Dry Ice FAQs
Everything you need to know about purchasing, handling, and storing dry ice—and more!
Where can I purchase dry ice?
You can order dry ice on our site and choose to pick up your order or have it delivered.
Do you have minimum orders?
We require a minimum order of 5kg of dry ice for all pick up orders, and a minimum 12kg order for same day delivery.
How much does dry ice cost?
Prices vary depending on the amount or type of dry ice you purchase. You can view our products and pricing here. Please call us to inquire about rates for our dry ice shipping services.
How much dry ice do I need?
Use our dry ice calculator to find out the right amount.
What are your hours of operation?
Monday – Friday | 8:30am – 4:30pm
Saturday | 8:30am – 12:00pm
Sunday | CLOSED
Public Holidays | CLOSED
Christmas | 8:30am – 12:00pm
(Xmas Day to New Years Day)
What is dry ice?
Dry Ice is frozen carbon dioxide, a normal part of our earth’s atmosphere. It is the gas that we exhale during breathing and the gas that plants use in photosynthesis. It is also the same gas commonly added to water to make soda water. Dry Ice is particularly useful for freezing, and keeping things frozen because of its very cold temperature: -78.5°C. Dry Ice is widely used because it is simple to freeze and easy to handle using insulated gloves.
What temperature is the surface of dry ice?
Dry ice has a surface temperature between -78° and -110° degrees Celsius.
Does dry ice melt?
No. Dry ice goes through a process called “sublimation” in which a solid substance skips the liquid state and changes directly into a gaseous state.
How is dry ice created?
Under normal conditions, carbon dioxide is a colourless and odourless gas. To make carbon dioxide snow (dry ice) the gas is cooled at high pressure which liquefies the gas. Further cooling takes the carbon dioxide to the, “triple point.” The highly pressured liquid is then suddenly expanded by spraying, and turns it into snow. The snow is then pressed into blocks weighing between 25-100 kgs.
How much of the liquid carbon dioxide turns to snow?
About 30% of the liquid which is sprayed turns to snow. The rest is turned back into gas and is returned to the compression and cooling process.
What will prevent the dry ice from turning into a gas again?
Nothing will prevent the dry ice from “subliming.” Once it is out of the high pressure it must be insulated to reduce the rate of sublimation.
What should dry ice be put into, to insulate it?
A “kraft” paper bag will reduce the sublimation rate on its own. The ice wrapped in the paper should be put into a container which is insulated as much as possible, but NEVER seal the ice into an air tight container due to the pressure.
What is the “triple point?”
When carbon dioxide is subject to a temperature of 69-degrees Celsius and also to a pressure of 60.4 psi, carbon dioxide can exist as a solid, a liquid and a gas at the same time. The ability to be in three states simultaneously is known as the triple point effect.
Does The Iceman provide containers to ship the dry ice in?
Yes. We offer Styrofoam containers called styro-shippers which can hold capacities of 9.5L to 8L. You can view our packaging products here.
How heavy is dry ice?
A block measuring 10” x 10” x 10” is 50lbs. A slab measuring 10” x 10” x 2” is 10lbs. A slab measuring 10” x 10” x 1” is 5lbs.
At what rate can I expect the dry ice to sublimate?
As a general rule, dry ice will sublimate at a rate of 1% per hour in a typical ice chest. This sublimation continues from the time of purchase – therefore, pick up dry ice as close to the time needed as possible. Bring an ice chest or some other insulated container to hold the dry ice and slow the sublimation rate. Dry ice changes directly from a solid to a gas – sublimation – in normal atmospheric conditions without going through a wet liquid stage.
What type of industries/people use dry ice?
Dry ice is widely used within the following industries or applications:
- Pharmaceutical Companies
- Drug Manufacturers
- Universities & Elementary Schools
- Special Effects Companies
- Transport / Freight Forwarding Companies
- Hunters & Campers
- Individuals with bed bug issues use dry ice in one manner or another.
What are some benefits to using dry ice?
It is an alternative method to heat displacement refrigeration. (i.e. electric refrigerators) It is inexpensive & simple. It consumes no fuel or electricity. It can be cut, wrapped & delivered to predetermined specifications and limits waste.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Dry Ice?
Dry ice is solid carbon dioxide (CO₂). It has the unusual property of ‘subliming’, that is going from a solid to a gas without passing through a liquid phase and this is how it gets the name dry ice. The product can only exist at -79C and it maintains this temperature by sublimation.
In the UK the CO₂ in dry ice is from a recycled source and so is not making a contribution to global warming.
How Is Dry Ice Made?
Liquid Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) is the source of all dry ice products. The liquid is stored at 20 bar and around -20C. It is released through a nozzle to 1 bar at which point dry ice ‘snow’ is created. This snow is compressed and extruded at around 1500 psi to form pellets, slices and blocks of dry ice. The CO₂ used is food grade and is non-toxic, it is the same chemical that gives drinks their fizz.
