What is Dry Ice Cleaning and Why Is It Used?

Dry ice cleaning, or dry ice blasting is sometimes known, is an alternative to wet power washing that has a lot of benefits. Here’s what you need to know about this particular cleaning solution.

What Is Dry Ice?

Dry ice is simply CO2 in cold, iced form. In order to stay in this frozen form, CO2 must remain at temperatures of at least -109 degrees Fahrenheit. The first dry ice technology patent was taken out in 1947. Carbon dioxide itself is safe to use and is generally considered harmless. It is far heavier than the air we breathe. As it is exposed to room temperatures, dry ice will instantly change from a solid to a gas. Unlike water, it does not become a liquid anywhere between the frozen solid and gaseous state.

What is Dry Ice Cleaning?

The frozen CO2 used for cleaning is accelerated within a pressurized air stream. This stream of pressured CO2 pellets is then blasted onto the surface that needs to be cleaned. The speeds of this blasting can reach supersonic levels, and the ice blasting process uses a compression pressure of 80 to 90 PSI in order to effectively scour away contaminants.

Why Use Dry Ice Cleaning?

There are several great benefits to dry ice cleaning.

  1. All around usefulness.Ice blasting solutions are capable of removing all of the three types contaminants and hazards that make something unsafe: chemical, biological, and physical. Chemical contaminants could include insecticides or cleaning solutions. Physical contaminants include hair or dirt. Biological contaminants would include viruses or bacteria.
  2. Dry ice blasting is environmentally sound. Dry ice blasting is ecologically safe because CO2 is a natural gas found in our atmosphere. Once the dry ice cleaning has been accomplished, the CO2 simply dissipates back into the atmosphere.
  3. Dry ice blasting is safe for delicate instruments.Dry ice does not leave behind any residue or liquid. Mold is never an issue after dry ice cleaning, unlike cleaning with water. Unlike cleaning with water or other material, there is no possibility of a secondary contaminant with dry ice cleaning. Finally, while other types of cleaning, such as plastic bead blasting, can sometimes damage the surface of the instrument being cleaned, this never happens with dry ice cleaning.
  4. Dry ice cleaning is fast and efficient. Medical instruments, for example, can reportedly be cleaned 75% faster using CO2 cleaning services than by any other method.
  5. Dry ice cleaning can be accomplished in place. With other cleaning methods, it can be necessary to disassemble the item before cleaning and then reassemble it again after. Dry ice blasting can be done without disassembling any equipment thus reducing downtime.

What is Dry Ice Cleaning Used For?

Because dry ice cleaning is fast, safe, cost-efficient, and simple, it is widely used across industries. It is used to clean electrical parts, such as electrical boxes and circuit breakers. It is used in the medical industry to clean delicate machinery and instruments that would be damaged by any other method. It can also be used in manufacturing to clean industrial ovens, printing presses, sheeting equipment, and plastic molds.

In the power industry, dry ice cleaning is frequently utilized for cleaning bushings, turbines, rotors, and transformers. Dry ice blasting is also popular in the restoration industry for carefully cleaning delicate historic restoration project items or restoring goods after a fire or mold incident. In real estate, dry ice blasting can be used to clean parking garages, escalators, ceilings, and stairwells without leaving behind residue or moisture that can encourage mold growth.

Dry ice cleaning is safe for both operators and equipment, is efficient and fast, and is environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible. Dry ice blasting is one of the best cleaning methods currently available to us across industries and manufacturing.

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