Does Kitty Litter Melt Ice? Why Is It Used On Driveways? 

During the winter, when there’s no sand or salt, kitty litter is often the alternative used on icy driveways and paths. Why however is kitty litter used on footpaths, driveways and roads, and does it actually melt ice?

Kitty litter does NOT melt ice as it is not a deicer like salt. Instead, it is good for traction and makes ice safer to walk on, decreasing the chances of slipping. Out of all of the kitty litters, silica gel or non-clumping clay kitty litter creates the best traction on ice.

Here, we discuss in detail whether kitty litter melts ice and why it’s commonly used on icy driveways and pavements. 

Does Kitty Litter Melt Ice?

No, kitty litter does not melt ice as it isn’t a deicer. Instead, kitty litter has a coarse texture similar to sand that allows it to help with traction and improve grip.

Due to its higher cost compared to sand kitty litter is generally only used on smaller areas like pathways, porches and driveways. It's rarely spread over roads.

Kitty litter is usually only a good option when sand and salt isn’t available or when it’s too cold for salt to work. 

What Melts Ice Faster – Kitty Litter or Salt?

There’s no comparing the two as they’re both very different – one offers traction and the other melts ice.

Salt definitely melts ice faster than kitty litter as kitty litter isn’t a deicer. Since salt is a deicer, it’s able to reduce the melting point of water and prevent ice from forming.

Kitty litter on the other hand, is used for traction purposes. Since it has a coarse texture, it’s able to help with improving overall grip and traction. This is very similar to how sand is used to add traction onto ice.

If you’d like to melt ice but don’t want to use salt, there are other ways for you to do so.

Check out our list of the best alternatives to salt for melting ice.

Why Do You Put Kitty Litter On Your Driveway?

Since kitty litter does not melt ice, you might be wondering why individuals put kitty litter on their driveway. What is the reason behind this?

Here are a few reasons why individuals you’d put kitty litter on your driveway: 

  1. The main reason is that kitty litter has a texture that’s similar to sand, making it great for traction.
  2. When sand or salt runs out during the peak of winter, kitty litter is an exceptionally great alternative.
  3. Kitty litter is eco-friendly and it’s also pet-friendly, affordable, doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients and is both easy to apply and bring around with you.
  4. Kitty litter is easy enough to take with you while you’re on the go. With kitty litter in your car trunk, it can help with driving traction in snowy and icy conditions.
  5. When temperatures are too frigid and salt wouldn’t work, kitty litter is a great option – especially when you can’t find any sand. 

How Do You Apply Kitty Litter To Ice?

There are a few ways to apply kitty litter to ice: 

  1. You can apply it to your driveway or roads, just make sure you’ve cleared away all the snow in the area before applying cat litter evenly over the ice in a sweeping motion.
  2. If your car gets stuck on a snowy or icy patch, you can also sprinkle cat litter around the tires. The granular nature of the cat litter will provide more grip for the tires so you’ll be on your way in no time at all.
  3. If you’ve also got ice or frost forming on the windshield or windows of your car, you can reduce moisture within the car with kitty litter.

How you’d go about doing this is you’d simply load a sock up with kitty litter, place it on the windshield when you’re parking your car and you’ll be good to go. Other than reducing ice or frost from forming, it can also help with reducing fog. 

Is Kitty Litter Good For Icy Sidewalks? 

Kitty litter is great for sidewalks if you don’t have ice melt or sand. The reason why it's good is because it helps with providing traction for vehicles, and also for pedestrians. It also works instantly and can help with preventing slipping.

While kitty litter does work, it does create more mess than sand. You’ll also need to be careful with which kitty litter you use as clumping kitty litter will bind together into a mass when it becomes wet, causing a slippery mess.

If you’re using kitty litter, opt for the natural, non-clumping cat litters such as silica gel kitty litter that will get the job done without causing a mess. Otherwise, if you can it’s always best to use sand on icy roads instead. 

What Kitty Litter Is Best For Icy Sidewalks? 

They best type of kitty litter for ice is either silica gel kitty litter or non-clumping clay kitty litter.

Silica gel kitty litter is a really good option as it has a texture that’s similar to sand and provides great traction.

Most importantly, silica gel kitty litter won’t cause a mess and turn into sludge as it adsorbs water instead of absorbing it. Kitty litter isn't toxic either which makes it pet and plant friendly.

Another kitty litter you can consider using is natural non-clumping clay kitty litter. Like silica gel kitty litter, it has a texture that’s great for traction and is also both eco-friendly and inexpensive.

Perhaps the downside, however, is that it does produce dust and has the potential to turn into sludge.

As a side note, you should avoid walnut kitty litter at all costs for icy sidewalks. Not only does it break easily as it has a fragile texture, but it also produces a large amount of dust and can cause a great deal of mess since it naturally clumps when it absorbs water. 


Does kitty litter melt ice: 

  • No, it doesn’t as it isn’t a deicer. 
  • Instead, kitty litter has a similar texture to sand that makes it good for traction. 
  • Out of all of the kitty litters, silica gel kitty litter is best for traction. 

Why is it used on icy driveways: 

  • It’s great for traction. 
  • It’s eco-friendly, pet-friendly, easy to apply and inexpensive. 
  • It’s easy to take with you while you’re on the go.
  • It’s a great alternative for when sand and salt aren’t available.