Can You Salt A Gravel Driveway?

Many people believe that they need to salt their gravel driveway in the winter, but this is actually not the case. Salting a gravel driveway can actually do more harm than good and can cause long term damage to your driveway.

In this blog post, we will discuss why you should not salt your gravel driveway and what you can do instead to keep it safe and clean all winter long.

Why You Shouldn’t Salt a Gravel Driveway?

Why You Shouldn’t Salt a Gravel Driveway

One of the main reasons why you should not salt your gravel driveway is because it can cause the gravel to break down over time. The salt will act as an abrasive on the gravel and will cause it to slowly erode away. 

In addition, the salt can also cause the gravel to become discolored and can even kill plants that are growing nearby. If you live in an area where it gets very cold in the winter, the salt can also freeze and thaw which will damage the concrete or asphalt underneath the gravel. 

Instead of salting your gravel driveway, there are a few things that you can do to keep it safe and clean during the winter months. 

One thing that you can do is to shovel any snow that falls on your driveway right away. This will help to prevent any ice from forming on top of the gravel. 

Another thing that you can do is to spread sand on top of your driveway. The sand will help to provide traction so that vehicles do not slip and slide when they are driving on your driveway. 

What Does Salt Do to a Gravel Driveway?

For those who live in states that are prone to winter weather, gravel driveways are a common sight. While gravel driveways are a less expensive alternative to concrete or asphalt, they require more maintenance. One of the main concerns with gravel driveways is the effects of salt on the gravel. 

Salt can cause the gravel to shift and move, leading to uneven patches in the driveway. In addition, salt can also cause the gravel to become brittle and break down over time. 

To prevent these negative effects, it’s important to clear snow and ice from your driveway as soon as possible. If you must use salt, be sure to use it sparingly and only in areas where absolutely necessary. In addition, be sure to sweep up any excess salt that doesn’t get melting into the ice or snow. 

What is the Best Way to Remove Snow from a Gravel Driveway?

If you have ever shoveled snow off of a gravel driveway, you know it can be difficult—and frustrating. The gravel gets in the way and makes the process much slower than if you were shoveling a concrete or asphalt driveway.

That said, you shouldn’t resort to salt. Not only will it not remove the snow, but it can have detrimental effects, as you already heard. 

Instead, try these techniques and check out this helpful video for even more ideas:


The first option, and likely the most common, is to simply shovel the snow off of your gravel driveway. This is effective but can be time-consuming, especially if you have a large driveway.

Make sure to shovel in the direction of the grain of the gravel so that you do not damage the driveway. It is also important to use a plastic shovel instead of a metal one so that you do not scratch or damage the gravel.

Snow Blower 

A snow blower is another option for removing snow from your gravel driveway. This method is faster than shoveling but can be more expensive, as you need to purchase or rent a snow blower.

Snow blowers also require gasoline or electricity to operate, so make sure you have enough fuel or power to last through the job. When using a snow blower on gravel, go slowly and be careful not to blow too much at once so that you do not create drifts. 

Heated Driveway 

Another option is to install a radiant heating system beneath your gravel driveway. This system will melt the snow and ice as it falls, meaning that you will never have to shovel or plow again!

Radiant heating systems are expensive to install but can save you time and money in the long run. Be sure to consult with a professional before installation to ensure it is done correctly. 

De-Icing Agents 

The final option is to use a de-icing agent on your gravel driveway before it snows. De-icing agents lower the freezing point of water, which means that any snow or ice that falls will immediately start melting.

You can find de-icing agents at most hardware stores; just make sure to select one that is safe for use on gravel driveways. 

Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging—using too much de-icing agent can actually create slippery conditions and cause accidents. Too little de-icing agent will not be effective in melting the ice and snow.

Alternatives to Salt for a Gravel Driveway

Winter weather can be tough on your gravel driveway. Between the snow, ice, and mud, it can be hard to keep it looking clean and presentable. One way to combat the winter weather is to use salt on your gravel driveway.

However, as we explained above, salt can damage the gravel and kill vegetation. If you’re looking for an alternative to salt, here are 4 options.


Sand is a great alternative to salt because it provides traction without damaging the gravel. Sand is also environmentally friendly and won’t kill vegetation like salt will. The only downside of sand is that it needs to be reapplied frequently since it doesn’t last as long as salt does.

Kitty Litter

Kitty litter can also be used as an alternative to salt. It provides good traction and won’t damage the gravel or kill vegetation. The main downside of kitty litter is that it tracks into your home on your shoes.


Mulch is another good alternative because it provides traction without damaging the gravel or killing vegetation. Mulch also has the added benefit of adding nutrients to the soil as it breaks down over time. The only downside of mulch is that it needs to be reapplied frequently since it doesn’t last as long as salt does. 

Ice Melt

Ice melt is a chemical that you can apply to your gravel driveway that will melt the ice without damaging the gravel or killing vegetation.

The downside of ice melt is that it can be harmful if ingested by pets or children, so you’ll need to take care when applying it and make sure there’s no chance of them coming into contact with it. 

Final Thoughts

In general, it is best to avoid salting your gravel driveway in the wintertime. The salt can cause long term damage to your driveway and can also kill plants that are growing nearby.

Instead, try shoveling any snow that falls on your driveway right away and spreading sand on top of the icy areas. This will help to provide traction and prevent any accidents from occurring.

3 thoughts on “Can You Salt A Gravel Driveway?”

    • Unlike salt, sand won’t melt the snow or the ice. It will, however, add some traction to the slippery ground so that you and any vehicles can get about safely. This is a great option for gravel driveways, which can be damaged by the salt.


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