Snow and ice can cause a major disturbance to your normal life and can make doing things you take for granted much harder, even impossible.

In the UK we are not well prepared for snow or ice as it is seasonal and you are not guaranteed snow in any given year. For snow to fall the temperature needs to be between 0 and 2 degrees Celsius, if the temperature is above 2 degrees Celsius the chances are that sleet will fall instead and there is little chance of this sticking as most of it will melt away.


Snow and ice can make it very difficult to move around. When you wake up and there is a covering of snow like this it is time to start clearing it. It's also a good idea to check on your neighbours, especially elderly ones as they might not be able to get to the shops! Clearing snow from the public pathway at the front of your house is also a good idea, but make sure that you do it properly and leave it in a non slippery condition by dusting the area with salt. It's a common misconception that you can be sued if someone slips or falls after you clear the snow or ice from the front of your house and if it's left in it's natural state then it's an "act of God". This seems to be an urban myth, pretty much like the urinating on jellyfish sting myth that used to be popular.

salt to prevent ice

Instead of clearing the snow after it has fallen you are much better off preventing it from sticking in the first place. Dusting the driveway and paths with salt can prevent the snow from sticking in the first place. As the snow falls onto the salt it melts, turns into water and drains away. Putting the salt down before the snow arrives is a lot more efficient than clearing the snow and then applying salt. Keep any eye on the weather forecast and be prepared. If snow is forecast and the temperature is 2 degrees Celsius or less then applying some salt or Magic Ice melt is a good precautionary measure.

concrete drive damage

If you have a pattern imprinted drive do not use normal salt or grit salt as this can cause the concrete to blow, which will ruin it completely. This damaged area is where traditional road salt (grit) has been used, repairing a patch of damaged concrete like this is very difficult. Instead of using traditional salt or grit on pattern imprinted concrete you can use Magic ice melt, which is more effective than salt and will not damage the concrete.

bag of salt

Any kind of salt will melt snow and ice, you can use sea salt, cooking salt, table salt or dishwasher salt. You can buy bags of grit salt or rock salt in winter times, which is available at petrol station forecourts and most DIY shops, but the problem is that some of these products are poor quality and hardly contain any salt. I became aware of this in 2010 when we had considerable snow fall. In an attempt to clear the path I bought some grit salt/rock salt from a local petrol station. I spread it over the snow on the path and it just sat there on top of the snow, it was still on the path for weeks after the snow had melted naturally because it was made up almost completely from grit and sand. A better option is buying quality salt, like in the picture to the left. This is granulated salt and is used widely for water softening. This is available in 10kg or 25kg bags and works much better than grit salt or rock salt at preventing the snow from sticking. If you buy salt like in the picture to the left and you have some remaining after winter you can use it in your dishwasher as it is exactly the same as the small packets of dishwasher salt.

snow shovel

If you are too late and the snow has already covered the ground you can easily remove it as long as it is removed before the snow has been compacted by foot or by vehicles. A snow shovel like this will enable you to push the snow to a convenient location which is out of the way of others. Once the snow has been cleared you should apply some salt to the area or some Magic ice melt to prevent people from slipping. Try not to use a metal spade to clear the snow as it can damage paths and driveways, using a spade to chop compacted ice is another practice that should be avoided as when the ice clears you may find severe damage! Salt should not be applied near any plants as it can damage them.

magic ice melt

Salt can easily be applied using a plastic dustpan, once loaded with a few crystals you can shake or throw the salt at floor level to give the path or drive a dusting.