Shelf Life of
Dry Ice

How Long Does Dry Ice Last?

dry ice storageHow long does dry ice last? The shelf life of dry ice depends mainly on how the dry ice is stored and the size of the brick. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide, the same gas that we exhale and that plants use for photosynthesis. It is never a liquid, it goes from a -109.3°F solid state directly into the gas stage.

Because of these properties, dry ice enjoys most of its popularity at Halloween for making a fabulous “witch’s brew”. When a block is placed in a pot and liquid is added, a white billowy steam “brews” from the pot creating an enchanting effect. For this reason, most party stores will carry it only during the month of October. See Halloween punch recipes for some frightening ideas.

It is also used by shipping companies for packaging frozen items to keep them frozen until they reach their recipient. If you have ever received chocolates in the summer you may have noticed that the packaging was not completely sealed. It was probably packaged with dry ice, which can actually be used for keeping things cold all year long.

But, dry ice is NOT a food and should NEVER be directly touched or consumed!

So, how long does dry ice last? The following table for how long dry ice lasts is based on an average 5 pound brick of dry ice that remains whole (not broken into pieces). Because of its short shelf life, dry ice should be purchased as close to when you need it as possible.

When properly stored, dry ice lasts past the purchase date for approximately…

How Long Does Dry Ice Last?

In a Cooler (ice chest) Outside In Liquid
Dry Ice lasts for 18-24 Hours 3-5 Hours 15-45 Minutes



Of course, dry ice lasts for a shorter period of time if it is not stored properly. It subliminates (turns from solid form to gas form) at a rate of about 5-10 pounds every 24 hours. So, if you need about 15 pounds of dry ice for the next day you need to buy 20-25 pounds the day before.
It can be found at select local grocers or online at frozenontime.

How to tell if dry ice is bad, rotten or spoiled?

If you see it, it’s good. If it’s bad, it’s invisible. Pretty simple!
Remember, NEVER touch or taste dry ice – it will cause severe burns to your hands, throat or any other part of your body. Use thick rubber gloves or tools to handle the pieces of ice.

How to store dry ice to extend its shelf life?

Proper storage is the key to extending the expiration date of any food or drink and the same is true here. Dry ice must be stored and handled properly to extend its shelf life.

Store dry ice in a cooler – proper storage of dry ice is to place it in an insulated cooler with the lid loosely closed. Make sure the lid is loose and do NOT use an airtight container, like we recommend for food, because the build up of carbon dioxide gases as the dry ice subliminates could cause the container to burst and send sharp pieces of plastic flying in all directions!
Repeat: do NOT store dry ice in a completely airtight container.
The cooler or ice chest should then be kept in the coolest area possible which is also a well ventilated area. A nice shady spot outside works great.

Now some DON’Ts and safety precautions:

1) DON’T store dry ice in your freezer! It is much colder than a home freezer and will cause the thermostat of the freezer to shut the freezer down.

2) NEVER leave dry ice in your closed vehicle or in a closed room. Also keep your windows down in the car as you are transporting any of this substance.

3) NEVER sleep in the same room where you are storing dried ice.

4) NEVER let dry ice touch your skin. ALWAYS use insulated gloves or tongs to handle dry ice.

5) NEVER eat or drink any dry ice or dry ice fragments. It will seriously burn your throat.

*CAUTION: LEAVE the room quickly if you have trouble breathing around dry ice.

Watch this quick video to view the proper way to handle this substance.

Disposal of Dry Ice

To dispose of dry ice after storage, leave it outside or in a bucket of water in a well ventilated area – either place will cause it to quickly turn back into carbon dioxide gas and it will be soon gone.

How long is dry ice good for when added to liquid?

How long does dry ice last in a cooler? That depends. How long does fruit juice last? In general, dry ice will subliminate very quickly when submerged in a liquid, so it is the shelf life of the liquid that it is mixed with that is of concern.
To find out how long other ingredients are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or search below!

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What are our shelf life resources?

Our how long does dry ice last in a cooler content incorporates research from multiple resources, including the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Food & Drug Administration. In addition, we scoured the web for informative articles and reports related to the proper safety and how to store dry ice.

*An important note about expiration dates …

Although the how long does dry ice last information on Eat By Date is generally reliable, please remember that individual cases will vary and that our advice should only be taken as an opinion and not replace your health care professionals advice. So, how long will food last? Let’s find out!