5 smart ways to remove snow from a driveway

Need to know how to remove snow from a driveway? Discover quick, simple and effective solutions to get rid of it fast

A new round of snow begins covering a recently shoveled driveway. Slow shutter speed to emphasize motion of the falling snow.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fresh white snow may look beautiful, but it's just not practical to leave it lying on your driveway. If you’ve got to get to work or school, it needs to be moved out of the way – and quick.

But how? A snowblower will blast away the snow to give you a clear and safe path to wherever you want to go. But what happens if your snowblower won’t start? Don’t panic, you can start digging and get the ice melters out to de-ice paths and clear the area. 

Whatever you do, you simply don't want to leave it. Melting snow can refreeze and cause some serious damage to your driveway. It will open up cracks and over time start to break down the base leading to expensive repairs.

How to remove snow from a driveway quickly and easily 

Whether you have heavy snow or light snow you want to get rid of it as soon as you can. But which method is best to remove different types of snow? Here, we look at what you can use to get rid of it, whatever its depth. 

1. Use a snow shovel

Closeup of red snow blower in action

(Image credit: Olena Ivanova / Alamy Stock Photo)

A simple, practical and inexpensive solution is to use a snow shovel like this Bigfoot 21" Roller Snow Shovel from Walmart. This is ideal for small driveways and short walkways, but it can be backbreaking work if you're not used to manual work. 

If you’re not keen on digging out your driveway you can think about using a back-friendly snow shovel with wheels. These have wider blades – so move more snow – a set of snow-friendly wheels and strong adjustable height handles – no bending – to push the blade along and get the job done quicker.

Driveway Snow Shovel | View at Walmart

Driveway Snow Shovel | View at Walmart
When clearing snow from safe places such as driveways, this wheeled snow shovel is ideal for pushing heavy loads out of the way without damaging your back with lifting. 

2. Start with a snow blower

When you need some raw power rather than muscle power, a snowblower like this PowerSmart 2-Stage Electric Start Gas Snow Blower from Walmart is a great choice if you have a heavy snowfall to clear. They are a fast, effective solution that will blast snow out of the way. Gas snowblowers are better for larger areas as you won’t have a cord restricting your distance.

You need to use a snowblower correctly to make sure you're getting rid of snow effectively. Start in the middle of the driveway and then do a U-turn and go down the other side, spraying the snow away from your drive. Then, do single strips on both sides until the snow is gone.  

3. Lay down ice melters

Ice melters are specially formulated pellets that contain sodium chloride (salt) along with other chemicals to quickly melt ice and snow. They are not as harsh as rock salt – a natural ice melter – and not as corrosive, so they will do less damage to your driveway, especially if used regularly.

Ice melters are ideal for light snow fall and compacted snow that has turned to ice on steps, walkways and smaller driveways and quickly give back your curb appeal. Pet-friendly versions like this Safe Melt Pet Friendly Ice and Snow Melter are available from Walmart. But be warned, they are not completely harmless to pets' paws. One tip is to use ice melters sparingly – so not so corrosive – and mix with soft sand to create a more environmentally and pet-friendly solution. 

Salt residue can also damage floors, so make sure you and your family wipe your shoes as you enter your home. 

4. Spray with hot water

If you’ve got a light layer of snow on your driveway, you can attach a hose to your hot water faucet and wash away the snow. Use a garden hose sprayer nozzle on a wide setting to cover as much ground as possible. Alternatively, you can use an outside cold water supply and hose, but the water will refreeze quicker.

The downside to hot or cold water is that they are not an effective solution by themselves. Salt will need to be added to stop the water from freezing. And it’s not a good choice for heavy snowfall, as it simply won't get rid of the snow quickly enough.


snow storm in Northwest United States with residential home in background

(Image credit: Getty Images/tab1962)

What is the best snow removal for a large driveway? 

If you’ve got a large or long driveway you don’t want to be shoveling snow by hand, it’s hard work. What you need is some assistance. If you’ve got a truck you can get a snow plow to fit on the front, but these are not a cheap solution. You should expect to pay anywhere from $1500 to $3000 to get a good one. But it will get the job done quickly, whatever type of driveway you have.

Another option is to call in a professional to do the job. The cost will depend on the size of the area to be cleared. For example, if you have a two-car driveway, expect to pay around $50 per visit. If you live in an area where it snows regularly, you could get an annual snow removal contract, which will cost around $3000. But again, size and frequency are factors, so check with a local contractor to get a price. 

Is it bad to leave snow on your driveway? 

Leaving snow on your driveway can lead to a range of issues. Compacted snow can become hard and slippery which can cause you to slip over and injure yourself. But leaving snow on a driveway can also damage your driveway. 

When the snow melts, water slips into any cracks, and when the water freezes, it expands, widening the cracks. The more often this happens, the more damage it will cause to a driveway. The simple solution is to keep your driveway free of snow when possible.  

Who is in charge of clearing the snow from the area around the fire hydrants? 

Keeping a fire hydrant clear of snow is considered the responsibility of the residents of the property nearest the fire hydrant. While it is not a law it is a civic duty that will benefit local homeowners if there is a fire in the vicinity.

If a fire hydrant is covered in snow, it can be difficult to locate, and the fire department doesn't want to waste precious minutes digging it out in an emergency. It is recommended to clear around three feet in all directions. 

Snow can affect more than just your driveway. When left unchecked, it can also damage a lawn. To stay on top of cold weather hazards, ensure you winterize your home and outdoor spaces.

Steve Jenkins
DIY specialist

Steve has been a homes writer and editor for two decades, regularly contributing to brands like Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine. He is an avid DIYer with over 20 years of experience transforming and renovating homes. He specializes in painting and decorating but has strong all-around building skills, having worked in the industry for ten years.