Brine solution on the roadways has been around for many years, and is now the pre-treatment routine of choice in Central New York. Can you make your own brine solution for use at home? And more importantly, should you?

Why did all the local municipalities start using brine? It must be because it is effective, easier on the environment, and most of all less expensive. After all, it is just salt water, right? Before you go investing in equipment, let's take a look at some of the advice out there.

There are a many "recipes" that consider the proper type of salt and the correct mix of salt and water. Plus, there are a couple items you'll need to mix and apply the solution. This is the easiest recipe we found - a bucket, a garden sprayer, a big spoon, salt and hot water.

morton salt
Morton Salt via Amazon

Taking a look on Amazon, you can get a 25 pound back of Morton Table Salt for about $20. There are probably cheaper options out there, so shop around if you're committed to making your own brine.

Chapin Garden Sprayer
Chapin via Amazon

Next you have to pick a garden sprayer. These come in different sizes - we feel a 2 gallon sprayer should work for most sidewalks and driveways. This New York State manufactured brand sells for under $20 on Amazon and looks to be a good option.

Now onto the mix. Fill the bucket with 2 gallons of hot water. Then add 24 ounces of salt per gallon of water and stir. Once all the salt has dissolved, you can experiment with adding more. There is no exact rule of how much salt to use, but if the salt remains solid and stops dissolving, you have used too much. If you use too little, the brine will not be as effective.

Just like the brine trucks on the road, this solution is meant to pre-treat driveways and sidewalks and will help prevent snow and ice from sticking to the concrete. It will not stop the snow and ice from landing on your driveway, but it should make it easier to clean up. Fill your sprayer with the solution and spray your surfaces before the storm. There is no need to cover every inch of your concrete. Just like the brine streaks you see on the roads, all you have to do is spray even streaks of the solution on your driveway.

Salt Trucks
Julie Denesha/Getty Images

Should you try this at home? Short answer - probably not. Getting the salt-water ratio right is not so easy and you'll probably end up wasting a lot of salt trying to figure it out. And filling the garden sprayer with salt water can't be good in the long run. Be prepared to clean it regularly and thoroughly or the salt will corrode the spray nozzle and other parts. You probably won't save any money, and you'll end up buying regular rock salt or ice melt to finish the job that the brine can't handle. While this is an environmentally friendly idea, it's just not cost effective on a household level.


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