No, cat litter cannot melt ice but it is useful for providing traction when sprinkled over ice.
Natural, non-clumping litter can be used over walkways and driveways as a pet-friendly and eco-friendly alternative to salt.
The litter helps to prevent slipping and makes it safer to walk across an icy surface.
What Type of Cat Litter Melts Ice?
No cat litter will effectively melt ice but dark-coloured cat litter may help to speed up the process simply by absorbing more heat in sunlight.
If you need to melt ice it is better to use rock salt or another de-icer instead.
Aside from this, all cat litter types do very little to melt ice.
Non-clumping litter does provide additional traction to make icy areas safer to walk across.
Why Does Cat Litter Not Melt Ice?
Non-clumping cat litter is often clay-based, as it does not contain any salt it is ineffective when it comes to melting ice.
The litter does nothing to impact the ice but does provide a layer of traction so you can walk or drive with less risk of an accident.
Salt is the most popular choice for melting ice.
Salt is effective because it lowers the freezing point of water, it also provides traction to make the area safer for walking/ driving across.
The downside to salt is that it has an environmental impact that can be damaging as salt goes into the natural waterways such as freshwater ponds.
Why Do People Sprinkle Cat Litter Outside When It Is Icy?
Sprinkling cat litter on icy surfaces provides immediate extra grip which can prevent slipping.
Some people choose to use cat litter instead of rock salt because it doesn’t burn your pet’s paws and it doesn’t have a negative impact on plants and the environment.
Cat litter is great for traction but it is important to use the non-clumping variety.
Clumping litter will form stodgy lumps when the ice starts to melt which will be difficult to get rid of and will become stuck to your shoes.
Does Sand Melt Ice?
No, sand doesn’t melt ice but it does create more friction and reduces how slippery the icy surface is.
Sand offers a quick and easy way to make a path or road safer.
It can also help prevent the ice from getting worse by stopping the top layer from freezing any further.
Sand will make ice melt slightly quicker than if there was no sand as it will absorb heat from the sun.
Similar to using cat litter, sand does not add more salt into the environment so minimises environmental damage such as increased salt in freshwater habitats.
Did you know sand was originally used as cat litter back in the 1940s.
What Can Cat Litter Be Used For?
Did you know cat litter has loads of alternative uses?
In addition to sprinkling it onto icy paths, it can also be used for absorbing smells in wardrobes and fridges, clearing up oil spills and much more:
1. Prevent Windshields From Fogging Up
You can stop your car windows from fogging up during winter by filling a sock with kitty litter and placing it inside the car – ideally close to the windscreen.
The litter will absorb moisture as well as any damp odour from your car. Silica cat litter is effective for this as it doesn’t have a smell and is very absorbent.
2. Keep Wardrobes & Cupboards Fresh
Placing a shallow bowl of cat litter into the bottom of a wardrobe or cupboard will help to remove bad odours.
It’s a simple way of freshening up closed spaces.
The odour-absorbing abilities of cat litter makes it great for clearing smells from the fridge too.
3. Preserve Flowers
You can use cat litter to preserve flowers by placing the flowers into an airtight container with the cat litter.
Leave the container sealed for 10 days and when you open the container again the flowers will be dry.
The cat litter helps by absorbing the moisture, leaving the flowers beautifully preserved.
4. Absorb Oil Spills
Oil spills can be a nightmare to get rid of but cat litter makes it simple.
Cover the spilled oil with cat litter and leave it for a few minutes (longer if the oil spill is older and has started to stain).
The litter will make quick work of absorbing the oil making it a lot easier to clean. If the oil has set then use the litter to scrub the oil stains.
5. Safe Paint Disposal
If you have leftover paint that you don’t know what to do with, you can mix it with cat litter.
Once the cat litter absorbs the paint it will become solid waste and this can be safely disposed of.
6. Dry Out Wet Electronics
You can place a wet phone or electronic device into a bowl of cat litter to dry out.
The litter works in the same way as rice to remove moisture.
Cat litter is arguably even better than rice because it has been designed to absorb moisture.
7. Repel Rodents
Used cat litter can be an excellent rodent repellent thanks to the smell and the perceived threat of a nearby predator.
Sprinkling used cat litter in strategic places in the garden is enough to keep mice and moles away.
8. Prevent Grease Fires
Cat litter can even be used to prevent grease fires by placing a small layer of cat litter into the bottom of your outdoor grill.
This won’t impact the grill or your food but it will absorb the grease and prevent grease fires.