Dry ice density is around 1.6 g/cm3, however the bulk density is around 1g/cm3 just like water.
The molecular weight of dry ice is 44.01.
How Do I Store Dry Ice?
Store dry ice in an insulated container – the better the insulation, the slower the rate of sublimation to CO₂ gas. The best container is the polystyrene box that the dry ice was shipped in. Do not store dry ice in an airtight or glass container.The sublimation of dry ice into CO₂ gas will cause an airtight container to expand, rupture or burst.
The CO₂ gas occupies about 800 times the volume that the dry ice did! CO₂ gas is heavier than air and will sink to low areas and displace air. At elevated concentrations CO₂ can be fatal as an asphyxiant.
For this reason always store dry ice in a well ventilated area – avoid unventilated rooms such as cellars, boat holds and walk-in freezers.
Note: you can store dry ice in domestic (non-walk-in) freezers provided the dry ice is kept in the polystyrene packaging. The dry ice will release CO₂ gas whilst in the freezer however there is no risk of asphyxiation. The freezer will reduce heat transfer into the box and prolong the life of the ice. However do not store dry ice in walk-in freezers as there is a risk of an accumulation of CO₂ which could cause an asphyxiation risk if the freezer is not used regularly.
Some surfaces left in direct contact with Dry Ice may be damaged by the extreme cold. Adhesives may become brittle and break. So please do not let dry ice into contact with kitchen tiles, or other surfaces which are susceptible to damage from the cold.
Is Dry Ice Safe?
Provided the safety guidelines are followed dry ice is safe – we ask that our customers follow the BCGA guidelines as a condition of sale. Please read our dry ice safety and guideline advice for further information.
What Is Dry Ice Fog?
When dry ice is added to warm water a dense white fog is immediately generated.The white fog is an aerosol of tiny water droplets just like fog created naturally. What’s happening is that the very cold dry ice is subliming from solid to the gaseous phase and bubbling through the water. In so doing the CO₂ gas leaves the water container which has a substantial amount of moist air above it. The cold CO₂ gas condenses water molecules in the air above the container leading to the formation of tiny water droplets which are so small they stay in suspension with the gas. The only difference between natural fog and dry ice fog is the presence of gaseous CO₂ interspersed with the water droplets. CO₂ gas is heavier than air and so tends to carry the white fog towards ground level creating cool effects! The fog will cover the ground, roll down stairs, and swirl when walked through. It will not rise into light beams like glycol type foggers and will not make a fine mist in the air like hazers. Dry ice fog has no odour, contains no chemicals, and leaves no oily residue.
How Do I Make Dry Ice Fog?
Consider using a fog generator – the next question “How is a dry ice fogger operated?” If you are looking to cover a large area, such as a dance floor, you will need 20kg of dry ice which will last for 8-10 minutes. Add dry ice to a container with hot water (50C) and the fog effect will be spontaneous. The fog effect can be halted if too much dry ice has been added to the water so chilling (and ultimately freezing) the water and reducing the humidity of the air above the container. To maximise the fog effect you need to use warm/hot water. If you want the fog effect to last for a prolonged period consider adding a source of heat to keep the water warm – the container could be a rice cooker or slow cooker on the lowest heat setting. Be careful – if you use the heater on a high setting thermal currents will send the fog into the air spoiling the effect. Candles will not work as the CO₂ will extinguish the flame, after all CO₂ is used in fire extinguishers!
How Is A Dry Ice Fogger Operated?
The fog machine is filled with water and heated with its built-in heating elements. When the water has reached operating temperature (two to three hours), the ice chamber in the machine is loaded, when fog is needed the pump is turned on and hot water is pumped into the ice chamber, immediately creating fog. The fan is turned on and the fog is blown out to the stage via a ducting hose.
How Do I Order Dry Ice?
You can place orders for dry ice packs on-line by clicking the Buy Dry Ice Pellets link. Our standard delivery days are Tuesday to Friday. We do Monday and Saturday deliveries for £10. Saturday options are available on-line. Monday deliveries are by special arrangement – please email email@example.com or call 020 3432 9412 with your request and we will process your order for you.
Dry Ice How Long Does It Last?
It depends! 10kg can be consumed within minutes if added to sufficient hot water to create large scale effects. However, for smaller more subtle effects the dry ice can last for hours. We ship dry ice in thick polystyrene boxes and the ice will last for 3-4 days depending on how you store the ice. We recommend keeping the ice unopened in the packaging until it is required and to store the box in a safe cold place. Once ice has been used put the lid on the remaining product and place in a cold location.
Can We Put Dry Ice In Drinks?
