Freshly fallen snow can create picturesque scenes for all to enjoy, but without the right removal plans and equipment, winter wonderlands can turn into a nightmare to clean up. Luckily, we’re ready to help winter warriors tackle the challenge of snow removal with ease. Here are our top 10 snow-shoveling hacks to make this seasonal chore a little more bearable.
Snow Removal Tips
Every year, it’s estimated that more than 100 inches of snow falls across the United States. With so much precipitation affecting people’s daily lives, snow removal is an essential part of winter maintenance.
To effectively manage the snowfall that accumulates around your home, follow these tips:
1. Remove snow while it’s falling.
It may seem counter-intuitive to shovel snow while it’s still falling, but being quick to take action can actually save you time and effort down the road. Aim to clear surfaces after every two to four inches of snowfall or on an hourly basis.
By getting ahead and removing snow before it gets compacted from foot and car traffic, shoveling won’t be as difficult, and pileups should be smaller.
2. Use heavy-duty snow removal equipment.
Having quality snow removal gear is the key to getting the job done as efficiently as possible. Trying to complete the task with low-quality tools can increase your physical exertion and work time and leave you susceptible to breaking or malfunctioning equipment.
To make your winter days more manageable and less strenuous, consider buying:
- A sturdy snow shovel.
- An ergonomic snow blower.
- A heated driveway system.
While some of these options are expensive, they’re a worthy investment for those living in the areas most susceptible to heavy snow.
3. Embrace DIY ice-melting methods.
Store-bought melting materials can prevent hard ice from forming under layers of snow. However, you don’t need to break the bank with these products.
Craft your own ice-melting mixture using common household items like salt, sugar, and warm water and apply it before the precipitation starts or immediately after shoveling snow.
This homemade concoction can be just as good as the store-bought stuff while being gentler on your wallet.
Make our tried-and-true DIY ice melt recipe by combining the following in a bucket and pouring it over slippery spots:
- 1 teaspoon of dish soap.
- 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol.
- ½ gallon of water.
4. Develop a snow-tackling plan.
Don’t head outside without a plan. Be strategic and map out how you want to remove snow. Clear cars off first, then prioritize pathways, entrances, and frequently used areas.
When it comes to your driveway, start in the middle and work your way out.
You’ll need a solid winter wardrobe before you head outside to clean up. To make sure you have the correct coat for the cold, follow our guide on the best wintertime coat options.
5. Lay a tarp over surfaces pre-snowfall.
For areas that get light snowfall, preparation is key—and this hack does all the work for you. Simply lay a tarp over surfaces you want to protect before the dusting hits.
Once the storm has passed, pick up any tarps you’ve laid by their edges and slide what’s accumulated into a clean pile—no shoveling necessary!
6. Create snowballs for easy stacking.
Best for dense, wet, and sticky snow, channel your inner child and turn what falls into compact snowballs.
Make them small enough so they can be easily picked up, rolled, tossed, and stacked, minimizing the strain on your body and encouraging fun.
7. Leverage your leaf blower.
In a pinch without a shovel or snow blower? Your trusty leaf blower can be used on more than just autumn leaves.
Switch it to reverse and watch it effortlessly blow away snow and leave nothing behind but clean, clear surfaces.
These tips should help you save physical energy in the winter, but what about saving on the season’s energy bills? Try some of our suggestions for winter energy saving tips.
8. Try sandy products on icy surfaces.
Sand and similar products (like table or rock salt and kitty litter) are perfect for keeping snow and ice-covered surfaces safe. Salt can melt ice, while sand helps provide traction.
Spread these products over the areas you’re standing and walking on and let the texture give you some extra grit.
9. Shovel in socks.
Yep, you read that right! Slippery surfaces are one of the biggest safety hazards in the wintertime. Luckily, you can boost your traction by slipping old socks over your shoes when you shovel.
It might seem unconventional, but it works like a charm for stronger and more stable footing.
10. Oil your shovel.
Believe it or not, you can take a cooking essential and turn it into a snow removal remedy. Grab some cooking oil or non-stick cooking spray and cover the base of your shovel with it before every use.
That coating will prevent snow from sticking to your tool so you can seamlessly pick up all the snowfall and have it slip right off.
Beyond Snow Removal: How to Keep Safe This Winter
With these snow removal hacks, you'll be able to conquer one of winter's toughest challenges. To take on other crucial seasonal tasks with confidence, follow our winter home maintenance checklist. In it, you’ll find guidance on cleaning and replacing filters, stocking your emergency kit, and other important winter to-dos.