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How to easily get rid of ice on garden paths and what to do with snow: winter tips

Yulia PoteriankoLife
The right tools and products will make ice removal easier

Forecasters warn that winter frosts and snowfalls are beginning in Ukraine. This means that we will all need to be careful of ice, and the lucky owners of private yards and gardens will have to take care of them themselves, clearing snow and ice.

This is not an easy task as it requires quite a bit of physical effort. However, it can be made easier. OBOZ.UA asked experts about life hacks for dealing with snow and ice.

How to remove ice from walkways and patios

Timely removal of snow and ice from paving slabs protects them from freezing and thawing cycles, which allows you to extend the service life of the coating. For the same purpose, it is better to clean it with a soft broom or plastic scoop rather than a metal shovel or hard brush. The latter two tools can scratch the tile surface.

How to protect walkways from icing

To prevent ice from freezing on the walkways, they should be treated with appropriate reagents. Rock salt is cheap and effective, but it should be used with caution as it can harm shoes and plants, as well as damage concrete and wood used to cover yards. Over time, salt can even corrode natural stone.

Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are safer alternatives. They are less toxic to plants and work even at lower temperatures. However, these substances are more expensive than rock salt. In any case, experts advise you to check whether they can be used on the coating you have in advance. These products should be used in moderation.

To reduce the cost of de-icing agents, you can mix them with sand. This will also help to apply it more evenly, sprinkle less product and improve adhesion to slippery surfaces. It is especially good to use the mixture with sand on paths where vehicles drive, on slopes and stairs.

However, if you have pets in your yard, you'll need to be especially careful when using deicing agents. After all, most commercial de-icing products are harmful to dogs, cats, and other animals as they can cause skin irritation and poisoning. You may have to abandon such treatment altogether or limit yourself to clean sand.

How to treat porches, terraces and decks

Just like patios, wooden verandas, terraces, and decks are sensitive to mechanical damage, so you should remove snow from them with plastic tools and soft brushes. It is important to move along the grain of the board.

Use deicing products on wood with extreme caution. Aggressive chemicals can permanently damage the wood. Magnesium chloride or potassium chloride will be relatively safe, but you will still need to check the labeling before using them.

You should not mix them with sand for use in this way. Sand, gravel, or rock salt can scratch the terrace. It is better to put rubber mats on it. Such a temporary path will prevent slipping and partially protect the deck from moisture.

Alternative methods of ice removal

The most obvious way to get rid of ice seems to be to pour hot water on the walkways. But there's one thing to keep in mind: hot water freezes faster, so you may soon end up with an even denser and more even layer of slippery ice. Therefore, use this method during the warmest hours of the day only.

You can also use alternative de-icing products. Wood ash, if you have a stove or fireplace, alfalfa flour, and coffee grounds are quite environmentally friendly and safe for animals. Some people also successfully use cucumber brine, but in this case, it should be borne in mind that such a liquid contains a lot of salt or vinegar, which can affect the condition of plants.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA told you how to properly store garden tools in winter.

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