Dry ice smoke coming out of a glass

How To Store Dry Ice To Extend Its Shelf Life

 

For years, dry ice has been a staple for shipping food, making gourmet cocktails, and desserts, and even for making cool special effects. But when not in use, it needs to be stored properly to avoid any sort of safety hazards. In this blog post, we'll discover the proper way to store dry ice.

 

What Is Dry Ice?

 Some dry ice in a clear glass with smoke around it with a black background

Credit: Envato Elements/ hannievanbaarle

 

Dry ice is often mistaken for liquid nitrogen, but it's actually just carbon dioxide that has been frozen. It's called "dry" ice because it doesn't turn into a liquid. Instead, when it warms up to room temperature, it sublimates and directly transforms into a gas. The average temperature of dry ice is around -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

How To Store Dry Ice

 

How To Store Dry Ice To Extend Its Shelf Life 

 

To keep dry ice safe and make it last longer, follow these easy storage steps:

 

1)  Wrap the Dry Ice in a Towel

 Five off white towels in a pile on top of each other

Credit: Envato Elements/ ametov41

 

Before you begin storing dry ice, wrap it in a towel or cloth. Just like regular ice, dry ice stays frozen longer when it's covered up. Always wear insulated gloves when handling dry ice to protect your skin from its super cold temperature.

To make sure it lasts longer, purchase dry ice as close as possible to when you need it, and make sure to get it from a trusted dry ice manufacturer.

 

2)  Place the Dry Ice in a Well-Insulated Container

 A blue and white cooler that is hard and closed

Credit: Envato Elements/ lightzone

 

After wrapping the dry ice in a towel, place it in an insulated container. This will slow down the evaporation process.

When picking an insulated container, make sure that it's not completely airtight. When dry ice evaporates, it releases carbon dioxide. If there is no space for the carbon dioxide gas to escape, the sealed container could expand and possibly even explode. Instead of using a completely airtight container, consider using a thick styrofoam cooler with a loose lid or something similar that can handle the extremely cold temperature of dry ice.

 

3)  Fill the Container With Crushed Paper

 Brightly colored paper that has been crushed into balls

Credit: Envato Elements/ Prostock-Studio

 

Similar to how you fill up any extra space in a cooler when storing food or beverages to prevent them from warming up too quickly, you should also fill any empty spaces in your insulated container when storing dry ice. You can use crumpled newspaper or regular paper to fill those gaps.

 

4)  Store the Container in a Well-Ventilated Area

 Some dry ice that is in a blue container in a well ventilated area

Credit: iStock

 

When you're storing dry ice in an insulated cooler, remember to keep the cooler away from sunlight and avoid putting it near hot places like a fireplace or the kitchen. Also, make sure the area has good ventilation, especially if you're keeping dry ice indoors.

In places with poor ventilation, the carbon dioxide released by dry ice can be dangerous and cause asphyxiation and death. To stay safe, never leave dry ice unattended for long periods.

 

Can Dry Ice Be Stored in a Freezer?

 An open empty freezer with ice on the bottom and a grill inside

Credit: Envato Elements/ travelarium

 

You might consider putting unused dry ice in a regular freezer to keep it from melting, but that's not a good idea. Dry ice sublimates (or turns from a solid into a gas) right away because of its extremely low temperature. Normal freezers cannot handle these temperatures.

Storing dry ice in a freezer will dramatically lower the freezer's interior temperature and turn off the compressor that maintains the freezer's frigid temperature. Additionally, the extreme cold could cause a major breakdown. So, it's never a good idea to store dry ice in your freezer.

 

The Best Alternative To Dry Ice

 Nice Packs Maxi ice packs that can be used as a substitute for dry ice

Credit: Nice Packs

 

When it comes to handling and storing dry ice, it can feel like there are a lot of safety rules to follow. But what if there was a simpler solution that's just as cold as dry ice and lasts even longer, without all the safety measures?

Introducing: Nice Packs Dry Ice Packs. Although these packs may have the name "dry ice," they do not contain any dry ice at all. They are made of a unique substance that expands when submerged in water and maintains an intense cold after being frozen for a few hours. These packs don't need to be stored in specially designed coolers or well-insulated rooms, and they last three to four times longer than regular ice. Plus, you don't have to wear insulated gloves when using them.

 

FAQ Section

 

Q1: Can I dispose of dry ice in the trash like regular ice?

No, dry ice should not be disposed of in the trash like regular ice. It should be left to sublimate in a well-ventilated area or returned to the place where you purchased it. Disposing of dry ice in a sealed trash container can create pressure buildup, which can be hazardous.

 

Q2: How do I transport dry ice safely in a car?

When transporting dry ice in a car, ensure proper ventilation. Crack a window or open the sunroof slightly to allow carbon dioxide to escape. Never store dry ice in the trunk or in an airtight space, as it can lead to a dangerous increase in carbon dioxide levels.

 

Q3: How long can I store dry ice before it becomes ineffective?

Dry ice has a relatively short shelf life, typically around 24 to 48 hours, depending on various factors like insulation and quantity. It's best to purchase dry ice as close to your intended use as possible for maximum effectiveness.

 

Summary

 

For the best quality of dry ice, make sure to follow specific instructions and use a good insulating container when storing it. Since using dry ice comes with several safety measures, we recommend using dry ice packs. If you're looking for a reliable seller of dry ice packs, check out Nice Packs. We're your go-to source for all your food shipping needs. Check us out today.