Soda Cleaning History

LP gas tank with paint being removed by soda cleaning
Soda cleaning of LP gas tank underway

Soda cleaning (or soda blasting) is a relatively new type of media blasting that is becoming more and more well known as its advantages are experienced by vehicle restorers, fire restoration companies, owners of machinery of all kinds and many others.  But its history began with the Statue of Liberty!

New York State engineers were looking for ways to clean the Statue of Liberty.  They had concerns about the environment, waste disposal and protecting the Statue’s surface.  Due to the soft copper plates that make up the surface of the Statue, the use of abrasive processes such as sand blasting was excluded.  The process of soda cleaning — sometimes called soda blasting — addressed all the concerns of the engineers.

Who actually invented the process is unclear.  But a company in Houston, Texas saw the opportunity and converted their sand blasting equipment to handle soda cleaning.  For over a decade, they cleaned a popular line of pick-up trucks that had flawed paint jobs right out of the factory.  The advantages of soda cleaning over other forms of paint removal on these vehicles were numerous.

The vehicles didn’t have to be disassembled, soda cleaning is a fast process, and there is no damage to the metal body panels, glass windows and lights, chrome bumpers, door gaskets and other components on the exterior of these vehicles.  When the vehicles were soda cleaned, they were virtually ready for their new paint jobs.

After the truck company got their painting right on the first application, the Houston company turned their attention to marketing the soda blasting “pots” outside the automotive industry.  They developed a demo unit that they could take with them to show the advantage of soda cleaning over other de-coating processes.  It was these demo units that entrepreneurs became interested in.  Today, several companies manufacture the equipment.

Entrepreneurs such as Dail Brown, owner/operator of Soda Clean of Ohio, are now using the technology and equipment, which is completely portable, for:

•  jobs at auto restoration shops and marinas

•  graffiti removal on buildings and other surfaces

•  wood restoration and cleaning on log homes and historic buildings

•  cleaning and odor removal on buildings damaged by smoke and fire

And the possibilities are nearly limitless.

Wrought iron table before soda cleaning
This wrought iron table shows on a small scale what soda cleaning can do to remove paint and rust from metal.
Wrought iron table after soda cleaning removed rust and paint
After soda cleaning, rust and paint are removed, revealing the beauty of the pattern.

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