Numerous websites claim that sidewalk ice can be removed or prevented with a Dawn dish soap mixture. We decided to put this claim to the test, and present our results below.
A search on Google reveals a number of websites which claim that a specialized deicing mixture including Dawn dish soap can remove ice from steps and sidewalks while preventing new ice from forming. Does this actually work?
First, let’s take a look at one of the claims which has increased in circulation in late 2013. The graphic below has been spotted on Facebook, and states, “For icy steps and sidewalks in freezing temperatures, mix 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish washing liquid, 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 gallon hot/warm water and pour over walkways. They won’t refreeze.”
Our Test and Other Reported Results
Although the Dawn deicing mixture claim appears on multiple websites, it seems that results are mixed. Instinctively, pouring dish soap and water on frozen walking area seems like a poor idea which might result in additional slipperiness.
For our test, we enlisted some friends in Iowa to try this tip on an icy walkway outside of their home. They prepared the solution exactly to the specifications above and applied it to the icy section. Their final conclusion was that the solution did not work for deicing or preventing ice buildup, and actually seemed to make the area slipperier than it was before. “It’s an ice skating rink,” one participant told us. This blogger also came to a similar conclusion.
If one takes the time to scroll through the comments left on some of the websites and blogs which repeat this claim (including our reader comments below), there are many people warning others not to try this due to assertions that it doesn’t work, increases slipperiness, or eventually results in the formation of more ice.
KSTP 5, a CBS affiliate out of Minneapolis, repeats the claim in an article entitled, “Home Remedies for Melting Icy Sidewalks and Driveways.” According to their results, the mixture actually worked. A quote from the article exclaims, “It worked! It melted through several layers of ice, and the alcohol in the solution prevented the water from refreezing.”
Many websites claim that a homemade deicer can be created using a mix which includes Dawn dish soap. In our test, the mixture did not work well, and made walking areas more slippery. Comments left on our site and many others seem to agree with our assessment. However, there seems to be mixed results, and some people claim that it worked for them.
Have you tried this trick, and did it work for you?
Updated January 10, 2015
Originally published December 2013