How To Keep Snow From Sticking to Your Shovel (7 Easy Tips)


Most of us don’t relish shoveling snow. It’s cold outside, the ground is slippery, and it can get tiring quickly — and sticky snow doesn’t make it easier. So how can you get it to slide off the shovel instead of sticking to it?

Here’s how to keep snow from sticking to your shovel:

  1. Spray with a non-stick cooking oil.
  2. Use WD-40.
  3. Coat the shovel with petroleum jelly.
  4. Spray it with a high quality silicone spray.
  5. Use car wax.
  6. Use paraffin wax.
  7. Leave the shovel outdoors.

When snow sticks to your shovel, it can make shoveling harder than it already is. Working with snow-covered shovels can strain your arm and back muscles, increase your heart rate, and cause your blood pressure to shoot up. Read on for in-depth info on how to keep snow off your shovel. 

1. Spray With a Non-Stick Cooking Oil 

Non-stick cooking spray is an excellent way to keep wet and heavy snow from sticking. All you have to do is spray the snow on both sides of the shovel, covering it completely. Once the oil has created a slick shell on the shovel’s surface, you’re ready to start shoveling snow. 

However, you have to reapply the coating before every shovel. Luckily, cooking spray cans are affordable. Also, if you don’t have cooking oil, furniture polish works just as well. Regardless of the product you choose, make sure it’s oil-based before using it.

2. Use WD-40

WD-40 is another excellent way to keep snow off your shovel. Similar to a non-stick spray like Pam, you should apply WD-40 to both sides of your shovel. Because WD-40 displaces moisture, the snow slides off easily. WD-40 should also be reapplied between shovels.

One more thing: If the tube is attached to your can, remove it. You don’t want a fine spray because you want to cover the entire shovel’s surface.

3. Coat the Shovel With Petroleum Jelly

Petroleum jelly acts as a barrier, making it more difficult for snow to penetrate it. You should apply petroleum jelly while wearing rubber gloves to keep your hands and fingers from becoming slippery. Again, apply petroleum jelly on both sides of the shovel. 

Before shoveling, it’s a good idea to take off the rubber gloves. That way, the shovel won’t accidentally slip from your hands as you shovel.  

4. Spray It With a High-Quality Silicone Spray

Non-stick mower deck spray like Mo-Deck Non Stick Spray (available on Amazon.com) will keep snow from sticking to your shovel. All you have to do is spray the product onto your shovel and let it dry. If you’re shoveling heavy, wet snow, the spray will easily remove it from the shovel.

Fortunately, this spray doesn’t need to be reapplied after every shovel. You can get three or four uses out of it before reapplication. 

Another outdoor mower deck spray you can use is the Gunk Deck Spray (available on Amazon.com). You can also use it to make chutes and the moving parts of a snow-blower non-stick.

5. Use Car Wax

Car wax creates a slick surface, making it ideal for removing wet and sticky snow from your shovel. Compared to the other products listed so far, you’ll need to spend more time applying the wax. However, the upside is that you won’t need to spray every time you use the shovel. 

Here’s how to apply car wax on your snow shovel. 

  1. Apply the polish to the shovel. Apply enough that you’ll be able to polish the entire shovel, but don’t overdo it. If you put on too much, it’ll take forever to dry. 
  2. Get a semi-damp rag and rub in the wax. Make sure you polish all the nooks and crannies. Otherwise, the snow will continue to stick.  
  3. Give the wax time to dry before you start shoveling again.  

One advantage of the car wax method is that a good coating can last an entire snow season. That’s because the wax sticks to the shovel like it would to a car.  

6. Use Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax will also keep snow from sticking to your shovel. Paraffin is usually sold in chunks at craft stores and turns into liquid candle wax when heated. To apply, pour the hot wax over the snow shovel and spread it evenly with a brush. Once the paraffin wax coating cures, the slippery barrier lets snow slide off easily.

7. Leave the Shovel Outdoors

If possible, leave the shovel outdoors. Although this seems counterintuitive, a warm shovel (kept indoors) will melt the snow upon contact. The melted snow turns to ice and sticks to the shovel. That’s why a good ice scraper is a handy tool to have: You can use it in place of a shovel if you need to scrape rather than lift snow.

How To Avoid Hurting Your Back While Shoveling 

As I said, snow shoveling can be hard on your muscles. Most of the work happens in your arms and back, so use techniques to reduce the stress on your spine. However, if you have a history of heart disease, lower back problems, or a shoulder or knee injury, you should find someone else to shovel the snow. Otherwise, follow the steps below.

  1. Don’t reach too far as you shovel the snow. The farther your arms are extended as you lift, the heavier the snow becomes, putting additional strain on your lower back.
  2. Picture the snow shovel as a heavy box you need to lift. In other words, use your hips and knees to take some of the stress from your back.
  3. Keep your spine neutral, not rounded. Your lower back may be flat or have a slight arch, so try to keep it in its natural arch.  
  4. Don’t hold your breath. Otherwise, you’ll feel lightheaded or develop a headache.
  5. Take a layered approach. Now that the snow is not sticking to the shovel, move it in layers.

Bottom Line

Researchers looked at data of snow injuries and deaths and determined that an average of 100 people die from shoveling snow. The more you can do to make the job easier, the less likely you will injure yourself. Use one of the above-mentioned methods to keep the snow from sticking to the shovel and make the job easier on yourself.

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