To clear snow off your driveway, begin by warming up for physical activity. Then, choose a sturdy snow shovel or a snow blower. To make removing snow easier, start while the snow is fresh, fluffy, and easy to move. Begin by clearing the middle of your driveway. Then, shovel the snow off to each side, to reduce the amount of heavy lifting you have to do. Make sure not to block the sidewalk or bury delicate plants when removing snow. Finally, spread a layer of ice melt on the driveway to melt stubborn ice and prepare your driveway for the next snowfall.
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7 Quick Steps to Remove Snow from Your Driveway
Removing a layer of snow from your driveway can be a long, grueling job in the worst circumstances. However, the steps below will make moving all those inches of snow much easier. Here’s how to save time and effort while clearing your driveway.
Before you step outside to shovel snow, perform a 5–10-minute warm-up. Begin with some jumping jacks, arm circles, and mountain climbers. Then, stretch your legs, shoulders, and wrists. This quick warm-up will reduce the chance of sprains and strains.
- Warm up for clearing snow with jumping jacks, shoulder circles, and stretches.
- Wear layers of warm clothing so you can stay warm while you work.
- Make sure to wear sturdy snow boots, to prevent a dangerous slip and fall.
Dress in winter clothing for snow shoveling. Wear slip-resistant snow boots, snow pants, and a snow jacket. It’s a good idea to layer up for winter weather, with a sweatshirt under your snow jacket. If you start to get too warm while clearing snow, you can take off an outer layer of clothing. Just remember to work at a steady pace and don’t overexert yourself.
Choose the Right Snow Tools
If you’re clearing snow with a shovel, use a well-reviewed shovel. Flimsy shovels will struggle to move snow and are prone to breaking. We recommend wide shovels with a poly blade and a reinforced support that prevents breakage. If you’ve struggled with snow sticking to your shovel in the past, spray the blade with cooking oil so the snow slides right off.
- This highly-rated snow shovel will make clearing packed snow easy.
- Coat the shovel blade with a thin layer of cooking spray to stop the snow from sticking.
- For long driveways that experience heavy snow, use a snow blower.
- Snow blowers reduce the work of clearing snow, but they require extra safety precautions during operation.
If you have a long driveway that makes shoveling a very big job, consider investing in a snow blower. Our editors prefer snow blowers with a plug-in electric start, since they are super reliable on cold mornings. But, if your snow blower is stubborn, you can use starter fluid to start a snow blower.
Begin While the Snow is Fresh
Whenever possible, start shoveling the snow soon after it is done falling. This is because new snow is light and fluffy, which makes shoveling or snow blowing much easier. If you leave that fluffy snow on your driveway for too long, it will become hard, compacted, and icy. Chipping through icy snow makes clearing your driveway much more difficult.
- If the outdoor conditions are safe, shovel new snowfall right away.
- New snow is lighter and easier to remove.
- If you leave snow too long it will become compacted and icy, which makes the job harder and more slippery.
Heavy snow accumulation also makes your snow-clearing job harder. Check out our article on shoveling snow while it is still snowing for tips on how to tell when it’s safe to clear snow while it’s still coming down. It may seem like more work, but shoveling light snow multiple times actually goes faster than removing heavy snow from a driveway all at once.
Start in the Middle
To remove the snow from your driveway, start at the center. Beginning at the top of the driveway, clear a straight line down to the bottom of the driveway. If the snow is fairly light, you can simply push the shovel downhill to clear the snow.
- Start at the top center of your driveway.
- Clear a single line down the center of your driveway.
- If possible, clear this center line by putting your shovel blade on the ground and pushing it downhill.
- Do not push snow into the road.
When clearing the center of your driveway, make sure to clear the snow off to the sides when you reach the bottom. In many regions, it’s illegal to push snow into the road, since this creates a hazard for drivers. Instead, push the snow off to each side at the bottom of your driveway. Make sure the snow is on your lawn, not in the roadway.
Push Snow to the Sides
Once you’ve cleared a center line down your driveway, it’s time to clear the snow from each side. To do this:
- Standing in the center of your driveway, face one side.
- Put the blade of the shovel down on the driveway.
- Walk forward to push the snow to the edge of the driveway with the blade.
- If necessary, scoop and dump excess snow onto the ground surrounding your driveway.
- Work from top to bottom to clear one side of the driveway.
- Repeat for the second side of the driveway.
This “snow pushing” system is a super fast way to remove snow from a driveway. It also eliminates a lot of the bending and scooping associated with shoveling snow. So, you’ll save labor and muscle strain.
Don’t Pile Snow on Paths or Plants
When you are pushing and scooping snow off your driveway, be careful where the snow piles up. Do not allow piles of snow to block pathways you need to get to and from your home. As an added precaution, do not pile snow onto the sidewalk. You and your neighbors need these paths to remain clear.
- Do not pile snow on paths you need to get to your home or garage.
- Avoid piling snow on sidewalks—this is illegal in most regions.
- Pile snow away from garden plants so they are not crushed.
- Never pile snow against the walls of your home. Melting snow can leak inside your house.
In addition to keeping paths clear, pay attention to delicate plants when moving snow. Piling snow on plants can crush and kill them. Additionally, do not allow snow to pile up against the sides of your home. When the snow melts, it could leak into your ground-level rooms or basement.
Spread Ice Melt
Once you are done removing the snow from your driveway, spread a concrete-safe ice melt on the areas you cleared. This will melt any stubborn snow and ice, so your driveway is safe to walk on. Plus, the ice melt will work to melt future snowfall, which makes clearing your driveway much easier the next time you tackle the job.
- Spread this magnesium chloride ice melt on your driveway once you have removed the snow.
- Ice melt removes slippery snow and ice buildup from your driveway.
- If you treat your driveway with ice melt right after you clear it, you will make it easier to remove snow in the future.
- Avoid salt-based deicers because they can ruin your driveway.
Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride deicers are the best choices for driveways, since they work at extremely low temperatures and won’t damage your driveway. Rock salt and other sodium chloride deicers are a very poor choice because they stop working in extreme cold, damage concrete, and the runoff from your driveway will kill the plants and grass nearby.
- Melts snow and ice in frigid cold temperatures (as low as -10°F).
- Safe for pets and the environment and won't harm paws or plants.
- Small, round pellets make for easy dispersal on driveways and steps.
Can You Pour Hot Water on a Frozen Driveway?
Never pour hot water on an icy or snowy driveway. In most cases, the water will cool and refreeze, which results in a layer of dangerously slick ice. Instead of hot water, use an ice melt product on your frozen driveway. Magnesium chloride or calcium chloride ice melt will eat through the ice so your driveway is no longer slippery and dangerous.
What is the Easiest Way to Remove Snow From a Driveway?
To easily remove snow from your driveway, just follow these steps:
- Warm up with aerobics and stretching before you go outside.
- Use a sturdy snow shovel or a snow blower.
- Start while the snow is fresh to make the job easier.
- Clear a line down the center of your driveway to start.
- Push the snow from the center to the sides, to avoid heavy lifting.
- Don’t block paths or sidewalks when you remove the snow from your driveway.
- Treat your driveway with ice melt to make your next shoveling job even easier.
These simple steps will keep you safe and result in a cleared, ice-free driveway that is safe for you and your family to walk on. All you need are some warm clothes, a good snow removal tool, and some ice melt to handle anything winter throws your way.