In any industrial or construction environment, cleaning plays an important role whether it be to keep equipment functional and devoid of rust or to ensure the exterior of a large property continues to look its very best. There are many different cleaning options available varying from sand blasting to solvent cleaning and water blasting, however in recent years there has been a new method in town- dry ice blasting.

But what are the differences between the cleaning methods and how do they compare? To start, it’s important to explore the advantages of dry ice cleaning before looking at how it compares to the other options out there;

Dry Ice Cleaning Advantages

–          Reduces the risk of surface erosion and damage during the cleaning process.

–          No secondary waste is produced, therefore additional clean-up is not required.

–          Cost effective due to the reduced number of hours taken to complete a project.

–          Downtime is lowered due to there being less need to dismantle equipment before the cleaning process begins.

–          No use of hazardous chemicals at any stage of the clean.

–          Avoids the need for any drying time to be required

How it Fares Against the Alternatives

There are a number of alternatives to the new dry ice blasting, so let’s see how they differ in terms of both process and end results;

Sand Blasting

In addition to using sand granules as opposed to dry ice, the biggest difference is that this technique is seen as abrasive whilst dry ice cleaning is recognised as non-abrasive. Despite being relatively effective in terms of end results, the fact that this is an abrasive cleaning method means there is an increased chance of damage to the surface being cleaned.

A further feature of sand blasting is the additional mess that is caused during the cleaning process, which is not apparent when dry ice blasting. This in turn requires additional time to be spent clearing and readying the area for use once more, therefore prolonging the length of time for the project.

When comparing this technique to dry ice blasting, the latter won’t damage the surface being cleaned in any way whilst also avoiding the creation of further waste in and around the area; making for a more effective and less time consuming clean.

Water Blasting

This is one of the quickest ways to clean, however it does have its flaws. There is, like with sand blasting, the secondary waste that occurs during the process and needs to be cleaned up afterwards, yet more of a concern is the threat of electrical problems. If water goes anywhere near electrical equipment or wiring, there is a strong chance that significant problems can be caused; a costly and time consuming issue that has the potential to cause long delays in production.

In a similar way to dry ice blasting, water blasting is not abrasive so won’t damage the surface being cleaned, however there is the risk of rusting which can affect appearance and make the application of paint or coatings at a later date more difficult. With dry ice cleaning, the development of rust is eliminated, meaning appearance can be maintained at all times.

Solvent Cleaning

The biggest issue surrounding solvent cleaning is the risk placed to the environment and those within the surrounding area as substances and vapours have the potential to cause significant harm. Following the use of solvents to clean surfaces, additional cleaning is then required to remove the substance used. This may mean that equipment has to be taken apart before cleaning can commence to make this task easier and also protect to any sensitive features.

In comparison to this, dry ice blasting completes the clean in just the one step and, arguably more importantly, is completely safe both for the equipment and any people nearby. As the dry ice used evaporates immediately on contact with the surface, there’s no additional cleaning required and full function can be restored almost straight away.

There are many cleaning options out there but it would seem like the latest to hit the market has advantages and features which outweigh those of its counterparts. Could dry ice blasting then be the future of industrial cleaning? Only time will tell.