

    Okay, so how do cities and states de-ice the roadways, so you can drive your eco-friendly car? Tankers full of pickle juice?

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  12. reem zeyad

    HI, Thanks for your great article and interesting photos about ice and pets also I like different alternative you suggest to melt and deal with ice and advantage and diadvantage of each method, However I am from Saudi Arabia that has no ice or snow but I found great pleasure to read about ice and snow adventure, Keep on writing you are really talented thanks Nikki

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  20. Peter

    WOW, What a nice post for melting ice. Got all info form the single click and thanks a lot for such post. Thanks, Again

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  23. David

    This is such a great idea for ice and snow, Do you have any alternate method or tips and tricks? I am doing some research work on melting, so I need more data on it. and Keep sharing good work with us

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