What are the perils of using dry ice for cleaning?

What are the perils of using dry ice for cleaning?

Here is what we found in the literature:

Exposure to CO2 can produce a variety of health effects. These may include headaches, dizziness, restlessness, a tingling or pins or needles feeling, difficulty breathing, sweating, tiredness, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, coma, asphyxia, and convulsions.

As dry ice melts, it turns into carbon dioxide gas (a process known as “sublimation”) – this is always present in low concentrations in the environment so unless one uses a large amount it may not contribute that extensively to the greenhouse effect.  But it all adds up.  Dry ice is sol­id car­bon diox­ide. It forms at a tem­per­a­ture of -78.5 °C (-109°F).   At room tem­per­a­ture, dry ice tran­si­tions rapid­ly from its sol­id to its gaseous state. However, it can pose a problem when it is released in a small or unventilated space, as it lowers the amount of “normal air” in the area. This in turn creates an oxygen deficient environment which can pose the following health risks to both humans and animals:

  • Weakness
  • Impaired mental function including thinking, attention span, coordination and emotional upset.
  • When oxygen levels become even lower, bodily functions such as heart function and abnormal fatigue are a risk.

As carbon dioxide gas is both colorless and odorless, it cannot be detected unless a specific alarm sensor is in situ – so if dry ice melts in uncontrolled conditions and in an unventilated space, anyone or any animal in the immediate area could be at real risk to their health. If the oxygen in the area reduces to any less than 10%, unconsciousness without warning is a real risk. Once this has happened, the individual may then suffer convulsions and eventually these conditions will be fatal if no help comes.  https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/7081/

The levels of CO2 in the air and potential health problems are: (https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/chemical/carbondioxide.htm)

  • 400 ppm: average outdoor air level.
  • 400–1,000 ppm: typical level found in occupied spaces with good air exchange.
  • 1,000–2,000 ppm: level associated with complaints of drowsiness and poor air.
  • 2,000–5,000 ppm: level associated with headaches, sleepiness, and stagnant, stale, stuffy air. Poor concentration, loss of attention, increased heart rate and slight nausea may also be present.
  • 5,000 ppm: this indicates unusual air conditions where high levels of other gases could also be present. Toxicity or oxygen deprivation could occur. This is the permissible exposure limit for daily workplace exposures.
  • 40,000 ppm: this level is immediately harmful due to oxygen deprivation.

Did you know a lot of energy goes into making dry ice?

Prolonged exposure to dry ice can cause severe skin damage through frostbite, and the fog produced may also hinder attempts to withdraw from contact in a safe manner. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_ice)

Dry ice: carbon dioxide poisoning is possible  (https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/674889)

·         A Woman Died from Dry Ice Fumes. Here’s How It Can Happen

SaniZap for odor and grease removal

  • An odor starts out as a volatile molecule.  When these molecules enter airways, some get to the olfactory epithelia, a small patch of tissue containing about six million olfactory sensory neurons.  Our olfactory system shares the same signaling channel as our sense of pain, we have particularly intense reactions to something can really smell bad – it hurts.
  • Porous materials like wood, walls and the fibers in carpets hold onto odor- causing molecules for years.
  • When faced with a bad smell, your first step should be to get its source out of the surface where it hides.
  • Did you know? the same principles as degreasers apply to odor removal and much of the advice to use the SaniZap-4 for degreasing will also apply to removing smells.
  • Using the proper high-quality steam can significantly reduce odor-pain.
  • The SaniZap degreaser can be used for both odor and grease and gunk removal.

An ideal sanitizing agent is high temperature steam.

An Ideal sanitizing agent: Steam.


  • approved for food contact surface application.
  • has a wide range or scope of activity.
  • destroys microorganisms rapidly.
  • is stable under all types of conditions.
  • is tolerant of a broad range of environmental conditions.
  • can dissolve grime  and clean.
  • H2O has no toxicity and very low corrosivity.
  • is inexpensive – just water used in the most optimal way.
  • does not leave any chemical residue.
  • can penetrate porous objects.
  • can work for high or low water activity foods.
  • steam is a good agent for even very high microbiological loads
  • works against all microorganism even spores.
  • works for both gram positive and gram negative microorganisms.
  • effective against yeasts, molds, fungi, and viruses.

………………………. more information

More reports:

A review of the duration that pathogens persist on a surfaces

Open Source article: BMC Infectious Diseases

BMC Infectious Diseases 2006, 6:130 doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-130

This article is available from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2334/6/130

Conclusion: The most common nosocomial pathogens may well survive or persist on surfaces for
months and can thereby be a continuous source of transmission if no regular preventive surface
disinfection is performed.

Main Points:   Most gram-positive bacteria, such as Enterococcus spp. (including VRE), Staphylococcus
aureus (including MRSA), or Streptococcus pyogenes, survive for months on dry surfaces. Many gram negative
species, such as Acinetobacter spp., Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp., Pseudomonas aeruginosa,
Serratia marcescens, or Shigella spp., can also survive for months. A few others, such as Bordetella
pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae, Proteus vulgaris, or Vibrio cholerae, however, persist only for days.
Mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and spore-forming bacteria, including Clostridium
difficile, can also survive for months on surfaces. Candida albicans as the most important nosocomial
fungal pathogen can survive up to 4 months on surfaces. Persistence of other yeasts, such as
Torulopsis glabrata, was described to be similar (5 months) or shorter (Candida parapsilosis, 14 days).
Most viruses from the respiratory tract, such as corona, coxsackie, influenza, SARS or rhino virus, can
persist on surfaces for a few days. Viruses from the gastrointestinal tract, such as astrovirus, HAV,
polio- or rota virus, persist for approximately 2 months. Blood-borne viruses, such as HBV or HIV,
can persist for more than one week. Herpes viruses, such as CMV or HSV type 1 and 2, have been
shown to persist from only a few hours up to 7 days.