Is It Better To Salt The Driveway Before Or After A Snowstorm?

When inclement weather approaches, you should plan on how to control snow along your pathways.

You will need to have clear driveways so that you can easily navigate to places when needed.

Salting is among the well-known ways of clearing snow on driveways, but timing is imperative for it to be effective.

But, Is It Better To Salt The Driveway Before Or After A Snowstorm?

The best time to apply salt on your driveway is before an approaching snowstorm. It is challenging to remove sleet, snow, or ice from the driveway when you want to leave. To make this easier, you can add stone salt after you shovel to prevent more ice buildup under the unshoveled ice and make the next session easier.

How To Use Salt In Your Driveway And Manage Snow Accumulation

The winter can be annoying, considering the cold weather and snowfall.

When snow accumulates on your driveway, it becomes slippery and risky to move on.

That is why you need to easily have simple tips for dealing with snow on driveways.

However, it is important to know that salts are efficient substances on your driveway; they can sometimes be highly sensitive and corrosive.

The key point is using deicing salts strategically to avoid any additional damage to your property.

Before you commence the process of ice clearing on your driveway, make sure you have

  • a shovel
  • an ice melt/ salt
  • and a bag for collecting the shoveled ice.

Once you collect all the items, you can follow the steps below.

  1. Spread The Salt  Evenly On The Driveway Surface. The portion you will use depends on the brand of salt you have. However, a general quantity rule of thumb states that ½ cup of salt is enough for a square yard.
  2. If your time is running out, you can mix the salt and hot water in a spray bottle and spray all over the surface. This way, the pellets are activated very fast.
  3.  Keep the salts away from your precious plants, pets, and children.
  4. Wait for ¼ hour or so for the ice to melt. If the ice layer is thick, it will take more time to melt.
  5. If you had spread the salt before snowfall, wait until the storm is over before you check your driveway.
  6. Use a shovel to collect excess ice pellets or salt to prevent harming your concrete, pets, or children.

Snow And Ice Prevention Tips For Driveways

What can you put on your driveway to prevent snow from pulling up?

While there are many options to clear ice on the driveway, walkway, or yard, you should always consider choosing one with less labor requirements and minimal environmental effects.

Try as much as possible to choose a deicer substance that will keep your driveway free from snow, even in very low temperatures.

This substance should also be safe for grass, pets, and nearby plants. Also, consider the condition of your concrete and buy a deicer that won’t damage the concrete.

Here are a few sample methods to keep your driveway free from the snow with less or no negative effects on the surroundings.

1. Salt-Free Deicer

Even though salts are known as good deicer substances, they are, at times, very corrosive.

Using a salt-free deicer is one of the most efficient ways to protect your driveway from snow and ice while keeping your plants, pets, and babies safe.

Instead of chloride, this substance contains glycol, which is safer for living things and concrete.

This substance is so powerful that it can melt ice at temperatures even below negative 19 degrees Celsius.

This chemical is free of chloride, therefore, non-corrosive to the driveway surface.

If your pets are furry and enjoy moving on your driveway, you should find a salt-free deicer so that your pets don’t get paw damage.

2. Potassium Formate

Most of the items used to keep snow off your driveway are granular in shape.

However, potassium formate is quite different as it comes in liquid form.

This liquid is safe for animals, pets, and plants. It is also non-corrosive; hence it won’t damage your driveway concrete.

This chemical forms a layer of brine, which is freeze resistant. This brine melts snow and ice more than any other deicer. It can deal with ice as cold as -52°C.

To use it, spread the liquid deicer on a flat driveway, which will flow downwards if the spray liquid is applied on a sloppy driveway. Since it has no salts, it is safe to use near plants. It is also safe for small children and pets.

The liquid potassium formate is best used on flat driveways to prevent excessive flow on slopes. Use granular deicer to deal with ice in sloppy driveways.

3. Calcium Chloride

Calcium chloride is the best solution for occupants of regions that experience extreme cold. The deicer melts ice with temperatures as low as -40°C. However, this substance is highly corrosive; therefore, only use it if the weather is extremely cold and snowstorms are excessively long. Avoid using it on the concrete before snowfall.

On the plus side, calcium chloride causes less damage to the driveway concrete compared to other drivers.

4. Magnesium Chloride

The magnesium chloride deicer is among the best ways to deal with ice accumulation on the driveway.

It is less corrosive than the common table salt, rock salt, and other drivers.

Magnesium chloride can work on ice even when it is extremely cold, up to -23°C.

This is the best choice of a deicer for your driveway.

Any deicer substance with magnesium chloride will not damage nearby plants or pets.

Even as the melted snow runs to your garden or lawn, it carries with it magnesium chloride, but no plant or grass will get affected.

You can even use it on your lawn as it will not poison the ground, soil, or growing plants and grasses.

5. Tarp

If you are unsure which chemical substance to use, you can go for the non-chemical tarp.

A tarp is a physical barrier that will prevent the formation of ice on your driveway.

Spread a thick, heavy-duty tarp on the driveway before a snowstorm.

Use boards, bricks, or other sizable stones to weigh down the sides of the tarp.

When snowfall reduces or ends, you can now remove the tarp and snow once. This method is not effective if snow has already fallen.

Additionally, if the tarp gets heavy snow, it can warp and be very hard to pull away. This method of using tarp is only effective for light snowfalls.


Dealing with ice can be very tiresome in the winter, especially if you receive heavy snowstorms.

It is important to preplan the methods you can use to deal with snow before it falls.

Driveways are the most necessary parts to be cleared from ice to enhance movement.

With the many deicing options available, you can get one that suits you best, depending on the extent of ice formation in your region.