The Ultimate Guide to Soda Blasting: Everything You Need to Know
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Soda blasting is a trusted form of Abrasive Blasting that uses baking soda as its abrasive to clean, remove paint, and remove grease, leaving your surface clean and looking like new. Soda blasting is generally considered safer, non toxic, and more environmentally friendly than traditional methods like sandblasting, making it the perfect choice for cleaning sensitive surfaces or delicate substrates. In this guide, we will talk about what soda blasting is, applications and uses, soda blasting equipment, soda blasting media, the soda blasting process, and more. Let's get started!
What is Soda blasting and How Does it Work?
Soda blasting is a form of abrasive blasting that uses sodium bicarbonate (also known as "soda" or "baking soda") as the abrasive media. The soda particles are forcibly propelled against a surface using compressed air or water.
Soda blasting is typically considered a milder form of abrasive blasting.
The benefits of soda blasting
Baking soda is considered a soft abrasive. It is typically harder than the surface contaminant, but softer than the substrate. One of the most important differences between blasting with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) - versus blasting with any other abrasive media - is that baking soda’s attributes allow it to remove contaminants without damaging the underlying substrate.
Soft abrasive blasting is excellent for cleaning materials which need to be reused. For example, remanufacturing where you don’t want to change tolerances of a part. Also, cleaning machinery on a regular basis, including food processing equipment, without causing extra wear. Soda is also water soluble making sure no abrasive remains in critical areas.
What can I Soda Blast - Soda Blasting Uses and Applications
If you need to clean or remove coatings efficiently and effectively on a delicate surface – Soda Blasting is the way to go. You'll most often see soda blasting in cleaning applications because it will leave smooth surfaces and won't leave a rough texture or anchor profile.
There are quite a few uses for soda blasting. These include:
- Paint removal
- Protective coating removal
- Cleaning in food processing facilities
- Stripping and cleaning car frames and parts
- Graffiti removal
- Oil Removal
- Maritime Applications – boat hulls or boat hull cleaning
- Cleaning carbon, grease and grime from parts
- Historical restoration
- Cleaning masonry
- Wood restoration, stripping, and cleaning
- Removing street lines from roads
- Fire restoration / soot remediation
- Mold removal and restoration
- Cleaning rolls in printing presses
- Gum removal
- Cleaning drilling heads in the oil & gas industry
- Removing calcium deposits from metal
- Industrial equipment maintenance
Soda blasting may also be used in various types of blasting cabinets when blasting smaller items.
Check out our article "Uses for Soda Blasting" to learn more.
Soda Blasting Equipment
Many options exist for soda blasting equipment. The American made Dustless Blasting Equipment line is one of the best options on the market – giving you the versatility to switch between dry blasting, wet blasting, and soda blasting applications.
Learn more how to get started with blasting by improving your existing business, tackling a specific project, or starting your own mobile Dustless Blasting business.
You typically need 5 things to get started with soda blasting.
- An air compressor that can generate the required CFM for your nozzle side and desired blast pressure.
- An Air Cooler and Moisture Separator to prevent the media from clogging or clumping.
- A blast pot, blast hose, and a blast nozzle.
- Sodium Bicarbonate, or other blast media.
- Personal Protective Equipment or "PPE"
Dustless Blasting Equipment is an all-in-one system on a mobile trailer or flatbed truck, that you can use for soda blasting, wet blasting, and dry blasting applications.
If you already own an air compressor, they also offer blast pots and Air Drying and Cooling Solutions.
Blasting Cabinets are typically designed to recycle abrasives. Unlike other forms of media, Soda media is a single-pass media, meaning it cannot be recycled and used again. In addition, the dust created during the blasting process greatly reduces visibility inside cabinet. However, there are blast cabinet systems specifically designed for blasting soda that address these issues. It's best to have a blast cabinet dedicated to soda basting instead of trying to retrofit a cabinet designed for recycling abrasive.
With the popularity of soda blasting and other types of abrasive blasting, be cautious of manufacturers and retailers offering low quality equipment trying to make a quick buck.
Click here to read our blog post on Soda Blast Equipment: Everything you Need to Start Blasting
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Soda Blasting Media – Sodium Bicarbonate aka "Baking Soda"
With regards to abrasive blasting, people often use the common term "sandblasting", but there are several types of other blast media that can be used.
As we've previously mentioned, soda blasting refers to a type of abrasive blasting that uses "soda" or Sodium Bicarbonate.
Soda has some important uses, but it's not perfect. Sodium Bicarbonate can't be recycled or reused like other abrasives that can – silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, garnet, plastic beads, steel shot, steel grit, etc.
One of the most important differences between abrasive blasting with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) versus abrasive blasting with any other abrasive medias are that baking soda’s attributes allow it to remove contaminants without surface damage to the underlying substrate.
Sodium bicarbonate is considered a softer abrasive blasting media. On the MOHS Scale of hardness (1-10), the sodium bicarbonate particles have an average rating of 2.4. This is less likely to leave a surface profile on the material you're blasting and makes it a good choice for delicate substrates. In addition, Soda will not leave particle residue embedded on the surface profile and is water soluble.
Soda Blasting and Rust
For best results, after blasting we always recommend a rinse with a rust inhibitor and getting your primer coat on as quickly as possible to prevent flash rusting. Dustless Blasting equipment allows you to mix rust inhibitor in your blast pot or use air tool attachments to quickly lay down a coat of primer after blasting.
