Sand Blasting Versus Dry Ice Blasting: Which Is Best for Your Job?

Sand Blasting Versus Dry Ice Blasting: Which Is Best for Your Job?

There are many different forms of blast cleaning that can provide a range of finished product, toxicity, waste, and levels of safety. The most common type of blasting that people think of is sandblasting, which uses an abrasive media. It is commonly used in numerous applications, particularly in paint and rust removal of sheet metal applications. Alternatively, dry ice blasting is a non-abrasive media that provides the same qualities without some of the expected leftovers.

To figure out which is best for your job, here are some qualities of both.

How they work
Sandblasting operates by “shooting” sand particles at an extremely high velocity to remove the contaminants on a surface. It tends to work best when the surface needs to have a hardened substance removed, such as paint. Similar to sandpaper, sandblasting relies on friction to disrupt and remove the surface contaminants, but blasting allows the user to get into hard-to-reach places. Dry ice blasting, otherwise known as dry ice cleaning, operates in much of the same manner. Dry ice pellets are shot at a high velocity at the surface, yet the pellets don’t use friction to remove the contaminants and instead disrupt them using extreme temperature.

Surface damage
The object of both methods is to remove the contaminants from the surface being cleaned. However, an abrasive media such as sand presents the risk of damaging the surface by scraping or scruffing it up. Moreover, it shouldn’t be used for tasks dealing with electrical components or equipment that is easily impressionable. Dry ice blasting is non-abrasive, meaning that there is no damage to the surface being cleaned. It can also be used on electrical components and malleable equipment as well because it isn’t water or steam and sublimates upon contact.

Safety concerns
Both processes should be completed in well-ventilated areas but sandblasting tends to have additional safety concerns. All exposed skin should be covered to avoid injury from the high-speed sand particles and users should wear a mask to avoid inhaling the hazardous media. Dry ice blasting is relatively harmless to the user, but since carbon dioxide is 40% heavier than the air, it can change atmospheric conditions is the area is not properly ventilated.

Each method has its benefits and both can come in handy for various jobs. Knowing which is right for your task will depend on the conditions and surface being cleaned. Contact your local dry ice blasting company for more information.

Have a job that requires a blasting touch? Give us a call today.


Your comment will be published within 24 hours.


  • Dennis Sanchez
    September 3, 2019, 7:42 pm REPLY

    I thought it was interesting when you talked about how sandblasting is most effective when trying to remove substances that have become hardened. A lot of people will use water blasting to clean their home, but it seems that sandblasting is more effective. It would be interesting to learn more about other industries that utilize this cleaning method.

  • Trevor Hall
    October 17, 2019, 3:39 pm REPLY

    I never really understood what sandblasting was and how it could be used in my life. It’s interesting that they shoot sand out at extremely high speeds to get the effect they want. My son wants to restore an old vehicle covered in rust so this will help.

  • Braden Bills
    October 24, 2019, 1:30 pm REPLY

    My car got scratched up to the point where the paint looks terrible, so I need to get it fixed. It makes sense that sand blasting would be a good way to remove the contaminants from the surface! Being able to remove the paint from my car would make re-painting it a lot easier.

  • water blasting auckland
    December 26, 2019, 9:15 am REPLY

    I agree that much can be learned and adopted from this common,Thanks for this interesting blog sand blasting versus dry ice blasting which is best for your job!That is so sweet! You give me the motivation to keep blogging!

  • Victoria Addington
    March 14, 2020, 3:31 am REPLY

    My father’s boss is looking for a sandblasting industrial painting contractor. He then asked me if I knew one, but because I don’t know where to find one and what does sandblasting mean, I did research instead. I had no idea that sandblast process should be done in a well-ventilated area for safety concerns. With that, I shall then look for one around Perth.