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Chemical-Free Ways to Deal With Winter Ice

Even ice melts that are safer for pets and plants can have environmental drawbacks—and all salts stop working below 15ºF. Consider skipping chemicals altogether with these options to improve your footing

Icy walkway

SAND Time-honored and cheap, it easily turns a slippery surface into a secure one. Keep it in a bucket near the door and spread it often, as it tends to thin out in high-traffic areas. Just sweep it away come spring.

WOOD ASH This nonskid substance is free and readily available if you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove. To keep from tracking it inside, use it on less-trafficked areas. Its dark hue hastens melting when the sun comes out.

STAY-IN-PLACE GRANULES Crystalline products, like EcoTraction, which is made from volcanic minerals, adhere to ice and retain their rough shape. They provide traction immediately—and in all temperatures.

TRACTION CLEATS Working outside, maybe spreading one of the above? Wearing ice-gripping cleats on your shoes or boots will help you stay upright. Two products to look for: Yaktrax Pro and STABILicers.

HEATED MATS Arguably the best way to deal with ice is to prevent it from forming in the first place. HeatTrak’s 120-volt mats warm up steps and walkways just enough to keep snow and sleet from freezing into a solid sheet. Say goodbye to shoveling!