Maybe you're experiencing a cold, snowy winter, or you just want to melt the ice in your freezer. Ultimately, there are many reasons why you should melt ice relatively quickly. Rock salt or salt-based ice melting products are generally the first choice for this purpose, especially in the winter. Fortunately, if you are looking for an alternative to melt winter ice or want to remove it from your home, there are many other steps you can take to melt it quickly.
Method 1 of 3: Adding Rock Salt to Winter Ice
Step 1. Buy and apply the product in advance, if possible
These are most effective when applied to the surface before ice forms on it. If you know a winter storm is going to hit or you expect a lot of snow, apply them in a thin layer first to melt the ice more quickly at a later time.
- Plus, if you buy it ahead of time, you won't have to go to the store in freezing weather to make it!
- You can buy it at most hardware and home improvement stores.
Step 2. Get exothermic products to get the fastest results
These release heat to melt ice, while endotherms absorb heat from the sun to function. As a result, exotherms can melt ice much faster than endotherms, and they are also effective in any climate.
- Among the exothermic compounds we have calcium chloride and magnesium chloride. Most ice melting products are multi-substance mixtures, so choose one with a generous proportion of one of these chlorides to achieve the best results.
- Often times, the packaging of commercially available products will indicate whether they are exothermic or endothermic.
Step 3. Apply in thin layers before, during and after snowfall
Don't apply too much in one coat, as this will make them less effective. Instead, spread it far enough across the surface to achieve an even, but thin, distribution. Then apply a second coat once the snow begins to accumulate, then a third and a final coat when the snow stops.
- If you are using an exothermic product, put on protective gloves to support it.
- Do not accumulate it in a single point.
Step 4. Do not apply to ceilings, bricks or other porous surfaces
You can generally use these products on wood and concrete surfaces (like porches and driveways) without causing any damage. However, if you apply them to a porous surface (like brick), over time you will cause a build-up of salt in the material and structural damage in the future.
- The best way to avoid long-term damage to porous surfaces from use is to remove the salt quickly once the ice has melted.
- If possible, apply a sealer to any concrete surface you want to use them on. Since concrete is porous; In theory, ice melters could damage it (but this rarely happens).
WarningSome of these commercially available products will be promoted as "safe for the environment", but this is a bit misleading as they contain salt that can penetrate a porous surface.
Step 5. Skim off the salt after the ice melts
Once the weather is warm enough that the water doesn't freeze on the concrete, use a hose to spray the area where the ice has melted. Use lukewarm water if possible. After spraying, scrub with a stiff bristle brush to loosen any adherent salt crystals and spray again to remove.
- Salt can damage grass and other vegetation, so you should not apply it to plants or soil (if possible).
- If the ice is relatively melted, just use a snow shovel to remove it without making a mess.
Method 2 of 3: Using Alternatives to Rock Salt
Step 1. Use water softening salt granules, if you have access to them
These are usually sold in some stores that sell rock salt, but at a lower price. Spread them in thin layers over the surface just as you would to apply the other products. Apply one coat before, during and after a snowfall.
For best results, use small granules instead of coarse ones. The latter will not melt the ice as effectively
Step 2. Make a solution of dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and warm water
In a large bucket, mix 1/2 gallon (2 L) of warm water, 2 teaspoons of dish soap, and 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol. Then fill a spray bottle with the mixture and spray it directly on the ice to melt it.
Be aware that this mixture can be harmful to grass and other plants, so don't spray it too close to your patio or other planting areas
Warning- Exposure to large amounts of rubbing alcohol can irritate the eyes or skin, so this mixture should not be used to treat very large areas of ice.
Step 3. Use ashes to melt ice if you have an active fireplace at home
The ashes will absorb the sun's heat and melt the ice around it. After lighting a fire with wood, use a spatula to collect the ashes from the fireplace and place them in a bucket. Then use the spatula or your hands to spread them evenly on the surface of the ice to melt it.
Note that you should only use them to melt ice outdoors, as they need to absorb the sun's heat to be effective
Step 4. Melt ice in a small area with sugar or table salt
Chemicals in sugar and table salt react with water to lower its freezing point, causing the ice to melt. However, they are relatively expensive to use in large quantities, so you should only apply a thin layer of one of these products to a small area of ice.
For example, if you have ice on your car windshield or a small gantry wooden swing, this will be an area small enough to use sugar or table salt instead of an ice melter
Step 5. Mix water and vinegar to make an inexpensive homemade alternative
Pour one part water and two parts vinegar into a small spray bottle, and mix them well. Drizzle this mixture directly onto the ice and keep spraying it until you feel it begin to melt.
- This method is not always successful, so you should only use it as a last resort if no other option is feasible.
- This method doesn't melt ice as fast as salt, so you should only use it in small areas (like a car window) where ice collects.
tip- If you have leftover pickle juice at home, you can also use it for this purpose. This contains salt and vinegar, so it will be a little more effective than a simple mixture of water and vinegar!
Method 3 of 3: Melt Ice at Home
Step 1. Place it in hot water if you can easily carry it to the sink
If you want to melt ice into a lightweight object, placing it in hot tap water will be the easiest and most orderly way to do it quickly. The heat from the water will combine with the force of gravity to loosen and remove the ice as quickly as possible.
- If possible, wear heat-resistant rubber gloves when doing this so you don't burn your hands from the hot water.
- If you have a deep enough sink, you can also place the object in the sink, under the running tap.
Step 2. Use a hair dryer to melt the ice in the refrigerator or freezer
Unplug it and remove all the food inside. Then plug in the dryer, turn it on, and point it directly at the ice.
For best results, place a towel under the ice as you melt it, to catch the water as it falls off the ice block
Warning: Be very careful when using the dryer near water that melts the ice. Avoid letting the dryer touch ice or water.
Step 3. Pour regular table salt over the ice if you are melting cubes
This is a good science experiment you can do at home to teach kids chemistry, as ice melts as a result of a chemical reaction with salt. Place the ice cubes on a plate or bowl before adding the salt.