Dry ice can be good for many things, but make sure to use it correctly when you do use it. It sits colder than -109 degrees Fahrenheit, so you really have no choice but to learn its safe handling. That includes how to safely dispose of dry ice when it’s no longer needed.
Today, we’ll break down the five mistakes people usually make when handling dry ice.
Five Common Dry Ice Mistakes To Avoid
When it comes to using dry ice, people usually fall prey to the following mistakes:
1 Buying It Earlier Than You Need It
Dry ice is time and temperature-sensitive, as you probably would have guessed. So, the excitement to see its effects in action is never an excuse to purchase it earlier than you’re supposed to. This has more to do with its usefulness than its safe handling.
Dry ice won’t last long. Even when stored in a cooler, a few pounds of dry ice should turn from solid to gas in less than a day. You can wait until the last minute before an event to acquire dry ice. In that way, it should also last the entire time it’s supposed to be in use.
2 Getting It Close to Some Sensitive Body Parts
It’s been established that dry ice is frigid to the highest degree. It’s literally below freezing at -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit.
Suffice to say, nothing good should come of placing it close to any part of your body for 10 seconds. You especially don’t want it to come in contact with sensitive bare skin such as your mouth and ears. External frostbite is serious enough, and carelessly enjoying a beverage with dry ice could put you at grave risk for internal frostbite.
When handling dry ice, wearing protective garments and using protective tools are essential. We’re mostly talking about tongs and heavy gloves, though items that can serve as adequate replacements for such should also do.
Also, when sipping a drink with dry ice, take extra care not to let the substance touch your lips or tongue. We understand you want to enjoy your drink, but you can enjoy the beverage while also being safe.
3 Storing It in an Airtight Container or the Freezer
Proper storage of dry ice is essential. When bringing some home with you, don’t mistakenly think placing it in the freezer is a good idea. While the freezer is cold, even its coldest setting is still warmer than dry ice.
Thus, it won’t be long until it causes the substance to melt and become useless. That’s not even the worst of it. The temperature disparity could even cause the freezer to shut down.
Using an airtight container is even more dangerous. Dry ice turning to gas in this airless environment could lead to an explosion.
Safely storing dry ice involves using an insulated cooleror styrofoam. When using the cooler, make sure the lid is left ajar. This special container helps keep dry ice in solid form by maintaining the temperature while allowing enough space for the gas to exit.
4 Using It in a Poorly Ventilated Area
Ventilation matters, especially where dry ice is concerned. This doesn’t just concern the handling of the substance but also the safety of the people around. Simply put, gas needs an exit route, and keeping it confined in a closed container or area would set you up for disaster.
Even in a relatively large room, you have to be careful to keep enough ventilation for gas to escape. When the gas builds up and replaces the oxygen in a room, bad things can happen.
Hence, make sure there’s proper airflow wherever you’re handling dry ice. At the very least, keep a few windows open, so gas doesn’t start building up and reducing the oxygen supply.
5 Inappropriately Disposing of Dry Ice
Yet again, there’s a need to emphasize how frigid dry ice is. That should make you think twice about tossing any you didn’t end up using.
Whether it’s in the sink or somewhere you happen to be, dry ice can cause some serious damage when it melts. You might also think dumping it in the garbage is a good idea, but the enclosed space could result in gas buildup that leads to an explosion.
The tip is to let unused dry ice be. Let it sit and melt in an open space where gas can escape and doesn’t become a danger to anyone or anything. To speed the process up, pour warm water onto the substance.
Handling Dry Ice Wisely
Read up on dry ice and its safe handling before acquiring some. No one who doesn’t know the above information has business near dry ice. You don’t get exposed to much colder temperatures than dry ice and should know what handling the substance entails.