A man using a snow blower to remove the the snow on the streets

Snowed-in driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks are a fact of life during a Naperville winter. Rather than letting it be a nuisance that disrupts your home or business, take action with these 10 snow and ice removal tips to help you get rid of snow fast.

1. Be in peak form

Shoveling snow is a strenuous physical activity. If you want to avoid injuries or exhaustion, take some of these precautions before, during, and after the shoveling:

  • Don’t drink alcohol right before shoveling snow. Alcohol is a depressant — it literally slows you down. It’ll take you longer to finish shoveling and make you react more slowly, which could lead to an injury.
  • Warm up with some stretching before shoveling. Before piling on your coat, hat, and gloves, take 10–15 minutes to stretch out your arms, legs, core, and back. You’ll avoid getting cramps and reduce some of the soreness after you’re done.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water when you’re removing snow from your driveway or sidewalks. A lot of people forget to do this because it’s so cold out and they don’t feel like they’re working up a sweat.

2. Choose the right tools

A snow shoveler is only as good as their tools. And when you have the wrong tool for the job, you’ll definitely know it. Since snow removal is a frequent chore for Naperville and Chicagoland residents every winter, it’s worthwhile to invest in a decent shovel. 

Try to find an ergonomic model that’s designed to fit your movements better. Also, go with a lightweight plastic instead of metal, as metal is heavier each time you have to move the shovel.

3. Push, don’t lift

There’s a right way and a wrong way to shovel snow! In addition to all the other tips on this list, you should ensure you have the proper technique. 

Whenever possible, try pushing the snow away from your driveway or sidewalk rather than lifting it and tossing it somewhere. Pushing the snow puts less pressure on your arms and back. If you get to the snow at the right time (see tip #7), pushing will be easier anyway.

4. Dress warmly

This tip should be common sense but you’d be surprised how many people don’t think about it. Wear warm clothing that will insulate your body heat, especially your hands, feet, and head. Trying to exert yourself physically when you’re that cold is dangerous for your body.

5. Clear off windows with alcohol

Icy windows on your home in wintertime can look charming but icy car windows are a road hazard. Get rid of that ice by putting some rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spraying your windows with it. Dry with an old towel immediately after. The ice will be gone and it will keep your windows from fogging up again.

6. Melt ice with lukewarm water

Using rock salt or de-icing compounds works great for frozen driveways and sidewalks, but what do you do when your car windows, door handles, and locks are covered in ice? 

A quick and simple trick is pouring lukewarm water over them to melt the ice, then wiping away the water with a squeegee right after to keep more ice from forming. 

For this trick to work you absolutely need lukewarm water and not hot water. The drastic temperature change from frozen solid to scalding hot can crack glass or warp metal.

7. Nail your timing

Shoveling snow effectively is all about timing. The best time to remove snow from your driveway is right after the snow has fallen. It won’t have had time to get packed down and hard yet, so it’ll be easier to shovel.

Also, don’t be afraid to take breaks when you’re clearing away snow. You probably feel motivated to get the job done as quickly as possible so you can go inside and get warm again. But taking occasional breaks can prevent you from getting too tired, which makes you less likely to injure yourself.

8. Get traction with kitty litter

Kitty litter isn’t just for your cat’s messes, it can come in handy during winter months too. Sprinkling some litter on icy surfaces can create enough traction for your car tires, so you can pull out of snow drifts. 

Keep a big tub or bag of kitty litter in the trunk of your car when it starts getting cold out. You can use sand, wood ashes, or birdseed to get traction too.

9. Use a sturdy tarp or dropcloth

Cover smaller areas, like a portion of your driveway or even your car, with a strong tarp or painter’s dropcloth before the snow hits. When the snow stops falling, you can simply slide the tarp away and all the snow with it. This isn’t super practical for your entire driveway or parking lot, of course, but it’s a good trick for smaller spaces and vehicles.

10. Get out the snow blower

A snow blower is more effective than shoveling and takes less of a toll on your body. 

If you use a snow blower, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Always read the snow blower’s instruction manual before first use to ensure you understand how to operate it as well as the safety precautions.
  • Never use a snow blower when other people or pets are nearby.
  • Never leave a snow blower unattended while it’s still running.
  • Never let a child operate a snow blower.
  • Put the fuel in the snow blower’s engine before you start, so the engine is still cool.
  • Always use a stick or broom handle to remove impacted snow or debris from the snow blower and ONLY when it’s turned off. Never stick your hand inside a snow blower.

Stay ahead of snow and ice this winter

Snow is going to fall whether you’re ready for it or not, so you might as well be prepared. The snow removal hacks we included here will help you keep your driveway, parking lot, and sidewalks clear all winter long. 

If you don’t have the time to remove the snow and ice from your property yourself, you can always call our snow removal experts. At Ware Landscaping & Snow Removal, our expert team is ready to de-ice and remove snow from your residential or commercial property. Contact us to get started.

Shoveling snow