How cooking spray and socks can make shoveling snow easier

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer

If done incorrectly, shoveling snow can lead to injury and even death.

Not only is shoveling snow a lot of work, but about 100 people in the United States die every winter while shoveling.

Changing the way you shovel can make your cleanup much easier, quicker and save you from a back ache. Below are several hacks for shoveling your sidewalk and driveway correctly and efficiently.

Virgel Mahoro

Virgel Mahoro uses a shovel to remove a four-foot high snow drift in his driveway in Providence, Rhode Island. (AP Photo/Stew Milne)

Simple things from socks to cooking spray could make a huge difference.

Make shoveling more comfortable

Your equipment can make a huge difference in how easily you can move snow as well as how tough it is on your back and muscles.

There are several ice shovel hand attachments on the market that allow you to attach and remove handles in a spot of your choice to get a better hand position.

Some shovels come with more than one handle.

The G4 shovel from Garant has three handles. One for pushing snow and two for lifting. Also, this sort of ice shovel has a foot rest to give you extra power to break up packed snow or ice.

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"What is awesome about this product is that it's a multi-functional and ergonomic shovel. It allows to scratch, push, lift the snow. It also helps to shovel in a safe way," said Garant marketing specialist Christine Rivest.

Rivest said everything is there to make the job easier.

Coat your shovel with cooking spray, oil or wax

Removing stuck snow on your shovel can take a lot of extra time.

To avoid the extra hassle, spray your shovel with cooking spray, spread vegetable oil or coat it in wax. The spray or oil will act as a lubricant, preventing the snow from sticking to the shovel.

If the snow begins to stick to the shovel, it is time to reapply the spray or oil. It is best to apply it before every use.

Cover your boots with socks

Some say putting socks over your boots helps with traction while shoveling snow.

According to a New Zealand study, socks over shoes surpass shoes over socks for walking on slippery snow or ice.

"Wearing socks over shoes appears to be an effective and inexpensive method to reduce the likelihood of slipping on icy footpaths," the study said.

It might also keep your feet warmer.

Make a snowball

For this hack to work the snow has to be the perfect consistency. The snow needs to stick, so wet and slushy snow will not work.

If the snow will stick, take a ball of snow and roll it like you would for a snowman. Keep rolling the snowball around your sidewalk or driveway.

If the ball gets too large and heavy to roll, start the process over again.

Use a leaf blower

To tackle snow with a leaf blower, you will need to use the most powerful blower you can find.

Depending on the power of your leaf blower, it should be able to push aside snow that it no more than 1 inch thick.

Another important thing to keep in mind when trying to remove snow with a leaf blower is that the leaf blower won’t perform well against wet snow.

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Also, do not use an electric leaf blower to blow snow. If moisture gets into the motor the machine could shock you.

Put a tarp over sidewalks

To avoid shoveling altogether, lay down tarp to easily pick up and remove after snowfall.

Spread your tarp or plastic sheet over your sidewalk, driveway or even vehicle.

Using smaller pieces of tarp might be best if you’re expecting a lot of snow, since smaller sections are easier to move without much effort.

Make sure to add rope, twine or string to create handles that will help you move the tarp when it’s time.

If the conditions are windy, find something to weigh down the tarp so it doesn’t blow away.

Melt the snow

If you are like Judy Ross, the woman who went viral for being fed up of shoveling snow, you can buy a heated mat for your driveway, sidewalk or stairs.

The heating element can either be tubes of heated water or electric cables.

For more safety and preparedness tips, visit

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