Dry Ice FAQs

General FAQs:

What is dry ice made of?

Dry ice is made from carbon dioxide. During dry ice manufacturing operations, industry professionals subject the gas to high pressures and extremely low temperatures (109° F), forcing it to condense into its liquid form. They then inject the liquid CO2 into a block press or pelletizer, which forms it into solid blocks.

Where can I buy dry ice?

Dry ice is available in many grocery and general merchandise stores. While larger chains, such as Costco and Walmart, are likely to carry it, some smaller chains may not have it in stock. Turning to a dry ice supplier provides a direct and reliable source of dry ice.

How much dry ice do I need?

The amount of dry ice needed for an application depends on many factors, including product weight, packaging, and length of use. These considerations also vary based on the exact application.

For example, the quantity needed for keeping things fresh vs. keeping things frozen is different. Partnering with a dry ice specialist can help you determine how much dry ice is required for a particular application.

How much does dry ice cost?

Dry ice is generally priced by weight, but the exact cost varies from one retailer to the next. On average, the price ranges between $1.00 to $3.00 per pound. Some retailers also offer discounts on bulk purchases.

How long does dry ice last?

Several factors—such as packaging, air pressure, outside temperature, and thickness of insulation—affect how long dry ice lasts, making the exact length of time difficult to estimate.

Speaking with a dry ice expert, such as those at CryoCarb, can help you determine how long your dry ice will last.

What are some of the common applications of dry ice?

Dry ice finds use in a wide range of retail and commercial applications. Common use cases include:

Shipment, Storage, and Disposal FAQs:

How is dry ice shipped?

Dry ice comes in several different forms. Depending on the form requested, it may be packaged and shipped in Styrofoam coolers, ice chests ranging in size from picnic coolers to 1500 pound containers. Retail dry ice is usually put in a small, disposable Styrofoam container.

At CryoCarb, we provide pellets (in 3mm and 16mm sizes) and 5 pound blocks. Commercial shipping containers range from 200 pounds to 1,500 pounds.

How do I store dry ice?

When exposed to elevated ambient temperatures, dry ice sublimates into vapor. While the process cannot be stopped entirely, keeping the dry ice inside of an insulated cooler with minimal empty space stored in a cold area helps to slow it. Purchasing the dry ice as close to when needed as possible also helps minimize the amount lost before use. Dry ice should not be stored in a fridge or freezer as the low temperature of the material can force the appliance to turn off and/or the buildup of carbon dioxide can force it open.

How do I dispose of dry ice?

When fully sublimated, dry ice does not leave behind any waste material that requires disposal. Simply leaving the dry ice in the cooler in a ventilated area allows it to return to gaseous form safely. It should never be disposed of down the drain as it may freeze pipes.

Safety FAQs:

Can I use dry ice in my food and drinks?

Dry ice is safe to use as a chilling agent for food and drinks. However, it should never be consumed as doing so can cause severe medical issues such as internal frostbite.

What are some of the risks of using dry ice?

Dry ice poses serious health and safety risks. For example:

  • Coming into direct skin contact with dry ice can cause immediate frostbite
  • Ingesting dry ice can cause internal tissue damage from frostbite or ruptures due to carbon dioxide buildup
  • Inhaling large quantities of the carbon dioxide emitted due to sublimation can lead to asphyxiation

How do I use dry ice safely?

When using dry ice, it is necessary to keep the following in mind to avoid the above risks:

  • Use gloves, tongs, and other safety equipment when handling dry ice to prevent direct skin contact
  • Be aware of dry ice in consumable goods and limit its use when imbibing alcoholic beverages
  • Ensure good air circulation and ventilation to reduce carbon dioxide buildup within an area

Commercial and Retail Dry Ice Solutions From CryoCarb

At CryoCarb, we are the leading manufacturer and supplier of dry ice for the southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois areas. Our dry ice finds use in a wide range of commercial and retail applications across a diverse set of industries.

In addition to our dry ice product offerings, we also provide dry ice blasting machine rentals. These machines serve as a non-abrasive cleaning solution for common contaminants—such as mold, glue, paint, and oil and grease—that is effective, efficient, and environmentally friendly.

If you have additional questions or concerns about dry ice or are interested in partnering with us for your dry ice needs, call us at (888) 254-5931 or contact us today.

Dry Ice Blasting Compared to Other Methods

There are a variety of other commercial cleaning methods on the market, but dry ice blasting is superior due to its non-abrasive and chemical-free nature. Below is a summary comparison of dry ice blasting compared to other cleaning methods.

Abrasive Blasting vs. Dry Ice Blasting

Dry ice blasting is highly effective even on hard-to-remove waste, such as thick grease and carbonized material. Sand and other abrasives can be used to remove thick contaminants as well, but may also cause damage to the surface. Dry ice will not scratch or abrade the surface of the material being cleaned.

Dry ice blasting is also safer and cleaner than abrasive blasting, which leaves dust and abrasive particles in the air and on the ground of the surrounding area. Dry ice will sublimate into the surrounding environment, while abrasives leave waste material that must be cleaned up.

Pressure and Steam Washing vs. Dry Ice Blasting

Water-based cleaning methods, such as pressure washing and steam blasting are widely used for commercial cleaning. However, these methods require additional time commitments for setup and drying.

They are also limited to surfaces without exposed electronics, plaster/drywall, wood, and other surfaces that may absorb moisture and facilitate mold and mildew growth.

Unlike water and steam, dry ice is non-conductive, so it can be used to clean electrical equipment without risk of electrical damage or shorts. Dry ice blasting also requires no additional time for drying.

Chemicals and Solvents vs. Dry Ice Blasting

When compared with commonly used chemicals and solvents, dry ice blasting is a superior cleaning method. Unlike cleaning solutions, dry ice blasting is non-toxic and does not produce secondary waste. Overall, this makes it a safer and more environmentally-friendly cleaning option.

In addition, the CO2 used to make dry ice pellets is typically captured as a byproduct of other industrial activities and repurposed. Dry ice blasting is ultimately a carbon-neutral process, as it is not creating additional CO2 or releasing it into the environment.

Contact Us