Dry Ice Uses

Dry ice can be useful for many situations. Below is a list of some dry ice uses that can help you in your day to day life, emergencies, or to have some fun.


Temperature Sensitive Product Distribution

To get the “freshest” sushi, fresh-caught fish are flash frozen to very cold temperatures using dry ice. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration requires that fish to be eaten raw be frozen first, to kill parasites. Only tuna is exempt, but seafood experts believe flash freezing tuna to 70 degrees below zero immediately upon catching it, preserves the flavor best. In fact, leading sushi chefs prefer fish frozen and kept at 70 below, rather than the commercial 10 below standard. They believe the fresh flavor is preserved better at 70 below.

The super-cold freezing method was developed about 15 years ago by Japanese fishermen, who wanted to preserve their catch on long fishing trips. It takes about a day and a half to completely freeze a 500-pound tuna using dry ice and liquid nitrogen. The frozen fish then can be kept for as long as two years. It is then sawed into pieces that are thawed in warm water just before serving. Bon appetit!


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Dry Ice Blast Cleaning

Dry ice blasting offers a practical and affordable alternative to traditional cleaning methods such as sand or water blasting. Dry ice blasting is an environmentally friendly way of cleaning machines and more.

We manufacture high-density dry ice pellets and dry ice blocks for blasting. We offer dry ice blasting machine sales, machine rentals, lease-to-own options, and dry ice blasting contract cleaning services, as well as specialized dry ice pellets to go with all the machines we sell and lease.

Dry ice blasting, also known as dry ice cleaning, dry ice blast cleaning, CO2 blasting, cryogenic blasting or cryogenic cleaning, is a tried and true method of dry cleaning. Dry ice blasting circumvents costly and hazardous chemicals. By using specially-designed dry ice blasting machines in combination with high density [HD] dry ice pellets, dry ice blasting can cut down on your cleaning time by hours or days.


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Refrigeration During Power Outages

No Electricity? No Freezer? Whether it’s a summer windstorm or winter ice storm, what do you do with a freezer (or fridge) full of food when the power fails?

If your freezer or fridge has a mechanical failure, can you quickly move the food to a neighbor’s or friend’s refrigerator or freezer? If the power has failed in your neighborhood, then you must watch the time. Food in a refrigerator will keep about four to six hours if you do not open the door. Food in a freezer will keep about 48 hours if the freezer is full, 24 hours if half full. Food in the freezer section of a refrigerator will stay frozen for about a day if the refrigerator door isn’t opened and the freezer section is full.

Dry ice, which is solid carbon dioxide, is very cold and will keep frozen food frozen if you can get it into the freezer before the food begins to thaw. Put a piece of cardboard on top of the food and put the dry ice on the cardboard. CAUTION: Dry ice is very cold and will freeze your skin severely if you touch it. Wear heavy gloves when handling dry ice.

If you have advance warning of power failure (you see ice starting to form on the electric wires, for example) you can turn the cold controls to a lower setting to add “cool” to the food. If you load raw food at the bottom of your freezer and ready-to-eat food at the top, you can help store the cold better. You can also add insulation to the freezer by putting blankets or newspapers around it, but be sure to remove them immediately when the power comes back, due to the risk of overheating (fire) when the freezer starts to run again. Keep the freezer full, with gel-packs or even plastic bottles of frozen water, to help store cold. Keep an accurate thermometer in your freezer and refrigerator, right next to the door.

If the freezer food still has ice crystals, it can be re-frozen. If the temperature never gets above 40 degrees F. in the refrigerator, you may be OK; for details, see the USDA recommendations. “When in doubt, throw it out.”

Finally, clean the interior of your fridge and freezer after power has been restored.


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Halloween Special Effects

Halloween and dry ice go hand in hand by setting the scene and bringing your decorations to life.


Create a spooky effect for your Halloween party or front porch in a matter of minutes

Dry Ice Fog Effect

Items needed for this effect:

  • Large Container
  • Hot Water
  • Dry Ice

CAUTION: Only use dry ice in a well-ventilated area. The carbon dioxide released from dry ice will displace oxygen. See our dry ice safety page for more safety information.

  1. 1. Fill a metal or plastic container half full with hot water, add a few pieces of dry ice every 5 to 10 minutes. As water cools, it will be necessary to start over with hot water to maintain the fog effect.

As a rule of thumb, one pound of dry ice will create 2-3 minutes of fog effect. The hotter the water, the more fog but the quicker dissipation of the dry ice.

FYI: When you place dry ice into some warm or hot water, clouds of white fog are created. This white fog is not the CO2 gas, but rather it is condensed water vapor, mixed in with the invisible CO2. The extreme cold causes the water vapor to condense into clouds. The fog is heavy, being carried by the CO2, and will settle to the bottom of a container, and can be poured. You can produce enough ground – hugging fog to fill a medium-sized room with a pound or so of dry ice. Do not allow anyone to lie down in this fog, or allow babies or pets into it, as CO2 gas does not support life.


