No-Slip Tips for Icy Walkways

Man on icy street.

As winter weather has made its way throughout the US, icy walkways have affected the majority of us. Icy walkways can be very hazardous, especially for children and older adults. Many Americans are hurt annually due to slips and falls on icy walkways. The good news? This is something that you can help prevent! Mr. Handyman would like to give you some "no-slip tips" for icy walkways this winter.

There are several ways to help prevent slips and falls under icy conditions, but there are pros and cons.

Shoveling immediately after a snow storm

Pros: Ice buildup typically happens after snow has melted and refrozen, or when pedestrians compact the snow by their footsteps. By shoveling immediately, the risk of slips and falls are significantly reduced.

Cons: This is easier said than done. Work limitations, time of storm, and other factors may make this extremely difficult to accomplish after every snowfall during the winter season.

Rock Salt

Pros: Rock salt has become an American staple for ice removal. It’s cheap and effective, and can be used both as a form of ice prevention (if spread on walkways and steps prior to a snow storm) and can help melt away any ice that may have formed after the storm has begun.

Cons: Rock salt is only effective in temperatures above 12 degrees Fahrenheit. For those in extremely cold climates, rock salt may not always work as it’s just too cold! Rock salt, too, over time can damage grass, concrete, and certain metals including steel. Rock salt is also harmful to pets because it dries out their paws and is harmful for your pet to ingest.


Pros: Sand works in any temperature and it provides traction to make it easier to walk on icy steps and walkways

Cons: Sand does not melt ice and unlike rock salt, sand does not dissolve. Excess sand can become problematic when weather gets warmer by potentially clogging drainage areas. Sand also can be dragged in the house by pets and guests.

Using a Metal Shovel

Pros: Metal shovels are great for breaking up ice in walkways. Using a metal shovel to remove ice, as opposed to de-icers (such as rock salt) or abrasive materials like sand, is a great alternative for pet owners.

Cons: Metal shovels are significantly heavier than plastic shovels. This makes shoveling a much more labor intensive task. Additionally, using a metal shovel to break up ice can damage concrete if too much forced is used.

Mr. Handyman may not shovel your snow but we can fix most things in your home! Contact your local Mr. Handyman by calling or request service in your area.

Photo Cred: GabPRR on Flickr