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What is soda blasting vs sandblasting and media blasting? When to use soda blasting

When should I use soda blasting?

Our quick answer to that question is never

Soda blasting — vs. sandblasting or “media blasting” —  uses sodium bicarbonate (i.e. baking soda) as a blast media either combined with water or dry.

Although soda is perceived to be an environmentally-friendly product and gentle to use, it has issues in blasting that make it almost never a good idea to use.

Soda is a mild base solution,  but it is caustic nevertheless. 

In addition, soda, water and automotive electric wiring harnesses do not mix.

Split Window Corvette 1963 Sandblasted

Do we offer soda blasting on cars on at American Dry Stripping? 


To this day we still do get calls asking about soda blasting and if we ever use the process on cars.  As with any newly introduced concept the “first mover” crowd is quick to try out a new process.

With enough collected data however there is a point in time when we understand the optimal applications for any given process.

While soda blasting has usefulness for many stripping and cleaning projects, we’ve seen that its application in cars is absolutely not one of them.

How soda blasting works

To understand why this is one must understand sodium bicarbonate is similar to sodium chloride (salt). It is a conductive material and causes electrolysis between different metals, for example, in the make-up of car panels or electrical wiring harnesses. 

Sodium bicarbonate is a white solid that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder and is slightly alkaline.

This specially-granulated powder is applied at high pressure upon a surface, to remove contaminants. Sodium bicarbonate (as does any crystalline substrate) shatters on impact and as a result leaves a residue behind. 

Residue from soda is extremely difficult to remove completely and will cause significant long-term problems especially in automotive electrical systems.

More Cons of Soda Blasting

Proponents of soda blasting argue that an upside to soda compared with most other blast media is disposal of spent waste material. Very little soda waste falls to the ground. Other media types, depending on the size of the work, can result in more quantities media.

Soda, however, is referred to as a “one and done” media. It can only be used once. Other media like plastic and walnut shells can be recycled and reused.

Soda Blasting is Messy

Because soda is a crystalline powder the fine dust residue resulting from the blasting process is extremely difficult, if not impossible to remove from blasted metal surfaces and small spaces. 

This fine powder residue finds its way into electrical components and wiring harnesses.  Its alkaline nature can lead to corrosion of wiring components to the point where full replacement is the only option.

Soda Blasting is Expensive

Baking soda is more costly to manufacture, therefore, more expensive. It is not alternative to a general-purpose blast abrasive.

Also, its soft nature simply does not achieve the kind of production rates that other, heartier abrasives can render. Soda can be used in specific areas, and on specific substrates, and for a number of different reasons.

American Dry Stripping uses better options.

Blasting cars at American Dry Stripping

From our 30+ years of experience, soda is not the ideal blast media for any type of car.

We DO NOT use nor do we recommend its use.

Soda is very expensive when compared to fine abrasive blasting.

We have refined our process to the point were we can blast virtually anything without any panel distortion, while still removing rust, paint, body filler and leaving a very fine profile ideal for paint adhesion and without hardening the steel.

Optimizing the Automotive Blasting Process

Whether you are an industrial organization or a car enthusiast, economics and time are significant considerations for any job. Our experts can counsel you on balancing time and budgets, especially important when it comes to automotive restorations, or wheel powder coating and make recommendations for optimal outcomes.

For example, how a car arrives at ADS is a factor in cost. Frame-off or frame-on, rolling frames, complete car bodies, or individual parts is no problem for our professionals and we are happy to work with you to fit your budget and timeline.

Not only do we provide a clean and efficient blasting job, but also you will not have to worry about any airborne dust, environmental issues or the hassle associated with cleanup.

All our blasting processed are done onsite at our facility in enclosed controlled blast booth environments. Industrial abrasive media blasting and stripping is a better choice for your automotive restoration, lifestyle, construction or industrial project, so bring yours to American Dry Stripping today.

American Dry Stripping & Powder Coating helps people with all of their sandblasting and media blasting service needs. We are based in Milford, Connecticut and serve customers in metropolitan New York and surrounding counties, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Contact us to learn more.

We offer a pick-up and delivery service.

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