PORTLAND, Ore. — A weekend storm that packs a punch on its way to Portland this weekend, there's a handful of winter essentials you should have on hand. 

This includes salt for your sidewalk and driveway. 

Those big bags of ice melt salt are flying off the shelves at local hardware stores, so we wanted to Verify: Can you use regular table salt on your sidewalk or driveway?

First of all, we use salt to melt snow and ice because it helps lower the freezing point of water. 

Your table salt is the exact same stuff as the ice melt salt sold by hardware stores. The ice melt salt comes in bigger crystals and is discolored because it hasn't been ground and processed, but it's all made out of the same mineral. 

We can Verify: You can absolutely use table salt instead of specifically-branded ice melt salt. 

Table salt, rock salt, and salt made for ice are the same. The only difference is the size of salt flakes. We wouldn't recommend using all your table salt to melt the ice on your driveway because it'll be much more expensive than buying a bag of $10 ice melt. 

If you have pets, you should be careful not to allow them to ingest either the table salt or the ice melt, and make sure to wipe their paws off once they're back inside. 

And it's pretty important that you clear your sidewalks! If you live in Portland, you are liable if someone gets injured on a sidewalk outside your house.