Dry ice should never be placed into the mouth or swallowed. So as a rule dry ice should never be added to drinks to avoid any such risk. However, Sublime Products have created a new product called Chillistick which allows dry ice to be added to drinks providing a safety barrier between the drinker and the dry ice so creating great smoking effects whilst enjoying a drink safely. When dry ice is loaded into the Chillistick a majority of the gas will bubble to the surface and create the much-loved mist. A small amount of gas will dissolve into the liquid to create carbonic acid and effectively carbonate the beverage though not enough to cause any fizzing. The slight carbonation effect is enough to tingle the tongue and give a slightly bitter taste as found in popular soda waters. Ironically dry ice does not mix well with carbonated soft drinks or beer. The vigorous bubbling action will substantially un-carbonate the beverage leaving the drink ‘flat’. Chillisticks are therefore best used with non-carbonated cocktails and fruit drinks, punches etc. Dry ice will chill drinks and because it sublimes will not dilute drinks as does conventional water ice. It is cold enough to chill beverages without the use of ice. Hence dry ice will not water down or dilute drinks. The mist effect varies depending on the temperature of the beverage. The colder the liquid the slower the dry ice will be dissolved see our section on fogging. A hot beverage can produce spectacular results as the dry ice is rapidly dissolved. Typically the mist effect can last 3 to 5 minutes.
How Much Dry Ice Do I Need?
For presenting small items such as cakes, food and beverages our small 4kg pack is ideal.Please note that if you are looking for a subtle effect to enhance a food/wine presentation less is definitely more! If you wish to create a couple of large smoke effects for your guests then you will need the 10kg pack, and if you have a large space and want to create something memorable multiples of this are worth considering. As a rough guide 20kg of dry ice will produce between eight to ten minutes of fog and create a thick fog carpet.
Where Do You Ship Dry Ice?
We can send dry ice nationwide on a next day service to arrive with you Tuesday to Friday. We can also arrange Saturday services and timed arrivals by special arrangement.
What Type Of Ice Do You Supply?
We provide food grade 9mm pellets.
Do You Ship Frozen Goods?
Yes, we offer a full service for frozen or chilled shipping including pick-up, document preparation and small lot shipping nationwide.
If you would like further information please do not hesitate to contact the team on 020 3432 9412.
How To Use Dry Ice In The Chillistick
The chillistick allows dry ice to be used safely in drinks and cocktails. The chillistick is filled with dry ice and then lowered into drinks when it immediately starts to bubble creating a thick water fog which looks cool in every way. The white fog is composed of tiny droplets of water – just like mists formed in nature. The mist spreads the naturalfragrance of the drink so that you smell the drink before you taste it!
Please read the safety guidelines for the safe use of dry ice. Open the dry ice box and cut the thick poly bag with scissors or knife. We recommend that you use gloves in handling dry ice. Using a scoop or glove remove a handful of dry ice and select one or two pellets which are 0.5cm or longer. If using gloves supplied with kit put both gloves on one hand – the air gap between layers will provide insulation.
NOTE: You will notice that there are some small pieces of ice and some dry ice dust, this is normal, these smaller pieces will keep the larger pieces in good condition, so put this dust back in the box and close the lid.
Hold the chillistick by the base of the handle and using gloves carefully add a piece of dry ice to the scoop end of the chillistick, using a finger push the ice so that it opens the plastic safety valve within the chillistick. Using a stirrer stick or glass rod push the ice through the valve into the body of the chillistick.
NOTE: The valve will be slightly stiff the first time the chillistick is used, you may find it easier to loosen the valve using a stirrer rod or small finger prior to loading with ice.
To check that the ice has been secured in the chillistick the rounded end of the stirrer rod will be engaged by the valve and it will be possible to hold the entire assembly by the stirrer rod. Pull out the stirrer rod and use. You can prepare chilllisticks up to 45 minutes prior to serve and in this case keep the loaded chillistick in the dry ice box. With practice it is possible to load the chillistick in about 5 – 10 seconds. Please watch the Chillistick Instruction Video.
To create spectacular fog effects to enhance the back of bar area or the serving of food we suggest using a tall vessel to minimise footprint:
Fill the vessel with warm to hot water and add around half a cup of dry ice. The mist will flow down the jug and over the surrounding area. Positioning the vessel underneath a spot lamp will maximise the effect which will last for up to 5 minutes. The warmer the water the more spectacular will be the fog effect; as the water in the vessel gets colder the smoke effect will diminish. If you are serving food you may wish to consider adding essential oils to the water which enhance the food – vanilla for desserts for example. Your guests will smell these complimentary flavours so adding to the experience. Please contact us to discuss bespoke smoke designs.
What is dry ice?
Dry ice is the common name for solid carbon dioxide (CO2). It is so-called because it does not melt into a liquid; instead, it changes directly into a gas (this process is known as sublimation).