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Add a scary look to your pumpkin with a simple dry ice effect.

Jack-O-Lantern Fog Effect

Items needed for this effect:

  • Large Pumpkin
  • Large Glass
  • Hot Water
  • Salt
  • Dry Ice

CAUTION: Handle dry ice only while wearing heavy duty gloves. Dry ice is extremely cold(-109 F) (-78.5 C) and can cause instant frostbite. Use extreme caution. See our dry ice safety page for more safety information.

    1. 1.Choose a pumpkin large enough to hold a large can inside. Clean out the pumpkin and carve a friendly or a frightening face. Keep in mind, carbon dioxide fog sinks, so more fog will flow out of the mouth of your jack-o-lantern than through its eyes.


    1. 2.When you are done cleaning out and carving your pumpkin, fill a large glass about half full with hot water and mix in a cup of salt. Try to find a glass that is taller than the eyes of your jack-o-lantern, to get fog to flow through all the carvings.


  1. 3.Place the glass inside the pumpkin. Wearing gloves, drop two or three large pieces of dry ice into the cup of water. Replace the top of the pumpkin. You want the lid to fit tightly so there won’t be air currents dissipating the fog. As the water cools, it will be necessary to start over with hot water to maintain the fog effect.

As a rule of thumb, one pound of dry ice will create 2-3 minutes of fog effect. The hotter the water, the more fog but the quicker dissipation of the dry ice.


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Camping, Hunting, and Fishing

Going fishing and expect to come home with a large quantity of fish or fish filets? Fish begin to spoil rapidly, so prompt processing and freezing is necessary, for the best taste and for food safety.

Flash freeze fresh fish with dry ice! Dry ice gives you two major advantages; first, it is a biocide. Studies have shown that using dry ice can preserve fish up to 10 days longer than using just “wet” ice, based on smell and bacterial growth testing. The second advantage is the quality and taste of your fish which stays better longer by using dry ice to preserve your fish filets.

Dry ice freezing is fast because dry ice is -109° Fahrenheit, much colder than the 0° Fahrenheit typical of home freezers. Fast freezing with super-cold dry ice prevents large ice crystalline structures from forming in your filets. These large crystals cause the “mushy” texture of frozen items, due to partial thaw and re-freezing, or very slow freezing.

Note: The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends “lean fresh water fish be dipped for 20 seconds in a brine of ¼ cup salt to 1 quart of cold water to firm the fish and to decrease drip loss from thawing.”

Recommended Equipment:

  1. 1. Ice chest; deeper chests help contain the cold
  2. 2. Heavyweight aluminum foil
  3. 3. Aluminum pans, any size that will serve as “freezing pans”; freezing will work better if each pan holds one fish portion in a single layer
  4. 4. Wax or parchment paper
  5. 5. Gloves and tongs
  6. 6. Pump-N-Seal® (or similar) vacuum food sealer, to pull all the air or carbon dioxide out of the freezer bags


Place a layer of dry ice, about three inches thick, in the bottom of the ice chest, covered with a sheet of heavy foil or brown paper. This will help prevent the pans (used to hold the food portions) from sticking to the dry ice.

Arrange filets one layer deep in the freezing pans on a double layer of wax paper. If the filets freeze to the top layer, just cut between filets leaving the paper in place. The paper will be a divider and can be removed after thawing.

Place in the ice chest, close the lid, but do not seal the lid. The dry ice will sublimate (change from solid to gas without becoming liquid) and the gas pressure could become dangerously high in a sealed container. Allow the filets to sit in the chest for 20 to 30 minutes. Once fish filets are frozen, remove from the freezer chest, put into storage bags and remove as much air as possible.

The Pump-N-Seal® or similar device makes sealing easier. Trapped air space is one of the causes of freezer burn. Evacuation of all air from the freezer bag will produce better and longer-lasting frozen food.

Transfer frozen fish filets to your freezer, or another ice chest with dry ice. If you are planning to store the fish filets in the freezer for more than four months, double bag or combine several smaller-portion bags into a larger bag and vacuum seal that, as well. This gives added protection against freezer burn.

Safety Precautions:

    1. 1. Wear gloves; dry ice is -109 degrees Fahrenheit. The pans used for freezing will be nearly that cold. Do not touch the pans with bare skin to avoid a serious burn from dry ice.


    1. 2. Do not seal or clamp lids of coolers containing dry ice. As dry ice goes from a solid to a gas, pressure builds up. One ounce of dry ice produces one cubic foot of carbon dioxide gas at room temperature.


  1. 3. Work in a well-ventilated space. Carbon dioxide is heavier than air and replaces oxygen, which can cause suffocation or breathing problems if you are not working in a large or well-ventilated area.


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