Vapor Blasting 101:

What It Is, Why You Should Use It and the Best Equipment for the Job


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Equipment, pricing, and the mobile blasting business opportunity.



What is vapor blasting? This is a question that we hear all the time from people who are looking to clean surfaces in a more efficient and environmentally-friendly way. Often times, people use the terms vapor blasting, slurry blasting and wet blasting interchangeably, but they actually all mean different things. Let's take a look at what vapor blasting actually is, how it works, why it's different from other methods and what equipment is used.

What is vapor blasting?

Vapor blasting is a process that uses high pressure water to clean surfaces. It's a blasting method that is perfect for removing paint, coatings, corrosion and other debris from surfaces. Vapor blasting machines use a mixture of water and blast media inside the blast pot. By introducing water to the media, less dust is produced than traditional sandblasting which allows professionals in the surface restoration industry to take on jobs without disturbing people or objects around them. Adding water also adds mass to the abrasive particles which makes them more effective at removing coatings without damaging the surface underneath.

Vapor blasting cars


The Differences Between Vapor Blasting, Slurry Blasting and Wet/Dustless Blasting

What differentiates these three blasting methods is how the mix is delivered from the pot, to the hose and out of the blast nozzle. Vapor blasters use water pressure within the pot to force the mix out and into the blast hose where it is then carried out to the nozzle by compressed air. This is different from our Dustless Blasting machines, also known as Venturi blasting equipment, that forces a stream of high-pressure air through the pot, carrying the media and water mixture out of the blast pot together and into the hose. Slurry blasting machines take traditional dry abrasive blasting technology and add water at the nozzle for dust suppression. This method means the media isn't soaked in water inside of the pot.

Vapor Blasting vs wet blasting vs slurry blasting

Learn more about the differences between vapor, slurry and dustless blasting here.



Each of these blasting techniques are useful in their own way depending on the job and what media needs to be used. If you're going to be a professional in the surface preparation industry, it's important to know when each method is appropriate.


Sandblasting log homes with a Dustless Blasting machine

Sandblasting uses dry abrasive materials without including water in the blast pot or at the nozzle. This method is great for jobs that call for an organic abrasive like restoring log homes with corncob or walnut shells. It's also better to dry blast when the job has hard to reach places that can be difficult to clean wet media out of (for example: the inside of a vehicle or engine parts). However, dry blasting creates friction and heat that can lead to warping body panels or thin metal surfaces.


Vapor Blasting

Vapor Blasting a car

Unlike dry blasting, vapor blasting should be used if warping is a concern because the water acts as a coolant and drastically reduces the heat. Wet blasting also is great for jobs in residential areas or where creating a large plume of dust would be a concern. Dustless Blasters are called out to marinas regularly because of their ability to restore boats without damaging the other boats nearby.


Soda Blasting

Soda blasting smoke damage with a dustless blasting machine

Soda blasting is a blasting method that uses baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate to clean or leave a surface smooth. Soda blasting is great for cleaning, removing chemicals and fire restoration jobs. Each of these blasting methods have specific uses and applications.

Learn more about the differences between these blasting techniques here

wet Blasting Equipment

Many options exist for wet 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. Our venturi suction method allows you to store water and media within the pressurized blast pot without having to worry about clogging. You'll notice faster production rates with these machines due to the force of high-pressure air through the pot that carries the media and water mixture to the hose. The removal process is typically faster when your media is weighted down with water then it would be with dry air.

Dustless Blasting Equipment is best for Vapor BlastingLearn more how to get started with blasting by improving your existing business, tackling a specific project, or starting your own mobile Dustless Blasting business.

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.

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VAPOR Blasting Media

Blast media or abrasive media are the particles that break away contaminants from the surface. Today, there are numerous abrasives to choose from depending on what you're blasting and how you want the surface to be left afterwards. You'll need to consider several things when choosing media.


Every abrasive comes in different sizes. Most abrasive is measured with mesh size. During production, it gets shaken through various screens. These screens might have as little as 20 holes per square inch, or as many as 100. This means that 40/70 glass fits through the 40–70 holes per square inch screens. 20/40 glass is coarser than 40/70, and 60/100 glass is finer.

