Dry Ice Blasting 101

What You'll Need
Dry ice
Face mask

Dry ice blasting refers to a cleaning process which involves dry ice. Remember that dry ice is actually carbon dioxide in its solid state. Dry ice forms when carbon dioxide gas is pressurized and then expanded rapidly.

People call it dry ice because when you heat this substance, it never becomes a liquid, but it turns straight from its solid state into its gas form. Keep in mind that dry ice blasting is somewhat similar to sandblasting or soda blasting.

Step 1 – Wearing Protective Clothing

Always put on appropriate protective clothing before you start the blasting job. Make sure that the clothing includes a face mask, earplugs and gloves. Remember that you need the earplugs because dry ice blasting is very noisy, so the earplugs will reduce the noise level and protect your ears and prevents damage to your ear drums. The gloves should be thermal and they will protect your hands from the very low temperatures of dry ice, whereas the mask will act as a shield over your face.

Step 2 – Blasting with Dry Ice

If you want to clean something through dry ice blasting, you will need a pressurized air stream and some dry ice shavings or pellets. Remove the dirt from the surface by aiming the air stream towards it. The dry ice will eventually dissolve in the atmosphere after the blasting process. In some cases, dry ice blasting is much better than glass bead blasting or sandblasting. There are two principal types of equipment for dry ice blasting: a system with a single hose and another one with two hoses.

Keep in mind that temperature plays an important role in the cleaning process of dry ice blasting as well. There should be a variation in temperature between the outer layer of dirt and the layers underneath so that the air stream will remove the dirt easily.

Step 3 – Using Dry Ice Blasting

People nowadays use dry ice blasting a lot within the food industry. They utilize dry ice blasting in order to clean their food processing equipment in such places as bakeries and confectioneries. This is because dry ice blasting is able to disinfect the equipment from such bacteria as salmonella and listeria monocytogenes.

Dry ice blasting is very useful in these cases because it leaves no residue behind. Apart from this, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends the use of dry ice blasting as a good alternative for several solvent-based cleaning methods. You need to remember that even though carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, dry ice blasting does not generate greenhouse gases because the blasting does not burn the carbon dioxide.

Step 4 – Learning the Disadvantages

You should keep in mind the disadvantages of dry ice blasting and follow certain safety procedures for the sake of your own health. Carbon dioxide can be very dangerous if you keep it in a confined space, therefore make sure that you are working in a well-ventilated place when you are sand blasting. This is because if carbon dioxide accumulates into an enclosed area, it can eventually lead to asphyxiation.