The Easy Way to Melt Ice You Never Knew About (It’s Not Salt!)

Out of rock salt? This homemade ice melt will help you avoid slipping and sliding on your front porch this winter.

In the dark and cold months of winter, the last thing you want to do is shovel ice and snow from your driveway. We hear ya! While there are plenty of clever uses for salt, including fixing slippery surfaces, rock salt isn’t always easy to find once temperatures drop lower than the melting point of ice (32°F or 0°C).

Thankfully, winter-proofing your home doesn’t require breaking the bank on rock salt or fancy gadgets. You can create a homemade de-icer with items you already own, instead, according to Jeff Rossen, NBC News National Investigative Correspondent and host of Rossen Reports. Of course, using a homemade de-icer on your driveway will only help so much if your car isn’t ready for winter. Here are some crucial tips for winter-proofing your car.

This magical homemade ice melt is easy to make, too. In a bucket, combine a half-gallon of hot water, about six drops of dish soap, and ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol. Once you pour the homemade ice melt mixture onto your sidewalk or driveway, the snow and ice will begin to bubble up and melt. Just keep a shovel handy to scrape away any leftover pieces of ice.

Why does this simple combo work? Turns out, rubbing alcohol has a much lower freezing point than water (128°F below 0), so it speeds up the melting process and prevents the surface from icing up in the future, Rossen says. He also recommends pouring the mixture into a spray bottle and using it to thaw your car windows. While safety during the winter is always ideal, sometimes a scary (and chilly) situation is impossible to avoid. Here are some winter survival tips if you find yourself stuck in a car with no heat.

Once you’re off on the road thanks to your homemade ice melt, make sure you’re absolutely not leaving any of these 9 things in your car during the winter.

[Source: NBC News]

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.