Where To Buy Dry Ice And How To Use It

You can get dry ice near you, and you’ll be glad you did.

Dry ice isn’t as mysterious as you think. You can probably get it close to your house. And it’s pretty cheap. Let’s talk about where to find it and how to use it.

Where Do You Buy Dry Ice?

“Where can I buy dry ice near me?” That’s the most searched for question regarding dry ice on the internet. But it’s easier to find than you think.

Many grocery stores sell dry ice now, especially in summer. Any store that sells food may sell it if there is a demand in your area.

Many convenience stores sell it too. Small stores are more likely to sell dry ice if they are located near a lake, beach, forest or other place that people like to picnic at.

Science Fact: Dry Ice is actually solid carbon dioxide.

Look here to see where Penguin dry ice, the most widespread and common brand, is sold near you.

No matter where you live, you can buy dry ice online. It will be shipped right to your door in any quantity you want.

Did You Know? Dry Ice doesn’t melt. It sublimates, or evaporates, from a solid directly into a gas.

Where To Find Dry Ice In The Store

So, you want to know where to buy dry ice? First, it helps to call ahead. Make sure the store you’re going to sells dry ice.

Bring a picnic cooler with a tight-fitting lid and a pair of gloves with you.

Be Safe: Don’t let dry ice touch your bare skin. It can cause frostbite!

Check where the regular ice is. That’s usually near the front of the store. The dry ice will be in a big cooler that looks like a deep freezer.

You’ll probably need a store employee to help you. The dry ice cooler is often kept locked up. This is because dry ice can be dangerous if handled improperly.

Some stores keep their dry ice in the storeroom, away from the public. In this case, tell an employee how much you want. Be ready to show your ID. Some localities prohibit minors from buying dry ice.

How Much Does Dry Ice Cost?

One pound of dry ice costs from $1 to $3 at stores. That’s ten times more expensive than regular ice, but you usually only need a tenth as much. And dry ice can last much longer. It also cools things quicker and keeps them colder. You can even use dry ice to freeze meat!

There’s a trick you can use if you want to buy a lot of dry ice. Ask the store manager for a discount. Tell him that you may want to buy it regularly, but you want to see how it works for you.

How Is Dry Ice Sold?

Dry ice comes in two forms: blocks and pellets.

The blocks usually measure about 7″x4″ and are around 2″ thick. This is best for keeping things cold in a cooler because it lasts longer than pellets.

Fact: Dry Ice is cheap to make. It’s the shipping and storage that you pay for.

Dry ice pellets are about the size of rock salt pellets. They sublimate pretty quickly, but they are best for freezing stuff.

How Do You Use Dry Ice?

How you use it depends on what you want it to do.

The general rule is this: Dry ice on the bottom to keep things cold; dry ice on top to freeze everything below.

Let’s say you’re going on a picnic and want to use dry ice to keep your drinks, salads and lunch meats nice and cold all day. What you need to do is place some blocks of dry ice on the bottom of your cooler. Put a towel over the dry ice, then put your food on top. It’s simple. Use a few blocks for small and medium coolers, and six for those big ones.

Spooky Halloween Punch: Drop a block of dry ice in your punch bowl. It will bubble and smoke like a witch’s cauldron! Make sure everyone knows not to swallow any chunks of dry ice that may make it into their cup, though.

A special use for dry ice that regular ice isn’t good for is freezing.

What if you are on an all-day shopping trip, but you can’t run home after you visit every store? You’re meats will lose their freshness sitting in your car.

You can fill your cooler with meat, then lay a few bags of dry ice pellets on top. The dry ice will not only keep your meats fresh, it will begin the freezing process before you get anywhere near your freezer!

Make Your Own Dry Ice

This is kinda fun. It is possible to make your own, but it takes some work.

First, you need a cylinder of carbon dioxide gas. You can get it at a welding supply store or hardware store. You’ll also need a burlap bag and some twine.

And you absolutely have to do this outside. Carbon dioxide isn’t poisonous or anything, but you don’t want too much of it in your home’s air. It displaces oxygen.

Wear thick gloves, too. Remember that dry ice can cause frostbite if it touches your skin.

Safety Tip: Nitrile gloves, the ones people use for cleaning and washing dishes, are cheap and the best for handling dry ice.

Stand your carbon dioxide cylinder upright and use your twine to securely tie the burlap bag over the cylinder’s gas outlet. Now turn the valve on and step back.

That burlap bag will turn into a huge block of dry ice! Put it in a bag and use it like you would store-bought dry ice. When the dry ice is gone, you’ll have your burlap bag back.

How To Handle Dry Ice Safely

Follow these safety tips to avoid frostbite and CO2 buildup.

Always wear gloves when handling dry ice. Any gloves will protect your hands, but nitrile gloves are best.

If you put dry ice directly in drinks to cool them down quickly, be sure you don’t swallow any dry ice chunks. That can possibly cause frostbite in your throat.

When hauling a cooler with dry ice in it, it’s a good idea to have your car windows open. This will ensure that carbon dioxide doesn’t build up in your vehicle.

How do you know if there’s too much CO2 in your air from evaporated dry ice? You’ll feel short of breath, like you just got done exercising. If that happens, just get some fresh air and make sure there’s some ventilation where the dry ice is.

Here are some more safety tips for handling dry ice.


Dry ice can be a better choice for picnics, cookouts, and any other occasion that normally calls for ice to keep things cold. It’s not hard to find, and it’s really not that expensive when you think about how long it can last.

If you can’t find any dry ice at the stores by your home, just google “Where can I get dry ice near me.” You’ll likely be surprised at how close you can find it.

Next time you need ice, try dry ice instead. You may be happy you did!

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