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Natural Ice Melters, Traction Helpers, and Slip Stoppers

Natural Ice Melters, Traction Helpers, and Slip Stoppers

Most of us can stand the cold. Snow, even lots of it, has its charm. But ice that’s not on a skating rink is another story, especially when it’s clinging to steps, sidewalks, and driveways.

So we follow tradition and pour on the salt to make the ice go away. Then, come spring, we scratch our heads and wonder why the grass is brown or the perennials are stunted.

The reason is salt. Sure, it melts the snow, but it can also leave a lot of dead and damaged plants in its wake to say nothing of the salt that washes off into sewers and groundwater. In time, salt actually eats away at the concrete of steps and sidewalks.

Here are some little-known, eco-safe, great ice breakers:

Ice Melter: Alfalfa meal. This is a totally natural fertilizer that contains nitrogen to promote ice melting and has a texture to provide traction while it works.

Traction Helpers: For just plain traction, cover ice with wood ashes, coal cinders, sand, or cat litter.

Slip Stoppers: Invest in some non-slip stair treads for your favorite slippery steps.

Read more: Home, Health & Safety, Household Hints

Adapted from The Organic Suburbanite, by Warren Schultz. Copyright (c) 2001 by Warren Schultz. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Press.
Adapted from The Organic Suburbanite, by Warren Schultz.

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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9:06AM PDT on Oct 1, 2011

Ecotraction is the green alternative that truly provides traction on ice for the winter. I have applied it to my sidewalks and driveway and it doesn't harm concrete or landscaping in the spring. It also last as long as the ice is present There is NO salt or chloride in the product. I bought mine from

1:17AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Thanks Annie.

6:30AM PDT on May 14, 2011

I tried cat litter but after the snow melted I was left with clumps of litter which glued themselves to the drive. Saw dust (or shredded tree prunings) give good grip, don't clump are good for the soil (and are often free).

4:29AM PST on Jan 12, 2011

Thanks for the article.

12:08PM PDT on Aug 21, 2010

paranoia plays it's role so well in our society. When a volcano erupts somewhere in the world it produces the amount of pollution all humanity would produce in 200 years. What is wrong with us ? Take a look at the important stuff in life, don't waste your time with such nonsense !

I strongly recommend few New York City walking tours for a better understanding of real life

4:10AM PDT on Jun 27, 2009

Avoid walking / climbing (steps) with your hands in pockets. It is common to put our bare hands in coat or jacket pockets for warmth. However; should you slip (inevitable), you are likely to harm yourself ... possibly serious injury ... because you are unable to break your fall with your hands and arms. Try to have gloves available ... even an extra pair-or-two in the car. Walk / climb using smaller strides and steps than you would normally use if the pavement surface were not frozen. Less chance of slipping. When going to super-market, park car near shopping-carts. Use a shopping cart from the parking lot, rather than waiting until you go in the store to get one. Holding onto a shopping cart as you walk / navigate a slippery surface greatly reduces chances of falling.

10:58AM PST on Dec 18, 2008

My question too. Did anyone find out where to buy alfalfa?

2:24PM PST on Dec 11, 2007

So where do you purchase alfalfa? What is the approximate cost?

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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