In the context of industrial cleaning, sandblasting is commonly used to remove rust, paint, dirt and other contaminants from various surfaces, including steel, iron, titanium, aluminum, brass, tungsten carbide, wood and graphite.

The process involves propelling abrasive media at high speed toward a surface to clean or etch it. Even tiny or stubborn dirt particles can be eliminated.

The media used in sandblasting can vary – despite the name, sand is not the only material that can do the job. Which abrasive media to use depends on the specific application, the material being worked on, and the desired outcome.

Professional industrial cleaners can choose from a wide variety of media, including sodium bicarbonate, glass beads, steel grit and walnut shells, to find the perfect fit for each situation.


Sandblasting: industrial cleaning applications

Sandblasting is widely used to clean industrial facilities and equipment, and to maintain and recondition metallic surfaces. 

Some specific examples of industrial cleaning applications of sandblasting include:

1. Maintaining Spotless Commercial Infrastructure: Sandblasting is used to clean and maintain commercial infrastructure, including parking strips, driveways, and patios, to remove spots, blemishes, and corrosion, and to treat damage caused by fire.

2. Keeping Equipment and Machines Running at Peak Performance: Sandblasting can restore the appearance and efficiency of a broad range of industrial equipment, including, tanks, worksite equipment, and vehicles. It is an efficient method for removing rust and corrosion without damaging underlying surfaces.

3. Surface Cleaning: Sandblasting is used to eliminate rust, rough edges, or impurities that have appeared during the production process, preparing surfaces for coating or further treatment. Especially efficient and abrasive, this technique can remove graffiti, rust and even oil and grease from surfaces such as steel and concrete. Sandblasting is widely used for stripping large structures and cleaning concrete pools and brick walls. 

Benefits of sandblasting


Sandblasting is an established cleaning method with distinct benefits. When applied correctly by certified professionals, abrasive blasting is:

1. Fast: No heavy-duty clean-up, or time-consuming scrubbing.

2. Versatile: Sandblasting can be used for paint removal, concrete cleaning, and preparing surfaces for coatings.

3. Environmentally Friendly: Sandblasting does not involve harmful chemicals and sandblasting media can be re-used to reduce waste.

4. Cost-Effective: Sandblasting media are inexpensive and reusable.


Types of abrasive blasting media

When using sandblasting for industrial cleaning applications, a variety of abrasive media can be used. 
Abrasives can be divided into two main groups: media used for dry abrasive cleaning, and media that can be used in dry or wet abrasive cleaning. Each medium has unique properties.

Abrasives are characterized and categorized by hardness value, surface profile, velocity (high or low speed) and surface removal ability. For the purposes of this guide, blast media will be grouped according to wet and wet/dry applications.

Dry blasting media

These sandblasting media will not sink in water, so cannot be used in wet blasting applications. Common dry blasting media include:

  • Corn Cob Grit: A soft, organic blasting medium used on delicate machine parts and soft substrates such as wood. 
  • Walnut Shell Grit: An organic, biodegradable, extremely durable abrasive blast medium, best suited for aggressive stripping or cleaning applications where it is vital not to damage the underlying substrate.
  • Sugar Sand: A round media used for light dry blasting and cleaning, and to strip coatings. Leaves a smooth finish and minimal damage to the substrate. 
  • Sodium Bicarbonate: A mild, eco-friendly abrasive that will not damage delicate substrates, but still packs a punch for industrial cleaning. Leaves substrate clean and smooth with no residue. Ideal for cleaning rust and fire restoration as it also deodorizes.

Wet or dry blasting media

These sandblasting media can be used for wet or dry applications:

  • Plastic Abrasives:  A soft media for many types of automotive and aerospace applications, used to remove paint and mold from delicate surfaces.
  • Glass Beads: Manufactured in ball shapes with glass that is lead and silica-free. Used to get a smooth and bright finish, and can be recycled roughly 30 times. 
  • Steel Shot: A popular choice for cleaning and stripping metal surfaces.
  • Garnet: Offers excellent coating preparation and adhesion properties.
  • Steel Grit: An angular abrasive used for fast stripping and aggressive cleaning of metal surfaces covered in dirt, rust, mill scale, or paint
  • Crushed Glass Grit: Made of 100% recycled glass beads, a medium that is both non-toxic and non-hazardous. Used in profiling and removal of coatings and surface contamination. Can be used around water.
  • Mineral Sands: Include minerals such as staurolite and olivine, which are fast-cutting and produce very little dust. Effective in removing old paint, coatings, rust, and mill scale from hard metals.
  • Coal Slag: An angular blast media used to remove coatings like rust and paint from steel and concrete.
  • Aluminum Oxide Grit: An extremely sharp, long-lasting blasting abrasive that can be recycled many times.


Enviro Urgence offers professional sandblasting for industrial cleaning

Choosing the right abrasive from the various sandblasting media requires both training and skill, and putting blast cleaning into practice demands specialized equipment and certified personnel.

At Enviro Urgence, we have what it takes to do efficient, effective sandblasting in any industrial context. Trust our industrial cleaning services for plants, factories, warehouses and more. Our interventions are guaranteed environmentally-friendly – we can even provide hazardous waste disposal and emergency spill response services as needed.

Contact us or request a quote for your next industrial cleaning project.