Dry ice is always fun to play with. I bet you can remember the times in your 8th and 9th grade science class when the teacher brought in dry ice for everyone to experiment with.
But when you buy dry ice, how should you store it? Can you put dry ice in the freezer?
You cannot store dry ice in your home freezer, as the carbon dioxide fumes will build up in the kitchen and in the freezer. Dry ice needs to be stored at a lower temperature than normal freezers are set to.
Plus, carbon dioxide is stored at -109°F. So unless you have an industrial strength freezer in your kitchen, placing it in the freezer won’t prevent it from turning into gas.
Can You Put Dry Ice in the Freezer?
We can see why you might think it is fine to put dry ice in the freezer. But the freezer will not preserve dry ice and keep it from evaporating. Actually, storing dry ice in your kitchen can be deadly.
The freezer is not secure enough to protect people in the kitchen and living room from the noxious carbon dioxide fumes spewing from the block of dry ice.
Dry ice only stays in solid form at -109°F. So your 30°F or 40°F freezer is not cold enough to preserve dry ice.
As the dry ice turns to gas inside your freezer, the carbon dioxide fumes will pour out of the small cracks and crevices from around the freezer.
The air around your freezer will quickly become poisonous, especially to children and small animals.
Carbon dioxide is deadly to humans. And some human beings can’t smell carbon dioxide but others can and they say that it smells like a pungent odor.
But if you can’t smell the carbon dioxide building up in your kitchen, you could be walking into a poison filled room and not even know it until you’re on the floor.
How Fast Does Dry Ice Evaporate?
Depending on how at a store, a 5 pound chunk of dry ice can last for as little as 15 minutes or for over 24 hours.
Placing it in a liquid will cause the dry eyes to evaporate at an accelerated rate and it will completely be gone in less than an hour.
If you store it in a cooler with a loose lid, then the insulation in the cooler will sustain the dry ice brick for 18 to 24 hours.
If you have a freezer on the side of your house that you’ve been meaning to throw out, use it to store the dry ice. Just don’t close the freezer door all the way.
Leave the door slightly open so that the carbon dioxide gasses do not build up inside the outside freezer.
But as long as the freezer is outside, the evaporating dry ice can’t turn your kitchen into a gas chamber.
How to Store Dry Ice Once You Buy It
Now that you know you cannot store dry ice in your freezer, how should you store it so you can save it for a party or a science experiment?
As a general rule, always purchase far more dry ice than you actually need.
If dry ice is not stored at-109°, it will turn to gas. So the moment you purchase the dry ice and take it to your vehicle, it’s already melting.
So, does that mean you should store dry ice in an airtight container? You may think this is the right way to store dry ice, but doing this could be deadly!
Do not store the dry ice in an airtight container, as the building gasses can cause the container to explode.
Store it outside and away from any animals. Keep it in a container but do not clamp the lid down onto the container.
Place the lid on top, but there should be room for the carbon dioxide to escape.
Dry Ice Safety Tips
Do not touch dry ice with your bare skin. It will not be like holding an ice cube.
Dry ice can actually cause ice burns. Even holding a dry ice cube for a moment or two can cause a red, swollen area to form on your skin.
If you interact with dry ice without any protection for a while, it can severely damage the nerve endings in your hand.
You will need to go to the hospital and get treated for frostbite.
Always handle dry ice outside. The carbon dioxide won’t be able to build up in the area if the dry ice is outside.
While it may be fun to use dry ice to keep your drinks cold, you should never use it as a substitute for regular ice.
Do not put dry ice in your drinks. Drinking dry ice will book you a one-way ambulance trip to the hospital.
Do not put dry ice on top of glass. The freezing temperature can freeze the glass and crack it.
Are there a bunch of children around? It would be better to not buy dry ice.
If you purchase dry ice for a 4-year-old’s birthday party, you will drive yourself insane protecting all the small children who want to reach out and grab the dry ice.
Instead of buying dry ice, buy regular ice to keep the party drinks cold and then rent a fog machine.
The kids will love playing with the fog machine and you won’t have to worry about taking several children to the emergency room for frostbite.
Conclusion to How to Store Dry Ice
It is not a good idea to store your dry ice in your kitchen freezer.
Don’t even store it in your garage freezer, either. Store dry ice in a cooler and place the cooler outside. Never touch dry ice with your bare hands.