Special Media Blasting: Exploring the Advancements

Sandblasting, a technique where you use abrasives to clean, smooth, or shape surfaces, has been around since the late 1800s. At first, folks mostly used sand because it was cheap and easy to find. But over time, things have changed, especially with the rise of special media sandblasting. This came about partly because people started worrying about the health and environmental issues linked to regular sandblasting. So, special media sandblasting steps in. Instead of using regular sand, it uses different materials that are safer for workers and the environment. These materials are picked carefully to match the job's needs while keeping health risks and environmental harm as low as possible.


When sandblasting was initially introduced, sand was the preferred media due to its cheap cost and widespread availability as an abrasive material. However, as the practice evolved, it became clear that sand posed significant health risks, particularly in the form of silicosis, a debilitating lung condition caused by inhaling crystalline silica particles. This revelation prompted a reevaluation of sandblasting methods and materials.

crew member using special media for sandblasting wood ceilingIn response to concerns over worker safety and compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, companies like Blast It Clean have adapted their practices. Recognizing the need for safer alternatives, we have shifted towards environmentally friendly abrasives that do not have harmful chemicals. By prioritizing the use of such materials, we not only lower health risks associated with traditional sandblasting but also align ourselves with regulations aimed at protecting workers' well-being.

Blast It Clean is all about sustainability and doing business responsibly. We do this by exploring different media options that are environmentally friendly and are specific to our clients’ needs. Our proactive approach helps to ensure that we are meeting OSHA standards and keeping workers’ health in mind. As technology continues to evolve, more alternative blasting methods will likely be developed, further reducing the use of sandblasting in the industry. At Blast It Clean, we are leading industry experts in abrasive blasting and alternative methods to get the job done.


When it comes to blasting, picking the right media is of the utmost importance. You want to get the job done right without completely destroying the surface you're working on. Every project needs considerations of what the surface is made of, how you want it to look, and what impact your blasting might have on the environment. One factor to consider is whether you're blasting in a dry or wet setting because that affects what kind of blasting media you should use. Let's dive into all the different special blasting media out there, what makes them special, and when they work best.


walnut shell special media blastingFor projects requiring a delicate touch, crushed walnut shells offer a softer alternative that effectively removes coatings while preserving the underlying substrate. This lightweight and angular media is particularly suited for stripping and cleaning castings and moldings, cleaning metallic surfaces on boats, bridges, and buildings, and stripping coatings from delicate surfaces like log cabins and structures with retained moisture.


Made from 100% recycled bottle glass, crushed glass presents a versatile and eco-friendly abrasive option. It is suitable for various blasting methods including slurry, vapor, dustless, and dry-blast equipment. Crushed glass finds application in paint stripping, coating removal, graffiti removal, commercial restoration, and equipment maintenance. It also is helpful for fire damage restoration, and cleaning fiberglass boat bottoms, wood materials, and sensitive substrates.


corn cobb special mediaAs hard as iron yet gentle on most surfaces, corn cobb media stands out for its organic and biodegradable nature. Ideal for wood and organic surfaces, this media boasts absorbency, minimal dust production, and non-sparking properties. Its applications include cleaning smoke-damaged buildings and enameled surfaces, preparing structural steel, machinery, and wood-frame buildings, and delicate cleaning requirements and microblasting.


Known for its deep-cleaning capabilities, garnet media excels in removing rust, soluble salts, and contaminants from various substrates. Widely used in ship-building, repair, and confined space cleaning, garnet is also favored for its low dust production, making it suitable for blast-room projects.


aluminum oxide special mediaWith its aggressive nature, aluminum oxide is an effective choice for etching and finishing on metal and glass surfaces. Available in different grits, this media can be recycled, offering eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions for abrasive blasting projects ranging from surface preparation to decorative surface prep.


At Blast It Clean, the primary blasting media of choice is sourced from Harsco Corporation, known as BLACK BEAUTY® Coal Slag. This media is chosen with the consideration of quality and environmental responsibility in mind. Black Beauty stands out for its consistent quality, backed by rigorous testing and monitoring conducted by Harsco in their specialized laboratories. This commitment to quality control ensures that each batch meets industry standards and can be adjusted as necessary for optimal performance. Moreover, Harsco's dedication to recycling aligns with our own environmental values, as they continuously strive to meet or exceed environmental regulations, reflecting a shared commitment to sustainability in our operations.

The selection of blasting media plays a pivotal role in achieving optimal results for your project. By understanding the unique properties and applications of various abrasives, you can make informed decisions to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and environmental responsibility in your abrasive blasting endeavors.


crew member in scissor lift special media blasting red brick buildingSpecial media blasting offers many benefits that make it a preferred choice for various industrial cleaning and surface preparation applications. One of the primary advantages is its versatility. Special media blasting encompasses a wide range of abrasive materials, as mentioned above. Another benefit is its effectiveness. Unlike traditional sandblasting, which can be harsh and abrasive, special media blasting allows for precise control over the blasting process. This means that operators can tailor the abrasive media and blasting parameters to suit the substrate material and desired surface finish, resulting in more efficient and consistent cleaning and preparation.

Special media blasting is often more environmentally friendly than traditional blasting methods. Many of the abrasive media used in special media blasting are made from natural or recycled materials, reducing the environmental impact of the blasting process. Additionally, it can often be performed with minimal dust and waste generation, further reducing its environmental footprint.


In the realm of surface preparation, Blast it Clean spearheads a sustainable approach with its eco-friendly and non-toxic sandblasting media. Engineered to minimize harm to the environment, the media is positioned with care, particularly in cases where toxins may be present on the surface. Containment measures and mandatory cleanup protocols ensure minimal contamination, focusing on Blast it Clean's commitment to environmental integrity.

By adhering to strict regulations and embracing innovative technologies, Blast it Clean ensures that our media remains compliant with environmental standards. Through our commitment to sustainable blasting practices, Blast it Clean shows the industry that balancing environmental responsibility and operational efficiency is possible, which helps pave the way for a greener future.

If you are in need of special media blasting services, call our team of professionals at Blast It Clean.