How to Remove Snow from a Driveway Without a Shovel

house with snow cleared driveway

Suddenly struck by a winter snowstorm? If you’re snowed in and don’t have a shovel handy, you may not know the best way to clear your driveway. Luckily, there are other household tools and alternative methods you can use to remove snow from your driveway without a shovel. 

man clearing driveway with snow blower

Snowblower

One of the best tools to use to remove snow from your driveway is a snowblower. Essentially a lawnmower for snow, this piece of machinery will quickly and effectively remove light and heavy snowfall from almost any driveway. Bear in mind that if you have a gravel driveway, you’ll want to adjust the snowblower auger, so you don’t suck up any rocks, which could damage the snowblower. The main downside of snowblowers is they’re relatively expensive and aren’t worth buying unless you experience heavy snowfall every winter. If you’re looking to purchase an affordable and effective snowblower, consider the Snow Joe SJ623E Electric Single Stage Snow Thrower.

Click here for our snow blower shopping guide.

Leaf Blower

Make your leaf blower helpful year-round by using it to clear your driveway. Leaf blowers are highly effective at remove light, fluffy layers of snow from your driveway but won’t work well on denser layers. They also blow away snow rather than sucking it up, so you won’t have to worry about any gravel getting stuck in the machinery. On light layers of snow, your leaf blower may even work better than a shovel. 

Broom/ Rake

Almost all households have a broom or rake lying around. A broom is great for sweeping away light coverings of snow, while a rake can break up dense layers. Be careful when using a rake, as you don’t want to accidentally strike your driveway and gouge a hole. Use your rake in conjunction with another method as it’s tough to clear dense snowfall with just a rake. 

Tarp

If you notice a blizzard coming and you’re underprepared, you can avoid snow on your driveway with a tarp. Simply grab a plastic tarp from your garage and place it on your driveway. When the snow stops, whip away the tarp, and your driveway will be clear of snow. This method works best during lighter snowstorms. 

Rock Salt

Placing rock salt on your driveway during the winter can save you lots of hassle in the long run. Spread rock salt evenly on your driveway, and it’ll stop ice and snow from settling, leaving your driveway clear. Rock salts, like Morton Safe-T-Salt Snow & Ice Melt, are inexpensive and last for years as long as it’s in a sealed container.

It’s worth noting that your average rock salt will only be effective at temperatures above 15 degrees. If you’re looking for a rock salt that works at even lower temperatures, consider buying a calcium or magnesium chloride-based solution, which will be effective at temperatures as low as -6 degrees. These ice melts are more expensive but still affordable. One recommended option is Snow Joe Melt-2-Go Calcium Chloride Ice Melter

snow tire on snowy wintery road

Homemade Alcohol Solution

A homemade alcohol solution is an excellent way to remove thin coverings of snow and ice from your driveway. While that as effective as other methods, a homemade alcohol solution will do the trick if you’re in a pinch. To make a solution, combine a gallon of water with a teaspoon of soap and a 1/4 a cup of rubbing alcohol. As alcohol has a lower freezing point than water, it’ll help the ice melt and stop your drive from freezing over as quickly. 

Roll up Dense Snow

If you’re low on options and have no tools for removing dense snow, you can try rolling up the thick layers. Similar to rolling a snowball, you can remove heavy snow by creating a wide log-shaped mound and rolling it away from you. The log will slowly pick up snow as you go. While strenuous and time-consuming, this method does work and will remove the top layer of snow, so you can use a leaf blower or a broom to get rid of the remaining snow.

Heated Mats

One high tech solution to getting rid of snow on your driveway is to use heated mats. Heat mats, such as the HeatTrak Snow Melting Mat, can be placed on your drive and walkways before a storm and will melt snow at around two inches per hour. This melting speed makes heat mats effective even in heavy blizzards and one of the best ways to remove snow from your driveway. One of the downsides of heat mats is they can be quite expensive, especially if you’re looking to cover your entire driveway. 

Heated Driveway

Spare no expense and install a heated driveway. This method of melting snow involves placing heated tubes containing antifreeze under your drive, which will melt snow and ice in a similar way to heat mats. While this is the most expensive method for melting snow, it will help improve the lifespan of your driveway, especially in areas that receive several inches of snowfall each year.

Snowplow

snow plow on the front of a pickup truck

While it’s unlikely you’ll have a snowplow, check around to see if a well-prepared neighbor has one. Mounted on the front of a four-wheel-drive truck, a plow will clear your drive in a matter of minutes. Just be careful the plow is adjusted to the right angle, so you don’t scrape the plow along your drive. 

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