Dry Ice Blasting: What Is It?

Frozen pellets can clean your vehicle quickly and safely—for a price.

Under carriage of car with half dirty and the other half clean after dry ice blastingDice Restoration Solutions

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When restoring, repairing, or cleaning your vehicle, you want to find the gentlest effective strategies. Dry ice blasting is a type of media blasting substituting pellets of frozen carbon dioxide for commonly used sand or soda. The dry-ice process is much quicker than traditional stripping methods and gentler than sand or soda.

Here's a look at the benefits of dry ice blasting and what it can do for your vehicle.

Dry ice pellets in scooper prior to dry ice blastingDice Restoration Solutions

What is Dry Ice Blasting?

Sandblasting and soda blasting work well because they hammer away at a panel lightly enough not to damage the metal but hard enough to scour away layers of gunk. Unfortunately, they are so effective that they are typically only used when it's time to get down to the bare metal.

Dry ice blasting is entirely non-abrasive. Rather than the impact of the pellets themselves doing the cleaning, their vaporization against the surface does the job.

Dispensing of Dry Ice Pellets for Dry Ice BlastingDice Restoration Solutions

What are the Benefits of Dry Ice Blasting?

Dry ice blasting works as a cleaning agent in areas where abrasive blasting would cause serious damage. The evaporation of frozen carbon dioxide is well-suited for grime removal while preserving the surface it is bonded to because paint, chrome, and trim are not negatively affected by the process.

Vehicle components, such as the chassis or suspension, can be degreased with dry ice blasting. Blasting with dry ice can remove an older undercoating agent (either solid or oil-based) and clean off dirt and filth accumulated over thousands of miles of driving.

Dry ice also has the benefit of being chemical free, which means there are no contaminants to be concerned with, residues to remove, or harsh fumes.

Dry Ice Pellets In-Hand Prior to Dry Ice BlastingDice Restoration Solutions

Is Dry Ice Blasting a DIY Project?

Nothing prevents you from buying dry ice blasting equipment and using it at home. That being said, this equipment is specialized and expensive, and you must source, transport, and store dry ice pellets. From a practical perspective, the most effective way to DIY dry ice blasting is to find a local facility that allows you to use their equipment on your project, wear protective equipment to protect your eyes, ears and skin, typically renting out a garage by the hour.

Professional dry ice blasting is a more affordable, practical solution. Companies will either do the work at their business or travel to your vehicle's location. Pricing can start at around $250 an hour, which is sometimes less expensive (depending on how long it takes to properly clean your vehicle) than renting out a DIY space, but it comes with the benefit of a trained professional who will likely get the job done more quickly and efficiently.

This site is for educational purposes only. The third parties listed are not affiliated with Capital One and are solely responsible for their opinions, products and services. Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information or recommendation listed above. The information presented in this article is believed to be accurate at the time of publication, but is subject to change. The images shown are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product. The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the availability or suitability of any Capital One product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.
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Benjamin Hunting
Benjamin Hunting is a writer and podcast host who contributes to a number of newspapers, automotive magazines, and online publications. More than a decade into his career, he enjoys keeping the shiny side up during track days and always has one too many classic vehicle projects partially disassembled in his garage at any given time. Remember, if it's not leaking, it's probably empty.