Environmental conditions sometimes dictate that you need to use grit around your home, for the safety of your family and visitors.

The most natural substance to use to de-ice your path, drive and sidewalks close to home is rock salt (also known as halite), which is available as traditional brown rock salt or cleaned, white rock salt. Both types are suitable for de-icing in your garden areas, although the white variety leaves less residue and mess behind.

Rock salt is safe to use – it won’t pollute your soil and it won’t run off into waterways and cause problems for aquatic life if you use it properly. The key to successful and greener salting is to store your de-icing product and distribute it correctly. Rock salt naturally attracts moisture – in fact, moisture is what activates its de-icing properties; however, you don’t want it to get wet before it’s needed because when it’s damp it clumps, leading to problems when you’re trying to spread it.

In addition, rain can wash away these vital ingredients that make it so effective. Salt bins which are a suitable size for gardens are ideal – they have tough, fitted lids to keep out the elements and out of the reach of small hands. Any hardy plastic container with a lid is suitable, though.

When distributing, you want to use the appropriate amount of rock salt for the ground conditions: too little will be ineffective, while too much risks causing a problem to the environment. By far and away the best way to achieve even and efficient coverage is to use the right equipment.

Spreading salt using a shovel is not only back-breaking work, it doesn’t give even coverage and if your salt has become a little damp, clumping means you might use way too much. The greener – and less strenuous option – is to invest in an affordable push-along spreader.

These two-wheel contraptions are tough and many come with enhanced features like flow regulators and gears which enable you to cover even fairly large areas quickly and thoroughly, without using too much salt.