Eco-Friendly Sandblasting Alternatives

sand blast alternative

Sandblasting is a popular method for cleaning and preparing surfaces by removing rust, paint, dirt and other surface contaminants. However, due to health and environmental concerns, as well as the damage it can cause to certain surfaces, alternative methods are becoming more popular. These include laser cleaning, soda blasting, grit blasting, shot blasting, bead blasting, agricultural media blasting, dry ice blasting and ice blasting.


Laser cleaning

Benefits of Laser Cleaning

  • Safer for operators and employees: Laser cleaning produces no additional waste and is environmentally friendly. It is non-damaging and does not wear down surface materials, extending the lifespan of equipment.
  • Customizable: Laser cleaning can be customized to fit specific needs, ensuring the best cleaning for the application.
  • No cleanup required: Laser cleaning produces no waste and does not require any additional cleanup.
  • Time and cost-efficient: Laser cleaning is a fast and efficient process that can save time and labor costs compared to traditional cleaning methods.
  • Versatile: Laser cleaning can be used on a wide range of surfaces, including metal, plastic, glass, and ceramics.
  • High precision: Laser cleaning can remove contaminants with high accuracy and minimal damage to the underlying surface.
  • No consumables or chemicals: Laser cleaning only uses a laser beam to vaporize the layer being removed, and no chemical products or solvents are needed.


  • Welding pre-treatments: Removing rust and other contaminants from welding areas.
  • Welding post-treatments: Removing aluminum and stainless-steel oxides.
  • Surface preparation: Maximizing paint adhesion and preparing surfaces for coating or welding.
  • Nuclear decontamination
  • Coating removal: Removing coatings just after the coating process, replacing part masking in production lines.
  • Depainting: Removing paint from parts that would otherwise be scrapped due to paint defects.
  • Industrial cleaning: Removing burnt rubber residue from tire molds, cleaning pipes in nuclear power plants, and removing paint from bridges.
Pirate's Sand Blasting Adventure

You may want to see also


Bristle Blaster

The Bristle Blaster is a powerful, hand-held tool that offers an alternative to sandblasting. It is a versatile technology used across a range of sectors, including oil and gas, marine, pipeline construction and repair, power and renewables, bridges and steel construction.

The Bristle Blaster is a grit-free, patented technology that combines the ability to produce an abrasive blasted finish with the flexibility of a portable, hand-held tool. It is equipped with a rotating brush that has specially designed curved tips. These tips are released with force from behind the accelerator bar of the tool, immediately retracting from the surface and providing the same micro-structure as sandblasting. This offers all the benefits of sandblasting, including a high-quality finish, without the health and environmental risks associated with sandblasting.


The Bristle Blaster is quick and easy to set up and operate, and it does not require enclosures, reprocessing, or disposal of grit. It is also environmentally friendly, as it does not use or produce hazardous materials. This means that it does not require expensive or time-consuming clean-up operations post-operation.

The Bristle Blaster is available in electric, pneumatic, and cordless versions, ensuring high-performance surface preparation in remote locations, challenging environments, and on structures of all shapes and sizes.


The Bristle Blaster is ideal for a range of applications, including surface profiling, spot repairs, and weld seam prep. It is suitable for use on a variety of substrates, including metals, plastics, and rubbers.


The Bristle Blaster can effectively remove corrosion, mill scale, and coatings, generating an anchor profile of up to 120 µm Rz (4.7 mils). It creates a surface cleanliness equivalent to SA 2.5 (SSPC-SP 10, near white metal blast cleaning), which is also achieved by grit blasting.

With its high performance, ease of use, and lack of hazardous waste, the Bristle Blaster offers a compelling alternative to traditional sandblasting methods.

Blasted Glass: Which Side Faces Out?

You may want to see also


Soda blasting

A soda blaster is a self-contained system that includes a blast generator, high-pressure compressed air, moisture decontamination system, blast hose, and a blast nozzle. The blasting material consists of formulated sodium bicarbonate. The blast nozzle can be made of soft metals such as brass or steel, as sodium bicarbonate is much softer than the silicon carbide or aluminium oxide used in sandblasting. The pressures used are also much lower, for example, 20psi compared to 120psi in sandblasting.

While soda blasting is generally safer and less damaging than sandblasting, it is slower and less effective, especially for industrial applications. It is also slightly more expensive than other blast media, and the soda media cannot be recycled or reused.

Sandblasting Railings: DIY Guide

You may want to see also


Grit blasting

A special form of grit blasting is hydrohoning, where the abrasive medium is suspended in a liquid and then directed onto the surface as a high-pressure jet. This method is often used as a stand-alone titanium prebond treatment and for on-aircraft titanium treatment due to its ease and non-hazardous nature.


Shot blasting

The shot blasting process uses a centrifugal blast wheel to shoot media, like steel shot, onto a surface at high velocity. This knocks the surface free of debris and other materials, such as rust or epoxy. Shot blasting is often used to clean and prepare floors or other surfaces before painting or coating, creating a smooth finish.

One of the key differences between shot blasting and sandblasting is the method of creating force. Shot blasting always uses a centrifugal wheel, while sandblasting uses compressed air. This allows for more control over the direction of the blast with sandblasting, making it ideal for cleaning smaller areas. In contrast, shot blasting is more efficient for large surfaces as the centrifugal wheel needs very little power to run.

In addition to health and safety concerns, sandblasting can also be damaging to surfaces and requires a lot of preparation. The sand can break up into small particles that can be harmful if inhaled. Due to these risks, many countries have prohibited the use of sandblasting, and alternative blasting tools are now commonly used.

Frequently asked questions

Sandblasting can be harmful to the health of operators and employees, as well as the environment. It can also damage the substrate you're trying to clean and requires a lot of preparation.

Some alternative methods to sandblasting include laser cleaning, soda blasting, grit blasting, shot blasting, bead blasting, agricultural media blasting, and ice blasting.

Laser cleaning uses laser ablation to remove contaminants with little to no impact on the underlying material. It is a safer, non-abrasive, and environmentally-friendly alternative to sandblasting.

Soda blasting uses soda granules made from sodium bicarbonate instead of sand. It is 100% safe and does not generate dust as the soda granules can be dissolved in water.

Written by
Reviewed by
Share this post
Did this article help you?

Leave a comment