Can you eat dry ice?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat dry ice?”, and what happens if you eat dry ice?

Can you eat dry ice?

No, you cannot eat dry ice. Dry ice is extremely cold and it could burn your mouth in a second if you attempt to ingest or swallow it. Read on to know about the precautionary measures you must take when handling or working with dry ice.

Why isn’t dry ice edible?

Dry ice or frozen carbon dioxide is not safe to eat because it has an extremely low temperature i.e  -109ºF (-78ºC). When ingested, it can result in frostbite and damage the skin cells. 

The main culprit here is the temperature of the carbon dioxide and not the gas itself. Because all the fizzy drinks are infused with carbon dioxide and we can safely drink them. 

Once the temperature of the dry ice drops, it transforms into a gas. So, ingesting dry ice after warming it up is not an option, in case you were wondering. 

What happens if you eat dry ice?

The temperature of the dry ice is so cold that even holding it for more than 1 sec without gloves could kill your skin cells. So, if you attempt to ingest or eat dry ice, you will burn your mouth. Your tongue and palate will be severely burned. 

As the dry ice moves along your gut, its temperature starts to increase. Once the dry ice becomes all gas inside your body, you can burp it out. Dry ice is cold enough to kill the cells ¼ inch deep. If left untreated, this stunt can lead to gangrene.

What should you do if you accidentally ingested some dry ice?

Given the severity of the action, you should call an ambulance and seek medical attention as quickly as possible. Meanwhile, you should try to vomit the dry ice by inducing vomiting. You can do so by sticking your fingers down your throat. 

Is it safe to put dry ice into drinks?

Yes, it is completely safe to put dry ice into drinks. The carbonation or fizziness of cold drinks is attributed to dry ice or carbon dioxide. 

When you drop the dry ice into your drink, it first settles at the bottom, then quickly moves to the top to escape. Some of it dissolves in the drink in the process. 

One thing you need to be careful about is that you always add food-grade dry ice to your drinks. Non-food grade dry ice is not fit for human consumption. Food-grade dry ice is also used in keeping the food cold during transport.

Is it safe to put dry ice into ice cream?

Slower freezing leads to the formation of larger ice crystals in ice cream. This is a common problem with homemade ice cream. 

To fix this, home chefs mix the ice cream with some dry ice. This lowers the temperature of the ice cream quickly, thus, preventing the formation of larger ice crystals. 

Let the ice cream rest so that all of the dry ice melts and no chunks remain when you serve the ice cream. It takes several hours for the dry ice to completely dissipate. 

Lastly, make sure that the dry ice used for freezing ice cream is food-grade and safe for human consumption. 

Safety precautions of handling dry ice 

  1. Wear insulated gloves, safety glasses, and a face shield when handling, cutting, or chipping dry ice.
  1. Store the dry ice away from the reach of children and pets.
  1. Do not attempt to ingest or swallow dry ice.
  1. Do not inhale carbon dioxide.
  1. The windows of the vehicle transporting dry ice should be kept open for ventilation. 

How do I dispose of dry ice?

Never dump the dry ice in the sewer, garbage disposal or a garbage chute, etc. This is because carbon dioxide can collect and build pressure in closed spaces that may lead to an explosion. Place the leftover dry ice in the open air where it can dissipate over time without harming anyone.

How to store dry ice?

  1. Dry ice must be stored somewhere well-ventilated. Dry ice can sublime and concentrate in poorly ventilated areas and could suffocate you. If breathed exclusively for long enough, carbon dioxide can be fatal.
  1. Do not lower your head into a dry ice container such as a deep cooler to obtain dry ice. 
  1. Never store dry ice in poorly ventilated areas like walk-in coolers, refrigerators, freezers, or vehicles.
  1. Always use an insulated container like a polystyrene box to store dry ice. Do not use air-tight containers for storing dry ice as they are more susceptible to rupture due to the pressure buildup.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat dry ice?”, and what happens if you eat dry ice?


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