Safety Gear


With a number of uses beyond food preservation and special effects, dry ice has emerged as a versatile tool in industrial and commercial applications, especially when cleaning sensitive equipment. Its unique properties, such as extreme cold temperature and rapid sublimation, make it an invaluable resource. Proper handling is crucial due to the potential dangers associated with its use. 

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, and when CO2 is subjected to extremely low temperatures and high pressures, it undergoes a process called sublimation, transforming directly from a solid to a gas without passing through the liquid phase. This unique characteristic is what makes dry ice so captivating and dangerous.

The Hazards of Low Temperature

The primary reason dry ice is dangerous to touch lies in its remarkably low temperature. While regular ice melts at 0°C (32°F), dry ice is much colder, boasting a chilling temperature of around -78.5°C (-109.3°F). This extreme cold can cause almost immediate frostbite or cold burn if it comes into direct contact with the skin. To put it into perspective, when you touch dry ice without proper protection, you’re essentially exposing your skin to temperatures colder than the coldest parts of Antarctica!

The Science of Frostbite

Frostbite occurs when the cold temperature of an object causes the water in your skin cells to freeze, damaging the tissues and cells. When dry ice comes into contact with your skin, it saps the heat from your body at an alarming rate. The rapid heat transfer causes the moisture in your skin to freeze, leading to frostbite. This is why it’s crucial to avoid direct contact with dry ice.

Invisible Threat: The Fog of Carbon Dioxide

The rapid sublimation of dry ice creates a cloud of carbon dioxide gas around the solid pellet. When handled without proper protection, the released carbon dioxide gas can displace oxygen in the surrounding environment. This can lead to breathing difficulties, dizziness, and even unconsciousness if the concentration of carbon dioxide becomes high enough. It’s crucial to handle dry ice in well-ventilated areas and to avoid confined spaces where gas buildup could occur.

Safe Handling of Dry Ice

  1. Protective Gear: When handling dry ice, individuals should wear insulated gloves that provide protection against extreme cold temperatures. Safety goggles or a face shield are also recommended to shield the eyes from potential splatters or releases of carbon dioxide gas. This helps prevent direct contact with your skin and reduces the risk of frostbite.
  2. Ventilation: Always work in well-ventilated areas to prevent the buildup of carbon dioxide gas. Avoid confined spaces where proper ventilation might be limited.
  3. Storage: When storing dry ice, do so in a well-ventilated cooler. Avoid sealing the container too tightly to allow any gas to escape.
  4. Transportation: If you need to transport dry ice, keep it in a well-insulated container to slow down the sublimation process. Place the container in a well-ventilated area of your vehicle.
  5. Awareness: Educate those around you about the potential dangers of dry ice. Ensure that everyone involved in handling dry ice understands the safety measures required.

With over 30 years of industry experience, General Abrasives has established itself as a trusted leader in providing dry ice blasting solutions. As pioneers in the field, we recognize the paramount importance of adhering to proper safety protocols when it comes to handling dry ice. Our team of experts is not only well-versed in the technical aspects of dry ice cleaning but is also dedicated to ensuring the safety of our clients, their personnel, and the environment. Don’t risk the dangers of improper dry ice handling – reach out to us today and discover how our proven methods can transform your cleaning processes.