However, Soda blasting sodium bicarbonate can act as a natural rust inhibitor and prevent flash rusting. It can actually leave a coating on the metal that will inhibit rust for a period of time.
Costs of Soda Blasting
Soda blasting can be slightly more expensive than other blast media. When possible it's best to use equipment that allows you to use a wide variety of abrasives and consider a cheaper abrasive like recycled glass.
Will soda blasting damage plants, grass, or other flora?
While soda is considered non-toxic and environmentally friendly, you still need to exercise caution when blasting near plant life. Best practice is to set up containment and prevent the blast media from contacting the plants.
Blasting Soda or Sodium Bicarbonate can be purchased from any vendor that sells other types of blasting material or blast media.
While all baking soda is chemically the same, it's recommended to avoid regular baking soda from the grocery store and purchase blast media specifically formulated and manufactured for soda blasting applications.
SODA AS A BLAST MEDIA
Learn more about using Sodium Bicarbonate for blasting applications.
READ THE ARTICLE
Safety tips for Abrasive Blasting
Consideration should aways be given to what type of coating is being removed, what type of abrasive is being used, and what environment you're blasting in.
Always practice safety precautions and containment for any blasting operation. This includes Personal Protection Equipment for all workers.
Dustless Blasting machines are capable of both wet (dustless) and dry blasting applications, making it a very versatile tool.
While wet blasting is preferred for dust suppression, there are occasions where dry blasting (like soda blasting) is appropriate.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Always where the proper protective equipment. We recommend the RPB Nova 3 Blast Respirator.
- Use Containment - Read Containment and Cleanup Tips for ideas
- Be aware of OSHA guidelines related to abrasive blasting.
Containment: How to clean up after soda blasting
A soda blaster can be used wet or dry. When used wet, the water acts as a dust suppressant and the dust will typically fall in 10-15ft of the work area. However, when blasting dry, containment for the dust is typically required.
There are some tips and tricks like dropping 6 mil plastic sheet down in your blasting area. Afterwards, you can cut the sheet into sections, and roll them up for easy disposal. Also, if you don't want to haul away spent media and debris when the job is done, consider using a debris pickup service.
Click here to check out our Containment and Cleanup Tips Video for some additional suggestions on making clean up easy.
FAQs about Soda Blasting
Do I need a special nozzle for soda blasting?
For any sand blasting equipment, nozzle selection is very important for getting optimal results. Make sure your air compressor can always provide the appropriate amount of air needed for the nozzle size and type you using. Inadequate air supply can greatly reduce performance and efficiency.
Click here to learn more about abrasive blasting nozzles.
I just have a small project. Who can I call to soda blast for me?
There are lots of mobile Dustless Blasting equipment owners. Do a quick search for Dustless Blasting near me.
Is Soda Blasting considered a non destructive method?
Yes! Soda Blasting is considered a non-destructive method for many applications in cleaning, paint stripping, and equipment maintenance.
Is Soda Blasting bad for the environment?
Soda blasting is considered safer, and non-hazardous especially when comparing to alternatives like chemical solvents that can be caustic and harmful to your health.
Can Soda Blasting remove powder coating?
Yes. The Soda Blasting process can remove powder coat, but Dustless Blasting (wet abrasive blasting) with recycled bottle glass will be more efficient and yield better results.
Check out this video to see Dustless Blasting removing powder coating.
Is soda blasting just baking soda?
All baking soda is chemically the same, however, you should purchase soda special manufactured for blasting applications.
What is better, soda blasting or sandblasting?
It really depends on the project, the environment, and other factors. Soda blasting and sandblasting can be used for a lot of the same applications and projects. Blast equipment, like Dustless Blasting, that can provide you with a wide variety of blasting uses, abrasives, and applications to tackle any job is probably your best option.
Click here to Read our blog post about Soda Blasting vs Sandblasting.
Can soda blasting remove rust?
Soda blasting is only useful for removing light surface rust. It will not bring the surface back to bare metal. Dustless Blasting with recycled glass will be extremely effective for removing rust.
Click here to Read our SODA BLASTING FAQ BLOG POST
The Dustless Blasting Business Opportunity
If you're ready for a change and want to control your future – Dustless Blasting is pioneering a brand new industry – mobile blasting and cleaning. With versatile equipment that is made to move, you can offer a wide variety of onsite services.
Here is what inspired us to create this exciting business opportunity:
- Revenue Potential: The mobile paint stripping and cleaning industry is valued at over $10 billion annually, with strong year-over-year growth.
- High Demand: Look around. Everything is painted, rusty, or dirty. The demand for this service is everywhere, but providers are few and far between.
- Low Overhead / Startup Costs: You can start a business for around $50,000!
- Quick Startup Time: You can be operational in days — not weeks or months.
- High Margins: Need we say more?
- Scalable Growth: It’s easy to scale your business by adding trailers and crew as you grow.
- Smart Risk: We give you the best of both worlds. Benefit from a community of business owners, marketing support, and a trusted brand to help you succeed — all without franchise fees.
Did we mention it's not a franchise?
You work hard for your money, so we believe you should keep all the profits.
- No ongoing fees
- No corporate limitations
- No territories
- Keep 100% of your profits
We believe in setting you up for success, so you can count on training, support, marketing materials, and advertising services.
Click here to download our catalog for more information about Dustless Blasting Equipment, Pricing, and starting a mobile blasting business.
The Complete Dustless Blasting Catalog
Explore pricing, equipment, the industry, and everything you need to know.