Vapor Blasting Abrasive


Basically, there are two different shapes: angular which has sharp edges, and round with no edges. Angular abrasive has sharp edges which will cut into the substrate, leaving a surface profile for the new finish to stick to. Examples of angular shaped media would be crushed glass, slags and garnet abrasives to name a few. Round media is used mainly for cleaning or stripping while leaving the surface smooth. It will not rough up the surface or leave an anchor profile. Examples of round blasting media would be glass beads, sugar sand and plastic pellets.


Understanding the weight or bulk density of the media you are using will also help decide which is best for the process. The heavier the media, the more impact it has on the surface you are blasting.

For wet blasting, you can use any abrasive media as long as it's clean, consistent and sinks in water. The most cost effective and popular choice media is 40/70 recycled bottle glass because it's environmentally friendly, chemically inert and contains less than 1% free silica. Other vapor blasting medias include:

  • crushed glass
  • garnet
  • glass beads
  • coal slag
  • plastic
  • aluminum oxide
  • steel grit

Vapor Blasting media


Vapor Blasting applications and uses

There are endless uses and applications that call for vapor blasting. Home owners, municipalities and local businesses everywhere need wet blasters who can remove paint, rust and contaminants from a variety of surfaces without creating the massive dust plume that dry blasting produces. Here are a few common industries and applications that call for wet blasting.

Vapor Blasting Fleet Vehicles

Checkout this blog post to learn more about what you can vapor blast


Vapor Blasting Applications

Learn more about what you can vapor blast.



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. It can be dangerous to blast a soft surface with a harder abrasive.

Always practice safety precautions and containment for any blasting operation. This includes Personal Protection Equipment for all workers.

vapor blasting protective gear

Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Always where the proper protective equipment. We recommend the RPB Nova 3 Blast Respirator.
  2. Use Containment - Read Containment and Cleanup Tips for ideas
  3. Be aware of OSHA guidelines related to abrasive blasting.

How do i contain and clean up after the job?

After vapor blasting, you'll have wet abrasive media and other contaminants to deal with. If you're able to setup some kind of containment before you blast, it will make the cleanup process much easier. Most blasters lay plastic underneath or around whatever they're blasting. Once the job is complete, they can roll it up and properly dispose of it. A power broom is a great tool to have if you aren't able to contain. 

Containing a boat for sandblasting

Cleaning up spent media

Containment for vapor blasting

Click here to check out our Containment and Cleanup Tips Video for some additional suggestions on making clean up easy.


FAQs about Vapor Blasting

Vapor Blasting Questions


By using the Dustless Blasting Rust Inhibitor, you can prevent flash rust for up to 72 hours. This product decreases the water's surface tension, allowing it to penetrate the pores of the surface and remove contamination, including slats, acids, light oils and grease. Add the inhibitor to the blast water to prevent flash rust during blasting, and then use it as a rinse after blasting is complete.

Rust inhibitor

Does Dustless blasting warp metal?

No. Water reduces friction and heat that traditional sandblasting usually causes, which creates warping. However, you still need to come at the object at an angle and the right amount of pressure. Always start at low pressure and increase when needed.

I just have a small project. is there a dustless blaster near me?

There are lots of mobile Dustless Blasting equipment owners. Do a quick search for Dustless Blasting near me.

I have a car that needs to be blaSted, should i vapor blast it or dry blast it?

We recommend wet blasting body panels, chassis and all other exterior parts on vehicles. You'll be able to remove paint, primer, rust and body filler in just one step by vapor blasting. Water reduces friction and heat that traditional sandblasting usually causes, which creates warping. However, if you're blasting the inside of a car, we recommend doing that dry so you're able to easily blow out the spent media from hard to reach places.

Is vapor Blasting bad for the environment?

Vapor blasting is much more environmentally friendly compared to traditional sandblasting and is also safer for the blaster. We recommend using 40/70 recycled bottle glass as an abrasive, which is chemically inert, environmentally friendly and contain less than 1% free silica.

Can vapor Blasting remove powder coating?

Yes. Dustless Blasting customers remove powder coating regularly with these machines.


The Dustless Blasting Business Opportunity

Start a dustless blasting business

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.

Free Download

The Complete Dustless Blasting Catalog

Explore pricing, equipment, the industry, and everything you need to know.