How Long Does Dry Ice Last In A Cooler

Dry ice can be a perfect remedy for a lot of things around the household, but the question is how long does dry ice last in a cooler?

Before however we delve into this issue, it is important to delve into what dry ice is and its uses to see if it could assist you in your daily activities.

What Is Dry Ice?

Dry ice is a state of frozen carbon dioxide at -109.3 degrees fahrenheit which is lower than what we use to store regular ice. 

A positive through using dry ice is that it turns into carbon dioxide once it is melting which means there will be no melted water left behind like you would get with regular ice.

How Long Does Dry Ice Last In A Cooler

Uses Of Dry Ice

Dry ice can have a variety of uses that vary from the more common to the more unusual. 

The most common of these uses is using dry ice for food storage. If you have an abundance of food that requires storage for an extended period of time, such as for a party, then dry ice can be a very economical way to preserve your food. It is important to make sure that your dry ice is not frost covered as this will just add moisture to your food. 

An unlikely usage of dry ice is that it can be used to remove floor tiles. Yes you heard that right, dry ice can be an easy cost effective solution to removing the gnarly looking tiles in your bathroom. The dry ice works by loosening the tiles as they will begin to freeze and shrink a little which allows them to be removed with ease without having to spend any money on labour. 

How Long Does Dry Ice Last In A Cooler?

The storage time of dry ice will depend on several factors. Two of the most common factors will be the size of the dry ice block and its storage condition.

On most occasions, the dry ice will only last for 18-24 hours. However, if you maintain it the right way, you will be able to extend this period for a couple of days.

Here are four factors that will affect the longevity of your dry ice.

Storage Condition

Storing dry ice in a regular ice cooler that has less insulation will mean that your dry ice may only last for only 6-7 hours.

Upgrading your storage to a hard ice cooler with adequate insulation means your ice could last for 16-24 hours or possibly even longer.

It is also important to store the ice in pile forms to avoid sublimation.

How Long Does Dry Ice Last In A Cooler

Empty Spaces In The Cooler

Empty spaces within your cooler invite sublimation which may sublimate the dry ice faster. Ultimately, the larger the space present in the ice cooler, the faster the dry ice will melt off.

If you do not have much dry ice in your possession, then try to store it in a smaller ice cooler to create less space which will allow the ice to last longer.

Keeping Dry Ice At The Top Of The Cooler

Keeping dry ice at the top of your cooler will cause it to sublimate faster. Dry ice located at the top of the cooler will only be able to last for 3-5 hours. 

To avoid this you should pile your dry ice at the bottom of the cooler. This is because heat rises so therefore keeping your dry ice at the bottom will mean it will avoid this heating effect and last for longer hours.

The Amount Of Dry Ice You Have 

Storing a small amount of dry ice within your cooler can drastically reduce the amount of time it will stay frozen for. Small amounts of dry ice may only last for as little as 2-3 hours within your cooler.

Having small amounts of dry ice links in with having empty spaces within your cooler as small amounts of ice will open up large open spaces within your freezer.

Therefore purchasing large amounts of dry ice at a time will allow you to reduce empty spaces within your cooler. This in turn would allow your dry ice to last longer than it would if it was bought in small amounts.

How Long Does Dry Ice Last In A Cooler

How Do You Make Dry Ice Keep Longer In The Cooler?

So you have been suffering from these issues and you want your dry ice to keep for longer. Here are some tips and tricks that will allow your dry ice to keep for longer so it can suit your needs.

Cover The Dry Ice With Cardboard And Newspaper

By covering the dry ice with cardboard and newspaper, this will help to keep the ice secure within the cooler. Giving the ice this cover will provide it with insulation which can help to avoid quick sublimation of the ice.

Polybags are a great upgrade to cardboard and newspaper as these will make a greater effort at keeping your ice insulated which in turn will make the dry ice last longer.

Cover The Inner Side Of The Cooler With Aluminum Foil

By covering the inner wall of your cooler with aluminum foil, this will allow for greater insulation which will in turn keep your dry ice frozen for a prolonged amount of time. 

How Long Does Dry Ice Last In A Cooler

Using A Large Amount Of Dry Ice

When you purchase dry ice it will usually come in a bag weighing either 1 pound or 5 pounds. To keep the ice for a longer amount of time, use larger dry ice bags such as 5lbs. 

Holding more ice within your storage means a decreased chance of sublimation. This will then in turn allow the ice to store for a longer amount of time. 

Use Double Walled Insulated Cooler 

Double walled ice coolers can help to keep dry ice for a prolonged period of time. Bubble wrap insulated walls can also be great to keep the dry ice for a longer time.

Final Thoughts

Dry ice is widely used for transportation, creating special smoky effects and chilling drinks. However, it will only last about 18-24 hours depending on factors such as storage type, size, amount of ice and many more.

Therefore, if you wish to keep the ice for longer than 24 hours, it is vitally important to follow the tips above. These tips will help you to store dry ice for longer than 3 days.

Eric Willis
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