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.

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. Here’s how to defrost your windshield in one minute, too.

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. Find out why light snow is just as dangerous as a snowstorm for driving.

Once you’re off on the road thanks to your homemade ice melt, make sure you’re aware of these tips to know if your car breaks down in winter.


  • NBC News: “How [to] melt ice when you’re out of rock salt”

Brooke Nelson Alexander
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for Reader's Digest. She's a two-time Emmy-nominated reporter with nearly 10 years of publishing experience, and her work has been recognized by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.