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Dry Ice Blasting: An Alternative to Traditional Power Washing

Dot Grid
Dry Ice Blasting: An Alternative to Traditional Power Washing

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Facility management companies rely on a long list of cleaning methods to address everything from floors and windows to exterior walkways and concrete. Some of the toughest cleaning jobs in facilities management are best left to power washing. But now, there is a new kid on the block known as dry ice blasting. It is a high-tech alternative to power washing.

Dry ice blasting is not the norm. It is still considered an outlier despite the fact that it works extremely well for certain kinds of jobs. We will explain why in this post. Needless to say that dry ice blasting is an alternative that shouldn’t be embraced without thinking through all its implications.

How It Cleans

Let us start by discussing how both power washing and dry ice blasting cleans surfaces. Power washing combines high pressure water with some sort of liquid cleaning solution to loosen dirt and wash it away. Higher pressures are preferred for the toughest jobs. In addition, cleaners need to choose the appropriate cleaning solution for the job at hand.

Dry ice blasting combines carbon dioxide pellets and compressed air to clean surfaces. The pellets are blasted at high speed, making contact with the surface being cleaned. This loosens the dirt. Almost immediately upon contact, the pellets quickly turn from solid to gas. The resulting shock causes the dirt to fall away.

As its name implies, dry ice blasting doesn’t involve any liquid. There is no contaminated runoff to contain and no mess to clean up afterward. Cleaned surfaces also do not need to be dried.

Well Suited to Some Jobs

Dry ice blasting is well suited to some jobs for which power washing isn’t the best choice. Remember that power washing is quite forceful. It’s not ideal for delicate surfaces or objects with exposed electrical connections. Power washing also creates water runoff that needs to be dealt with. As such, power washing indoors is generally a no-go.

On the other hand, dry ice blasting is considerably gentler. Despite the carbon dioxide pellets being blasted at high speed with compressed air, their impact is still less forceful than pressurized water. Dry ice blasting is a cleaning process that can be used on more delicate objects and surfaces with less worry of damage.

The downside is that it may prove ineffective on very hard surfaces. You might also not get the desired results on surfaces presenting deeply embedded dirt. Dry ice blasting is most appropriate to light cleaning jobs in areas where there are environmental concerns related to power washing.

It’s Not Cheap

The biggest strike against dry ice blasting could explain why it’s not mainstream for property management companies: it is very expensive. A property management company could pay anywhere from $1-$3 per pound for dry ice. And considering that a full day of cleaning could use as much as 1,000 pounds, the process is cost prohibitive. There are also the additional costs of specialized equipment and training.

We would guess that property management companies would rather not spend that kind of money unless it were absolutely necessary. For most needs around a typical residential or commercial environment, power washing is the better choice. But at least dry ice blasting is there if it’s needed.

All Pro Cleaning Systems offers a full line of commercial cleaning and property maintenance services. Whether you’re looking for one-off cleaning or a full-service property maintenance partner, we should be able to help. Let’s get together and talk about your property’s requirements. And if those needs include power washing or dry ice blasting, we can talk about that too.

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