We have had a cold snap, but it seems to be warming up again. Don’t think we are getting by without any snow this year. Here are a few tips to make your snow removal tasks a little easier.
1. Spray your shovel with cooking oil. A light coat of nonstick spray on your shovel will keep snow from sticking to it. WD-40 will also work, but is a little more toxic. If you use a snow blower, spray the chute to prevent clogs.
2. Lay a tarp out before it snows. This is probably one of the lazier ways to remove snow, but is definitely easy. One word of caution, 1 cubic foot of snow can weigh between 7 and 20 pounds, so be careful how large your tarp is.
3. Mix up a homemade deicer.
Commercial ice-melting substances — magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, and sodium chloride (salt) — all cause damage to the environment, according to the University of Maryland’s Home and Garden Information Center. They can also damage concrete sidewalks and driveways, which mean hefty repair costs later.
Make your own de-icer using rubbing alcohol or vinegar. You’ll save money, too. Commercial melters typically cost $8 or more. Plus, you’ll avoid the hassle of trekking to the hardware store to stock up.
Use vinegar before a storm to make ice and snow removal easier:
- Combine 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water.
- Spray or pour gently (you still want to avoid runoff into your landscape) before a storm.
To keep the sidewalks and steps from icing after a storm:
- Combine 2 parts rubbing alcohol with 1 part water.
- Apply to minimize runoff.