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No salt, no problem: Alternatives to sidewalk salt

With stores across the metro short on ice melt and sidewalk salt, here are some other products you can use to avoid slipping outside your home.

MINNEAPOLIS — If you've tried to buy sidewalk salt this week only to find the store is out, you're not alone.

Hardware stores across the metro are running low thanks to the recent cold spell.

The bad news, though - sidewalk salt is basically useless once the weather dips below zero degrees, according to MnDOT. 

RELATED: WEATHER: Snowy Thursday

So, if you can't find any salt, or it's too cold, what are some other products you can use? 

1. Sand

Sand absorbs sunlight to melt ice and helps with traction, according to Consumer Reports. The City of Minneapolis is giving free sand to residents for sidewalks this week. You're limited to a 5-gallon bucket, and you have to bring your own bucket. 

You can get sand 24 hours a day at the following locations:

  • 6036 Harriet Ave S
  • 1809 Washington St. NE
  • East 27th St. 
  • 2710 Pacific St.

2. Kitty litter

Kitty litter won't help melt the ice, but it does provide traction.

3. Alfalfa meal

If you're looking for a natural alternative, look no further. Alfalfa meal is actually a highly effective ice-melting substance, according to Farmers' Almanac. Because of its texture, it also provides traction. 

4. Vinegar

According to Mr. Pavement, vinegar will help melt snow and ice, but you might need to apply it a few times.

5. Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds are good for traction due to their texture. Grounds also absorb sunlight, according to Mr. Pavement, which helps to melt snow and ice. 

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