Dry ice blasting, also known as CO2 blasting, involves a process in which dry ice is accelerated through a piece of pressurizing equipment to create a steady air stream. This air stream is then directed on a surface to dislodge dirt and clean it. Dry ice blasting is a non-toxic, non-conductive, and non-abrasive cleaning method that leaves no secondary waste after a cleanup.

This article previews two specific types of dry ice blasting methods, as well as their pros and cons, in a bid to help you select the best dry ice blasting method.

Types of Dry Ice Blasting Methods

There are two primary CO2 blasting methods used in cleaning, and these include:

  • Two-hose systems
  • Single-hose systems

The fundamental differentiating element of these two methods is the blasting force or aggression level of the cleaning ice particles. The ice media used also influences the aggression of the cleaning media. For instance, the cleaning aggression of dry ice pellets differs from that of shaved dry ice blocks. The kind of method that is perfect for your cleaning needs may vary based on your application, but both methods leave no secondary waste.

Single-Hose Dry Ice Cleaning Systems

The single-hose dry ice cleaning method was first used in the mid-1980s. The equipment used in this system has one hose which connects the hopper to the applicator. The machine also has a feeder system that pushes the compressed air and dry ice particles into the single hose.

The dry ice particles pushed into the hose are accelerated by the compressed air driven into the hose. This creates a stream of air that is then pushed through the whole length of the hose. The process creates an aggressive stream of ice particles with excellent cleaning kinetic energy that leaves no secondary waste.

The Pros and Cons of the Single-Hose System

The use of the single-hose method is helpful because it allows you to use a longer hose than would be the case in a two-hose system. The long hose used in a single-hose system enables you to clean areas that may be far from your dry ice blasting machine without the compromising the blast aggression. The single-hose method also has more cleaning particle aggression, which is ideal for blasting vertical elevated surfaces.

Early CO2 blasting systems used the two-hose system, which relies on the Venturi effect to push or speed up the cleaning ice particles through the hose. In this system, compressed air gets released into the applicator via one hose, and dry ice is let in via a second hose. This second hose connects the hopper and the applicator. As the compressed air passes through the applicator, it builds a suction force on the second hose, which draws dry ice cleaning ice particles from the hopper.

The combination of the two cleaning components in the air stream passes through the applicator that directs it to the cleaning surface. The two-hose system has limited kinetic energy in its blast, which actually diminishes its cleaning power. The length of the hose that can get used is also limited.

These limitations also make it impossible to use such a dry ice cleaning system on vertical surfaces. Even though this method leaves no secondary waste, the two-hose system nozzle is also limited by the low impact velocity of the dry ice discharge.


Dry ice blasting is an ideal cleaning method for industrial and commercial premises that manufacture all kinds of goods. It’s ideal because it’s affordable, fast, reliable, and it leaves no secondary waste. Such cleaning methods are perfect for the food making industry. The methods are ideal because food production requires cleanliness and high levels of proper hygiene. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least one in six American residents becomes ill after consuming contaminated beverages or food each year. Such food poisoning may result from improper food processing, which occurs in contaminated conditions. But with the dry ice blasting method, such contamination problems can be avoided. When you work with a reputable dry ice blasting cleaning company, you can solve these industrial cleaning issues before anyone becomes ill.

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