5 Alternatives to Salt for De-Icing Stairs

by | Dec 10, 2020 | Blog

Alternatives You Can Use For Ice Removal


If you live in areas prone to snow during the winter, then you’ve thought of ways for deicing your ramps, walkway, driveway, patio, or deck. Since time immemorial, ice removal salt has been used as the most common snow removal method around the home. Ice removal salt is found in the market in several varieties: rock salt, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and magnesium chloride. Although the snow removal salt does the job fast, it has some less-desirable side effects. These may include the following:


  • Salt is bad for your lawn and garden because it kills vegetation and trees
  • Salt causes corrosion on steel surfaces, walkways, and car parts
  • Rock salt causes discoloration of ramps and other surfaces
  • Salt irritates the paws and mouths of pets
  • A lot of salt may irritate the skin if you come in contact with it


Salt causes damages to concrete ramps and stairs, especially in newly constructed buildings.

Considering the damages caused by rock salt, it’s advisable to consider other options like Eco-friendly snow melting methods. Before purchasing any deicing formula, you should research it so that you know how much harm it will cause to your home and the environment.

Let’s take a look at a few alternatives available to help you out around the house.

5 alternatives to salt for ice removal


1. Traction step treads


Traction step treads are used as an alternative to salt to melt ice in a home. Installing treads on your stairs will help ensure you don’t slip and fall by increasing the traction. In most cases, during the winter, your outdoor stairs will be covered by ice. Traction step treads lower the possibility of sliding and falling by ensuring that your shoes get a tight grip on the treads.

Traxion is one of the companies that produce outdoor treads that are both durable and effective. The treads are one option for dealing with slippery stairs without causing damages to the ramp, concrete areas, and the environment.


2. Isopropyl alcohol


The use of alcohol has been one of the alternatives to melt snow buildup in a home. It’s useful in a pinch if you run out of salt and need to safely make it out the door to buy some more. The freezing point of isopropyl alcohol is lower than that of water, making it one of the best deicing options. A mixture of hot water, 1-2 drops of dish soap, and alcohol helps increase the ice’s rate of melting on the surface of your walkways, concrete ramps, and driveway melt. The dish soap incorporated in the mixture to ensure that it does not freeze again. Using this method is safe for the environment.


3. Beet juice


Using beet juice is an option for deicing your ramps, stairs, walkways, and driveway. It is absolutely organic and has no side effects on your lawn, garden, pets, and trees. Beet juice is used as one of the alternatives for ice removal salt, since it is less corrosive. Though you will still need a mixture of salt and water, the salt will be minimal compared to using commercially available rock salt for deicing. Many states have adopted the use of beet juice in the US to eliminate ice on sidewalks. It is safe for use on concrete ramps, roads, sidewalks, and on plants.


4. Sand


Sand is among the alternatives used to melt ice into water. Wondering how sand gets to melt ice to water? Pouring sand on the ice on your stairs, ramps, and driveways is an alternative option available to you. It just might take a while to get the results you’re looking for. The sand absorbs heat from the sunlight and retains that heat, so that the temperatures on the ground get above the freezing point. 


When the temperatures increase, the ice starts melting. The sand also improves the traction on the surfaces so that it’s not as easy to slide and fall. It ensures that your car does not skid on the driveway as well. Coffee grinds can be used in place for the sand too, since they work in the same way. The sand and coffee grinds do not cause any damage to the environment.


5. Alfalfa meal and urea


Alfalfa meal is an organic and environmentally friendly fertilizer used to increase the fertility of the soil. It’s also used as a fast method to melt ice to water on the surface in a home. Because it comes in the form of grains or pellets, it increases the traction, decreasing sliding and skidding chances.


On the other hand, Urea is a fertilizer with a melting point of 1330c and, when not used in moderation, it can cause damage to your lawn and garden. Apart from harming your garden, it will do a great job with the deicing. Alfalfa meal and urea can be safely used as alternatives to salt. It’s used on sidewalks, ramps, and staircase surfaces without much damage to the environment.


The Bottom line


Focusing on the friendliest ice and snow removal methods on the ramps, driveways, and sidewalks is better than having to deal with the side effects of ice removing salt. You can also consider shoveling the ice on your ramps and driveway. Though it could be a bit tasking and time consuming, it is the safest of all the alternatives since it is natural.


More About Traxion

Visit our homepage to learn more about the Traxion product and optional snow inserts. Our stair treads were designed to be rugged, durable and UV resistant. They make a perfect option for those looking to improve the grip on exterior stairs without having to constantly replace stick-on products that wear out too frequently in the outdoor environment.