Dry ice is a chemical called solid carbon dioxide, which is an extremely cold solid material of about -110ºF.
The dry ice available to buy is this chemical compressed into either pellets or bigger blocks.
Dry ice has many uses, including packaging cold goods but it must always be handled carefully.
- Dry ice should be used if the power outage is expected to last longer than the freezer and the refrigerator will last without power. A full freezer stays frozen for 2 days; a half-full freezer stays frozen for 1 day and refrigerators will keep food cold for 4-6 hours.
- In the freezer, place dry ice on top of items. Place a board above the items, and put the dry ice on top of the board.
- In the refrigerator, dry ice should be placed below the items.
- 2 ½ to 3 pounds of dry ice is needed per cubic foot of freezer space.
- Keep dry ice wrapped in paper. This extends the life of the dry ice and is done for safety.
- Dry ice should not be used in food or drinks, as it cannot and should not be eaten.
- After dry ice is in place, cover the freezer and refrigerator with blankets, ensuring the air vent openings are not covered.
- Fill the space around the refrigerator and freezer with newspaper.
- Do not open refrigerator doors unless necessary.
- Always wear protective gloves when handling dry ice–severe frostbite or skin burns can develop if hands are not protected. Protect exposed skin from touching the dry ice.
- Put a piece of cardboard or several layers of newspaper between dry ice and food. Place dry ice on top of cardboard with food below as dry ice will freeze any food that it touches.
- Use dry ice for saving freezer foods. Perishables such as milk, or other dairy products are apt to freeze completely in a very short time with dry ice. Use regular ice chests with block ice for perishables.
- Put your head directly into the freezer when using dry ice.
- Breathe in vapors–they can cause suffocation or extreme respiratory complications. Step back for a minute after opening the door to let vapors escape.
- Use dry ice in foods to give a special effect. This could result in severe mouth and throat burns if accidentally swallowed.
- Allow young children near dry ice.