Abrasive Blasting Option Guide

Abrasive Blasting

Polar Clean offers a wide array of industrial, commercial and restoration cleaning solutions to ensure that whatever, or wherever, the job, we’ve got the tools and expertise to get it done right.

While dry ice blasting is by far the most popular service we provide because of its unique effectiveness in challenging and delicate applications where a water-free cleaning method is called for, some jobs require a higher level of abrasion. Paint removal is a good example of a job where a more aggressive form of abrasive blasting may be needed.

Different types of abrasive blasting can provide the results you need, alone or in combination with dry ice blasting, based on the environment, the cleaning surface and the material to be removed. Whether we are removing adherents from petro-chemical and refinery equipment or stripping away decades of buildup as part of a historic train station restoration, our services always begin with a thorough consultation and assessment of your needs so we can provide you with the highest quality of clean without risk of damage – or unnecessary downtime. That includes a wide range of abrasive cleaning options.

Below is an overview of a few of the more than 200 different abrasive materials that can be used alone, or in combination with dry ice cleaning, along with the material’s ranking on the Mohs 0-10 hardness scale. Click here for a more in-depth comparison.


For jobs that require the most aggressive form of abrasive cleaning in a wet or dry formula, garnet is effective. Common applications include removal of paint, heavy rust, and stubborn coatings. Wet formulations are useful for applications where surfaces need to be kept cool throughout the process for minimizing dust. (Mohs 8)

Blasting Types - Dry Ice Blasting Garnet

Crushed Glass or Beads (chemical-free)

Crushed glass particles made from recycled glass bottles or beads provide an aggressive cleaning medium, effective for full paint removal or the removal of stubborn buildup or coatings, like roofing sealant splatter. Available as both wet and dry abrasive formulas. (Mohs 3-3.5 when used dry; 4-6 when wet)

Blasting Types - Dry Ice Blasting Wet Abrasive Crushed Glass or Beads
Blasting Types - Dry Ice Blasting Crushed Glass or Beads

Walnut Shells & Corn Cobs

For more stubborn forms of buildup, corn cobs and walnut shells provide a more aggressive from of clean while still using food-safe, environmentally friendly materials and a water-free clean. (Mohs 3-4.5)

Blasting Types - Dry Ice Blasting Walnut
Blasting Types - Dry Ice Blasting Corn Cobb

Baking Soda

Effective for food industry applications as well as for non-landscaped building exteriors. (The high pH of baking soda can harm some plants.) This is a dry blasting method effective for removing paint and other adherents from softer surfaces, including interior features like ornamental tin ceilings. (Mohs 2.5)

Blasting Types - Dry Ice Blasting Baking Soda

Aluminum Oxide

Often specified for removing stubborn mineral deposits on steam turbines, this finely graded abrasive is also effective for paint preparation because of its ability to leave a surface etched for superior adhesion. (Mohs 9)

Blasting Types - Dry Ice Blasting Garnet


We also partner with close affiliates to provide hydroblasting services when appropriate, which are sometimes used in combination with dry ice cleaning – in ethanol plants, for example, where piping that carries corn waste needs to be flushed through. Hydroblasting requires a lot of water, which has to be vacuumed out afterward but water’s ability to push through piping that includes 90° turns makes this method useful and complementary to dry ice blasting in certain circumstances.

The Right Method & Team for Your Industrial Cleaning Challenges

To learn more about the most effective cleaning method for your most challenging jobs, talk to one of our experts. With deep experience at managing the complex cleaning needs of industries that include manufacturing, power generation, food and beverage, and historic preservation, the Polar Clean team is committed to providing our clients with the most professional, exacting and cost-effective services available.

Contact us to learn more about abrasive commercial and industrial cleaning