Life Hacks

Snowed In After the Polar Vortex? This Hack Helps You Shovel With Half the Effort and Less Pain

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My family and I have been hit hard with snow this winter. We frequently trek outside with our shovels, clearing out the driveway just in time for the next snowstorm to hit. And while it’s a great workout, I have a hard time shoveling without back pain. Bending my knees and using a shovel with a curved handle helps, but not enough. That’s why I was so intrigued when I heard about spraying your shovel with nonstick cooking spray or WD-40 to make shoveling easier.  

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Apparently, spritzing the actual shovel (not the handle!) with nonstick cooking spray creates a slick surface, that helps snow slide right off. This prevents snow from caking and weighing down your shovel. It also saves you from excessive twisting, which can cause back and wrist pain.  

Does spraying your snow shovel with a nonstick coating work?  

I decided to test out this trick with PAM Cooking Spray (Buy from Walmart, $3.78) and WD-40 (Buy from Walmart, $2.97). I coated one shovel with the cooking spray, and one shovel with WD-40. Then, I got to work! 

I was pleased to see that the cooking spray helped the snow slide off the shovel easily. After a couple minutes of shoveling, however, I had to reapply. The shovel coated with WD-40 lasted longer, and I re-applied only once. The snow was somewhat wet and heavy, which shortened the length of time that both coatings lasted. The coatings might have lasted longer with dryer, lightweight snow.  

Overall, both sprays worked relatively well and reduced my efforts when tossing the snow off the shovel. Neither spray helped much when I was scooping the snow up, of course. It was hard to tell whether I had less back pain, because my pain and soreness usually show up the next day. However, I noticed that I was twisting less when I dropped the snow in a pile on the side of the driveway.  

I personally don’t plan on using these sprays too often, because I don’t want to add too much of these ingredients into the outdoor environment. Still, I think they could certainly help anyone looking to reduce their level of effort while shoveling! (And if you’re over 55, put down the shovel and get someone else to help you! The dangers far outweigh the benefits.)  

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