A relatively new cleaning process with countless industrial applications, dry ice cleaning sounds like science fiction to many new users.

When told that they can clean components and parts without using solvents and without leaving a residue, most are understandably nonplussed. Many in manufacturing assume that some negative impact on the environment is a necessary evil of industrial cleaning.  But we’re thrilled to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. Really?  How can you clean something without producing any waste agents? Allow us a moment to explain.

What is Dry Ice Cleaning?

Trust us; it’s not nearly as complicated as it sounds! Dry ice cleaning involves focusing dry ice pellets, also known as “snow”, at the surface to remove particulate. Cool Clean Technologies uses a different approach than a conventional snow gun. The cleaning force is generated using liquid CO2 drawn from a cylinder/Dewar injected into a capillary condenser tube and is condensed into a solid phase – a patented process called “capillary condensation” (See Diagram Above).

Mixed with heated air propellant, the Integrated spray is non-condensing and redefining the stereotypes on CO2 cleaning. This snow is then forced out of a nozzle or multiple nozzles to deliver hard pellets that clean surfaces on contact (See Picture Below). The thing that makes it unique is the remaining CO2 evaporates leaving behind no trace. Unlike aqueous (wet) cleaning processes that utilize deionized water, solvents, and other chemicals, dry CO2 cleaning is environmentally safe. Here are just a few of the environmental benefits.

No Waste 4 nozzle

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Using dry ice blasting reduces harmful air emissions and generally creates no addition to the volume of the cleaning process waste.” And since dry ice pellets are made from recycled carbon dioxide, they contribute no new CO2 to the Earth’s atmosphere. In fact, the only byproduct of the entire CO2 cleaning process is the residue that is removed from the cleaning surface.

So, what does this mean for our environment?

Were dry ice cleaning to replace conventional cleaning methods, the environmental benefits would be enormous. By eliminating the need for chemical agents and waste, CO2 cleaning would usher in a new age of responsible, Eco-friendly cleaning. Companies would also save money on the drying process, waste disposal, and possible environmental fines.

Saves Water

When used for industrial applications, conventional cleaning methods use an enormous amount of water to clean products and equipment. Because it is often contaminated with chemicals and residue during the cleaning process, that water may be considered toxic waste. From the cleaning equipment itself to the trucks and other modes of transportation that are needed to remove the waste, cleaning with water is a comparatively inefficient and outdated process.

Saves Energy

Because the pellets evaporate or sublimate on contact, there is no need for a drying process. Skipping this final step helps users reduce their energy consumption by a significant amount. Not to mention the fact that there is no need to dispose of waste, this would require even more energy.

All told, companies that switch to this more Eco-friendly option can expect much lower electricity bills at the end of the month and can rest easy knowing that they’re not using an unnecessary amount of energy.

No Harmful Gases

As we mentioned, the dry ice pellets that are used in CO2 cleaning are made from recycled carbon dioxide, which means that no new gas is created. But even though a small amount of CO2 is released into the Earth’s atmosphere when the pellets dissolve on contact with the cleaning surface, the gas does not contribute to greenhouse emissions in any meaningful way.

As it is clearly superior to conventional cleaning methods when it comes to its environmental impact, many industry leaders have made the switch to dry CO2 cleaning in recent years.  This transition is good news for these companies’ bottom line and great news for our planet.