How cold is dry ice?
Dry Ice has a temperature of -78ºC. At this temperature it can cause severe skin damage or frostbite, so it’s essential to wear insulated gloves when handling dry ice.
How is is dry ice made?
Our dry ice is made through a 3-step process:
• First, we compress and cool CO2 gas under high pressure to produce liquid CO2.
• The liquid is then allowed to expand under a reduced pressure to produce CO2 snow.
• This snow is then compressed by a hydraulic press into dry ice.
How long does dry ice last?
Dry ice has a limited shelf life. Once it has been compressed into a solid form, the dry ice slowly begins to revert to it’s original gas form. For this reason, smaller quantities like 10kg should be used within 48 hours of delivery/collection. Smaller amounts of dry ice should ideally be used the same day.
What if I only need a small amount?
No problem; the minimum amount for an order is 3.5kg of dry ice pellets. Note that small quantities like this should be used the same day that they are delivered/collected. Our other dry ice products (blocks, slices, and drice) are all sold in units of 10kg.
What type of dry ice do I need?
Dry ice comes in three forms: blocks, slices and pellets. Each form is suitable for specific needs.
Blocks: Suitable for freeze branding, industrial usage, shipping, and certain dry ice smoke machines. As a 10kg dry ice block is one solid piece (and therefore has less surface area than 10kg of dry ice pellets or slices), it will last longer than the same weight of slices or pellets. This makes blocks ideal for long-lasting shipping or storage.
Slices: Ideal for the storage and/or transportation of perishable goods such as food or medical supplies. Each slice is individually foil-wrapped for ease of use and to help reduce sublimation levels.
Pellets (9mm diameter): Ideal for smaller-scale needs. University and hospital laboratories often use dry ice pellets in experiments, small scale storage, and for delivery purposes. Dry ice pellets are ideal to make fog effects for theatrical and entertainment purposes. Commercial businesses often use dry ice pellets for small-scale or one off storage or delivery purposes.
Drice (3mm diameter pellets): Specially designed for use in clean-blasting – not for domestic use.
Do Polar Ice deliver?
Yes, we deliver to businesses and homes across Ireland. Orders are delivered either by our own Polar Ice drivers or by DPD couriers.
- Nationwide next-day delivery (Tuesday – Friday).
- Same day delivery (Dublin area).
- 24-hour emergency-only delivery service (any day).
- Saturday delivery on request (incurs additional delivery cost).
- Timed delivery service (can request specific time).
How much does dry ice cost?
Prices start from €34.50 inc VAT for 3.5kg of dry ice pellets, and all prices are shown in the online store. Delivery is free of charge on online orders over €100.
How quickly can I get my dry ice?
If you place your order before 1pm, we can have your order ready for next working-day delivery or collection. The cut-off point for orders is 3pm.
Can I collect dry ice in person?
Yes, you can collect your order from any one of our four collection points, located in Armagh, Dublin, Laois and Cork. Alternatively, you can have your dry ice delivered to any of the DPD depots in Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, sending dry ice to a DPD Depot for collection carries a delivery charge.
What precautions should I take when using dry ice?
- Do not use dry ice in a poorly ventilated area.
- Do not inhale the CO2 gas.
- Do not touch dry ice with bare skin.
- Do not ingest/consume dry ice.
- Do not store in an airtight container.
- Do not leave dry ice unattended around children or animals.
How can I help my dry ice last longer?
10kgs of dry ice stored in the Polar ice carton will last a maximum of 72 hours from the time you receive it. However, for best results, you should use the dry ice within 48 hours of receiving it.
The more dry ice you have stored in the container, the longer it will last. This means it’s important to have the dry ice delivery as close as possible to the time you plan to use it.
Refrain from opening and closing the insulated container as much as possible. When you remove dry ice from the storage container fill the empty space with wadded newspaper or styrofoam sheets. Any “dead-air-space” will cause the dry ice to sublimate faster.
How should I store dry ice?
We have various dry ice storage containers. These containers are highly insulated, protecting the dry ice from ambient temperature and reducing sublimation to as low as 2% in a 24 hour period. These containers are most suitable for storing quantities in excess of 100kg.
We also have packaging suitable to store smaller quantities (e.g. 10kg) of dry ice. These containers are the most practical solution for storing small quantities and will reduce sublimation rates to less than 30% a day.
View Storage Carton PDF
Note: It is very important that you do not store dry ice in your refrigerator freezer. The extremely low temperature could cause the thermostat to turn off the freezer or damage the element.
How should I dispose of dry ice?
When finished with your dry ice, unwrap it and leave it at room temperature in a well-ventilated area. It will sublimate from a solid to a gas. Due to the CO2 released by the sublimation process, ensure that the dry ice is kept clear of people and animals.