Can You Melt Sidewalk Ice With Dawn Dish Soap?

A helpful hint circulating online claims that you can remove and prevent ice on steps or sidewalks with Dawn dish soap - but does it work? We decided to put this hint to the test, and present our results below.

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First, let’s take a look at the helpful hint which has increased in circulation in late 2013:


The above graphic has been spotted on Facebook, which 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
For our test, we enlisted some friends in Iowa to try this tip on the icy walkway outside of their home. They prepared a solution exactly to the specifications above and applied it to the icy section.Their final conclusion?

“It’s an ice skating rink.”

The solution did not work in de-icing or preventing ice buildup, and actually seemed to make the area slipperier than it was before. Still not convinced? This blogger also came to a similar conclusion.

Bottom Line
We did not find that a mixture of Dawn, rubbing alcohol, and hot water was effective in removing or preventing ice on steps or walkways.

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  • wrosenberger

    I thank you for your HoaxBuster. I was just about to try it on a stalagmite that’s growing bu my back door. Anything slipperier would have been a disaster.

  • Georgia

    I haven’t tried this but anyone with a brain knows that the soap would be slippery. Don’t try it unless you want to bust your bottom.

  • Kathy Solloway, Wabash, IN

    I tested it first and thank goodness I didn’t but it on our steps or us two old people would have broke a bone for sure. I hope the person who put this out is ashamed of themselves.

  • Lindsay Frost

    Wish I had read this first before pouring the mixture on me steps last night. What a mess this morning. Thick ice where I had poured the mixture. Thin easy ice to scrap where I did not pour the mixture. Result? Best way is the old fashion way,…..shovel.

  • joe

    Find a pool supply store and buy pool filter media (silica #20) it works slower but it works.