Dry ice is excellent for beverages and for transporting frozen food from one place to another. But the question is, how long does dry ice last in an ice cooler? When will the dry ice be driven out completely or last longer?
Dry ice can last longer than 18 to 24 hours if used properly in a standard-sized ice cooler. However, maintaining the dry ice properly can even last for 3-4 days in a large ice cooler.
It may even last longer if you use the dry ice block in the form of piles. However, certain other factors can affect the storage of ice for a longer time. You can read this guide to understand how to use dry ice in a cooler.
In this article, you’ll study various factors that can affect dry ice storage and what you can do to keep dry ice for a longer time.
Let’s get started…
Table of Contents
What is Dry Ice?
Dry ice is a state of frozen carbon dioxide at -109.3°F, which is lower than we use to store the regular ice.
The dry ice freezers are much colder than the regular ice freezer, and it is generally used to transport frozen things and chill beverages for a longer duration.
In addition to this, the dry ice turns into carbon dioxide gas once it starts melting. So, it doesn’t leave any residue or melted water behind, which can create a mess.
However, depending on the size of the dry ice blocks you use and the type of cooler, it can last long days if stored the right way.
How Long Does Dry Ice Last in Cooler?
The storage time of the dry ice will depend on several factors, out of which two common factors are the size of the dry ice block and its storage condition.
Usually, the dry ice only lasts longer, for 18-24 hours. But if you maintain it the right way, you can enhance it for a couple of days.
1. Storage Condition
If you store the ice in the regular ice cooler that has less insulation, the dry ice may only last longer for 6-7 hours.
But if you keep them dry ice in a hard ice cooler with adequate insulation, then it may last for 16-24 hours and even more.
However, on the other hand, if you leave the dry ice blocks into an open box, they are usually vaporized off within 3-5 hours.
Also, the dry ice can quickly sublimate when it is immersed in the liquid, and during this, it can even sublimate within 10-15 minutes.
That is why it is advised to keep the ice cooler dry as much as possible before you store it dry into the cooler. It would be great if you store the ice in a large cooler.
Moreover, you can also store the dry ice in the form of piles to avoid sublimation.
Dry ice converts directly from a solid into a gas, so it doesn’t make anything wet or leave any mess.
2. The thickness of the Ice Cooler
The thickness of the ice cooler walls can also impact the storage time of the dry ice. The cooler with a minimum insulation thickness wall can only hold the dry ice for 5-7 hours.
But the cooler with a double insulated wall and maximum thickness can help hold the dry ice for 18-24 hours and even for days.
Ideally, prefer to have those ice coolers that offer you three inches thick insulated walls so that you can keep the ice cool for a longer time. By using the thick insulated ice cooler, you can keep the ice for longer.
3. Amount of the Dry Ice You Store
The amount of the dry ice you use to store in the ice cooler can also be considered the prime factor that shows how long your dry ice lasts longer.
If you store a small amount of dry ice in the ice cooler, it may only last longer for a few hours or just for 2-3 hours.
If you keep a small amount of the dry ice in the cooler, there will be a large space. This is the prime reason for fast sublimation.
So, it is always preferable to store a large amount of dry food at one time.
If you store a large amount of ice, then the process of sublimation slows down, which in turn helps to keep the ice dry for more than 24 hours.
Moreover, you can also use the large ice cooler with double insulated walls to keep the ice for a few days.
4. The Empty Spaces in the Cooler
Space invites sublimation, which may sublimate the dry ice faster. The larger the space present in the ice cooler, the faster dry ice will melt off.
Therefore, if you have less dry ice, try to store it in the small ice cooler as there will be less space and allow you to keep the ice cool for the last longer.
The air spaces make the dry ice sublimate faster, which can eventually be prevented by putting extra ice or using a small ice cooler.
5. Keeping Dry Ice at the Top in Cooler
If you keep the dry ice on the top of the ice cooler, it may sublimate faster. The dry ice present on the top can only last longer, for 3-5 hours.
But the dry ice that is present at the bottom of the ice cooler can stay for longer hours.
Therefore, if you want your dry ice to last for 24 hours or a couple of days, always pile up the ice at the bottom of the cooler. This will help avoid the heating effect and help to store the dry ice for a longer time.
How to Make Dry Ice Stays for Longer in the Cooler?
If you want to ship something to a distant place, dry ice would be great for transportation as it melts off slowly and doesn’t create a mess. It will sublimate and turn into gas. So, if you want those dry ices to stay for a longer time, you can follow these simple tricks.
1. Cover the Dry Ice with Cardboards/Newspaper
Covering the dry ice with cardboard and newspaper can help in keeping the ice for the last longer. Giving it a cover helps improve the insulation, which helps avoid quick sublimation of the ice.
It would be great if you wrapped the ice with polybags to maintain the insulation.
2. Use a Large Amount of Dry Ice
Dry ice either comes in the bag of 1 pound or 5 pounds. If you want to keep the ice for a longer time, use larger dry ice bags such as 5lbs.
The more quantity you store the fewer chances of sublimation. This, in turn, helps to store the dry ice for a longer time.
3. Use Double Walled Insulated Cooler
Having a double-walled ice cooler can help keep the dry ice for a longer time. You can also prefer to have the ice cooler with 2-3 inches thicker insulated walls for keeping the dry ice for 2-3 days long. Bubble wrap insulated walls can also be great to keep the dry ice for a longer time.
4. Pre-freeze the Items Before Storing
When you want to store the dry ice to transport the food and beverages to a distance, then make sure to freeze the things overnight before you store them in a cooler with the dry ice.
Pre-freezing is helpful to avoid heat trouble which in turn helps to avoid fast sublimation and keep the dry ice for a longer time.
5. Cover the Inner Side of Cooler with Aluminum Foil
Covering the inner wall of the ice cooler with aluminum foil is great for enhancing the insulation and keeping the ice dry for a longer time.
Dry ice is widely used for transportation, chilling drinks, and creating special smoky effects. However, it usually lasts longer for about 18-24 hours or depending on the factors like storage type, amount of ice, size, and many more.
So, if you wish to keep the ice for longer than 24 hours, follow the hacks mentioned above. The tips and tricks are helpful to store the dry ice for more than three days.