Can You Refreeze Dry Ice?

Can You Refreeze Dry Ice

Dry ice has a low temperature, and you might want to keep it in the freezer. Although the freezer is a lot colder than room temperature, can you actually refreeze dry ice? And, if not, what else can you do to make it last longer?

You cannot refreeze dry ice or store it in the freezer. Its temperature (-78 d C) is lower than the freezer’s, so it will eventually turn into gas. Also, dry ice can cause damage to the freezer and mess with its thermostat, causing it shut down. A better idea is to store it in insulated coolers.

The benefits of dry ice are uncountable, but it can be hard to prevent it from perishing. Nonetheless, with the correct precautionary steps, you can make it stay longer than usual. If you want more information regarding it, continue reading.

Is It A Good Idea To Refreeze Dry Ice?

Dry ice has a wide array of uses, ranging from industrial and commercial to consumer uses. People frequently buy dry ice to flash freeze food and beverages, especially when no other option of preserving food is available. In emergencies, dry ice is a savior and prevents food from spoilage.

However, one of the recurring problems with dry ice is storing it to increase its life span. The first thought that clicks our mind is to keep it in the freezer as it seems logical. But, never keep dry ice in a freezer as it is not a good idea.

Dry ice is immensely cold frozen carbon dioxide with a temperature of -78 degrees. It is much lower than your home freezer, so storing it inside would mess with the freezer thermostat and cause it to shut down. Or, in some cases, cause irreparable damage to your expensive freezer.

Thus, you should avoid putting dry ice in your home freezer and refrigerator. And, don’t worry! There is an alternate way by which you can store the dry ice for a decent amount of time. We will discuss that in the later section of the article.

Why Shouldn’t You Refreeze Dry Ice In Home Freezer?

There are plenty of reasons that verify that refreezing dry ice is not a practical option. Let’s get to know about them briefly.

1. Refreezing dry ice won’t make it last longer

As mentioned before, the dry ice temperature is far lower than that of a regular home freezer you use daily. The freezer temperature is around 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C), while dry ice stands at -109.3 degrees F (-78 degrees C).

So, as evident by the difference in numbers, a freezer turns out to be a lot warmer than dry ice. Even keeping it inside the freezer won’t increase its shelf life, so there is no point in attempting to do so.

2. Dry ice can sublimate after refreezing

To make the dry ice last longer, you should avoid empty and airy spaces and store it in smaller containers. As the freezer is comparatively a larger space, abundant with air, keeping dry ice inside can initiate sublimation.

In simple words, dry ice will turn from solid to gas quicker in the freezer. Moreover, the freezer emits cold air to preserve the food, but this air is warmer than dry ice. When dry ice comes in contact with this blowing hot freezer air, it will ultimately disappear at the speed of light, or you can say, much faster.

3. Refreezing dry ice can mess with the freezer thermostat

Freezers are designed in a way that they don’t run 24/7. They start running or functioning when the thermostat detects a high temperature and turns off at a low enough temperature to save energy.

As dry ice is super cold, it tends to lower the freezer temperature to a significant degree. As a result, the thermostat fails to give a proper reading and indication, causing the freezer to shut down or stop working.

4. Refreezing dry ice can permanently damage the freezer

In the worst-case scenario, refreezing dry ice can make your freezer suffer breakage or damage. For instance, too much cold air can freeze the evaporators and increase the risk of leakage. The dry ice can also cause the thermostat to stop functioning plus damage the wirings, motors, and other parts of the freezer that keeps it running.

You don’t want this to happen as freezers are expensive, and such drastic damage can hit your pocket hard. Even reversing the damage can cost a lot, so isn’t it better to not trap yourself in such a situation and avoid refreezing dry ice?

5. Storing dry ice in the freezer can prove hazardous

Lastly, you should never keep dry ice in a walk-in freezer because it releases a gas called carbon dioxide. This gas is considered highly poisonous and hazardous, especially in a poorly ventilated place. If you breathe in the gas unknowingly, it can put your life at risk.

Is It Possible To Refreeze Dry Ice In A Powered Off Freezer?

Now, what about the times you experience a power outage? Can you still consider refreezing dry ice?

For a temporary period, dry ice can be a good option for keeping food items in your freezer frozen. Similarly, in situations where your freezer stop working out of nowhere, dry ice is the way to go. However, there are a few precautionary measures that you must follow for effective results.

  • When using dry ice in a turned-off freezer, it is advisable to put the dry ice over the shelves or in freezer drawers (if any). Cover them nicely in either cardboard or newspaper for a layer of insulation.
  • Never place dry ice close to the freezer walls because all the coolants, electronics, and thermostats are present here. So, it will significantly increase the risk of dry ice damage to the machine.
  • Using the top freezer shelf to put dry ice will let the cool air spread down to your stored food and keep most of it in a frozen state until the power returns.
  • Once the electricity is back, do not forget to remove the dry ice before you turn on the freezer.

Can You Refreeze Dry Ice In An Air-Tight Container?

While air-tight containers are the go-to option when we want to extend the shelf life of food products, but are a big NO-NO for storing dry ice.

As dry ice produces carbon dioxide, keeping them in a completely air-tight container doesn’t sound safe. Instead, your primary focus should be to keep it in a colder and well-ventilated place. One of the safest options is to put them in a cooler or ice chest and then leave them in a shady spot, such as outside, which will work well.

How Can You Avoid Refreezing Dry ice? The Best Alternative!

There’s a technique through which you can use your freezer to prolong the life span of dry ice. Wonder how? Let’s get into it!

Instead of tossing the dry ice directly inside the freezer, you can first put them in a cooler. You can easily find a non-airtight insulated chest or Styrofoam cooler on online platforms such as Amazon. We suggest going for the ones with thick insulation, as it is the best choice for storing dry ice.

For it to work, close the cooler, allowing some room for the gas to escape, and put the whole thing inside your freezer. The cooler will provide insulation and prevent the dry ice from melting rapidly. Moreover, it will also act as a shield and protect the freezer from too low dry ice temperature.

You can keep the Styrofoam cooler outside too, but keeping it inside the freezer will make it last much longer. At room temperature, the dry ice is still prone to perish quickly, so the latter is a clever way to preserve it.

Tauseeq

Tauseeq is the principal creator of kitchendips.com. He loves cooking and wants to help others overcome kitchen challenges through practical advice and solutions.

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