Where to Buy Dry Ice: A Comprehensive Guide

Dry ice is a popular and versatile substance used in various industries and activities, from food preservation and transportation to special effects in movies and science experiments. It is important to know where to buy dry ice to ensure its availability when needed. In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about buying dry ice, including its uses, safety precautions, and where to buy it.

If you’re wondering where to buy dry ice, look no further. This ultimate guide has got you covered! Dry ice, or frozen carbon dioxide, has a multitude of uses, from preserving food to creating special effects at events.

What is Dry Ice?

Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide. It is formed when carbon dioxide gas is compressed and cooled to a temperature of -109.3°F (-78.5°C), which causes it to freeze into a solid state. Dry ice does not melt into a liquid when it is warmed, instead, it sublimates from a solid directly into a gas.

Why Use Dry Ice?

Dry ice is used for many different purposes. It is often used as a refrigerant to keep things cold during transportation, such as food or medical supplies. Dry ice is also used in the entertainment industry for special effects, and in science experiments for its unique properties.

Safety Precautions When Handling Dry Ice

Dry ice can be dangerous if not handled properly. It is extremely cold and can cause frostbite or burns if it comes into contact with the skin. It can also cause asphyxiation if used in a confined space. It is important to wear protective gloves and eyewear when handling dry ice, and to always use it in a well-ventilated area.

Types of Dry Ice

There are two types of dry ice: block dry ice and pellet dry ice. Block dry ice is a solid block of dry ice, while pellet dry ice is small, bead-like pellets of dry ice. Both types are made from compressed carbon dioxide, but they differ in size and shape.

Block Dry Ice

Block dry ice is the more common form of dry ice and is typically sold in 10-pound blocks. These blocks are solid and can be cut into smaller pieces as needed. Block dry ice is often used for cooling and freezing applications, such as in the transportation of perishable goods or in ice cream production. It can also be used for special effects in the entertainment industry.

Pellet Dry Ice

Pellet dry ice, also known as nugget dry ice, is made by taking block dry ice and breaking it into small, pellet-sized pieces. Pellet dry ice is often used in dry ice blasting, a cleaning process that uses compressed air to shoot dry ice pellets at a surface to remove dirt, grime, and other debris. Pellet dry ice is also used in the transportation of perishable goods and for special effects in the entertainment industry.

Where to Buy Dry Ice

Dry ice can be purchased from various suppliers, including grocery stores, gas stations, and industrial suppliers. Here are some options for where to buy dry ice:

Grocery Stores and Supermarkets

Believe it or not, many grocery stores and supermarkets carry dry ice, typically in the form of block dry ice. Some stores may require advance notice or a minimum purchase amount. You might find it near the regular ice or in a separate freezer section. Be sure to call ahead, though, as not all locations stock it. Some popular chains known for carrying dry ice include Walmart, Safeway, and Kroger.

Industrial Gas Suppliers

Industrial suppliers typically sell dry ice in larger quantities and may offer delivery services. Industrial gas suppliers, such as Airgas and Praxair, often sell dry ice. These companies cater to businesses that require large quantities, but they typically also offer smaller amounts to individual customers. To find a local supplier, simply search online for “industrial gas supplier” and the name of your city or town.

Specialty Ice Shops

Specialty ice shops sell various types of ice, including dry ice. These stores are rarer than grocery stores and industrial gas suppliers, but they’re worth a try if you’re in need of a specific type or size of dry ice. Simply search for “specialty ice shop” and your location to find one nearby.

Online Retailers

In today’s digital age, you can also purchase dry ice online. Websites like DryIceDelivered.com and PenguinDryIce.com offer shipping directly to your doorstep. Keep in mind, though, that shipping costs may be higher due to the need for expedited delivery and special packaging.

Tips for Buying Dry Ice

When buying dry ice, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Quantity: Determine how much dry ice you will need before purchasing. Dry ice sublimates quickly, so it is important to use it as soon as possible after purchasing.
  • Quality: Check the quality of the dry ice before purchasing. Look for dry ice that is clear and solid, without any signs of cracking or dryness.
  • Packaging: Make sure the dry ice is packaged properly for transportation. It should be wrapped in newspaper or another insulating material and placed in a well-ventilated container.

How to Store Dry Ice

Dry ice should be stored in a well-ventilated area, such as a cooler with a lid that is not completely sealed. Do not store dry ice in an airtight container, as the carbon dioxide gas that is released as it sublimates can cause the container to burst.

Using Dry Ice

Dry ice is a versatile substance that can be used in many different ways. Here are some common uses for dry ice:

  • Food preservation: Dry ice can be used to keep food and drinks cold during transportation or outdoor events. Simply place the dry ice in a cooler or insulated container with the food or drinks.
  • Special effects: Dry ice can be used to create fog or smoke effects in movies or theatrical productions. Place the dry ice in a container with hot water to create a dramatic smoke effect. Create fog, smoke, or other atmospheric effects for events, theater productions, and haunted houses.
  • Science experiments: Dry ice can be used in science experiments to demonstrate sublimation or to create a “screaming” balloon effect.
  • Cleaning: Dry ice blasting is a method of cleaning that uses dry ice pellets to remove dirt, grime, and other debris from surfaces.

Disposing of Dry Ice

Dry ice will eventually sublimate and turn into carbon dioxide gas. However, it is important to dispose of dry ice properly to avoid any accidents. Here are some tips for disposing of dry ice:

  • Allow the dry ice to sublimate in a well-ventilated area. Do not dispose of dry ice in a trash can or other closed container.
  • If you need to dispose of dry ice quickly, place it in a bowl or bucket of warm water. The warm water will cause the dry ice to sublimate more quickly.
  • Do not dispose of dry ice in a sink or toilet. The rapid sublimation of the dry ice can cause pipes to burst.


Is dry ice safe to use in food and drinks?

Yes, dry ice is safe to use in food and drinks as long as it is used properly and not ingested.

How long does dry ice last?

Dry ice typically lasts for 24-36 hours, depending on the amount and how it is stored.

Can I transport dry ice in a car?

Yes, dry ice can be transported in a car, but it should be placed in a well-ventilated container and not left in a closed car for an extended period of time.

Can dry ice be reused?

No, dry ice cannot be reused. Once it has sublimated, it is no longer effective.

Is it necessary to wear protective gear when handling dry ice?

Yes, it is necessary to wear protective gloves and eyewear when handling dry ice to prevent frostbite and burns.

How much does dry ice cost?

The cost of dry ice varies depending on the location and quantity purchased. On average, it ranges from $1 to $3 per pound.

What precautions should I take when handling dry ice?

Always wear protective gloves and use tongs when handling dry ice. Never touch it with your bare hands, as it can cause severe frostbite.

How should I store dry ice?

Store dry ice in a well-insulated container, such as a cooler or styrofoam box, and keep it in a well-ventilated area.


Knowing where to buy dry ice is important for anyone who needs this versatile substance for their business, hobby, or personal use. Dry ice can be purchased from various suppliers, including grocery stores, gas stations, and industrial suppliers. When handling dry ice, it is important to take safety precautions and to use it in a well-ventilated area. With the information provided in this guide, you should be able to buy, store, and use dry ice safely and effectively.

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