Best Snow Removal and De-Icing Methods for Your Property

Driveway with piles of snow

There are so many great things about winter, from snuggly sweaters to roaring fires in the fireplace and steaming mugs of hot chocolate. However, not every part of winter is cozy. While you’re keeping warm inside, Mother Nature could be laying down snow and ice on your driveway, walkways, and porch steps.

The good news is there isn’t just one snow removal or de-icing method. You have a lot of options. In this article, we’ll give you the best snow removal methods and de-icing tricks so you’ll be ready when Mother Nature does her worst.

Best Snow Removal Methods

Snow is the perfect medium for building snowmen, forts, and an arsenal of snowballs, but lots of snow on your walkways can be a big slipping hazard. You’ll also need to clear your driveway when it’s time to go to work or hit the grocery store. (That hot chocolate mix isn’t going to refill itself, after all.)

Here are a few helpful snow removal options.

Use a Shovel

Person removing snow with a shovel

It’s decidedly old-school, but if you have the energy and the time, you can always clear your driveway one shovelful at a time. Shoveling snow is a lot of work, but it’s also inexpensive, and a shovel takes up far less room in your garage than a snowblower.

Worried about your back? Consider paying a little extra for an ergonomic shovel. Yes, they do exist, and they’ll help you stay more upright (as opposed to bending over) when you shovel.


Landscaper using a snowblower

Many parts of the country see regular snowfall throughout the winter and even into early spring. (We’re looking at you, Ontario snowbelt!) If lots of snow is a way of life in your neck of the woods, it might be smart to invest in a snowblower.

Snowblowers run on gas engines or electric motors and use a rapidly spinning auger or impeller to suck up snow and push it through a shoot. Most models are self-propelled, allowing you to guide them with control levels to adjust speed, direction, and chute orientation.

Our recommended snow removal technique is to start in the middle of your driveway to shoot the snow near the edge of the driveway. Take a U-turn at the end of your driveway and go up the opposite way. Repeat this method so you won’t have to change the chute orientation.

Leaf Blower

Person using a leaf blower for snow removal

If you have just a light layer of fluffy snow on your driveway, you may be able to get it off with a simple leaf blower. Give it a try and see if it can save you from some shoveling.


Snow on a tarp

Another low-cost snow removal option is to place tarps along your driveway before the first flurries begin to fall. When you’re ready to leave, pull up the tarp and dump the snow off your driveway. This method works best for light snowfalls. If you’re getting a few centimetres, you might have trouble removing (or even finding) the tarp.

Best De-Icing Methods

While a driveway full of snow can be a big headache, ice is an even bigger danger. It’s easy for you, a family member, or a friend to slip on ice and injure themselves. You don’t want that to happen, so consider these tried-and-true de-icing methods.

Rock Salt

Rock salt on a driveway for ice melting

Another oldie-but-goodie is rock salt (sodium chloride), which is cheap and effective as long as temperatures are above -9 degrees Celsius. You can find rock salt at most home improvement stores. Sprinkle a layer over icy areas and watch the chemical reaction melt the ice.

There are some drawbacks to rock salt. For one, it can make your pets sick if they ingest it. Second, long-term use of rock salt can damage your lawn and even crack your concrete.

Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium Chloride on driveway for ice melting

A less damaging, pet-safe alternative to rock salt is magnesium chloride. This effective de-icer is popular and works at temperatures as low as -15 degrees Celsius. Magnesium chloride comes in pellets and flakes. Like rock salt, you’ll want to distribute the pellets or flakes evenly over icy areas. Then, let the chemical reaction do the rest.

Sand and Other Gritty Materials

Sand on driveway for de-icing

Gritty materials, like sand, won’t actually melt ice on your property, but they will add helpful traction. Adding friction to icy patches can lower the risk of dangerous slips and falls. Sand is cheap and easy to buy and can work in tandem with rock salt or magnesium chloride. Spread it on icy walkways, driveways, and steps while you’re waiting for your other de-icers to do their magic.

Don’t have any sand handy? These other gritty materials also work:

  • Sawdust
  • Fireplace ash
  • Wood chips
  • Kitty litter

Heat Mats

Home with heated snow mats under driveway

Heated mats come with a big upfront price tag, but you can’t beat them for convenience. Also known as snow mats, they are installed under surfaces like your driveway, walkway, and porch. Electric heating cables in the mats keep surfaces warm so that snow melts and ice cannot form. Just turn on the heating system when snow or ice is predicted. Some systems even turn on automatically when their sensors detect snow or ice.

It may take a while, but eventually, heat mats can pay for themselves by saving you time, effort, and money on de-icing materials. They’ll also add value to your property.

Hire Professional Ice and Snow Removal

One last de-icing method to consider is to hire a professional to remove snow and ice from your property. Companies like The Grounds Guys® can perform both ice and snow removal to clear your property and make it safe.

At The Grounds Guys, we use the best snow removal techniques and prioritize using environmentally friendly chemicals whenever possible. We work fast and effectively so you can get on with your day without worry. That’s part of our Neighbourly Done Right Promise™.

We’d love to give you a free estimate on snow and ice removal services. We have friendly, reliable, and hard-working teams throughout Canada ready to spring into action at the first sign of snow or freezing temperatures.

Find your local The Grounds Guys and request a free estimate today.