• Home
  • Abrasive Blast Media Vs Soda Blast Media - Removing Rust and Paint with media

Abrasive Blasting vs. Soda Blasting

Removing Rust and Paint with Media

Stripping an entire paint job using sanders or chemicals can be a long, tiresome process. And, if you aren't careful, sanders or chemicals can cause severe damage to the bodywork and affect your upcoming paint job. Fortunately, blasting can easily strip paint and rust, producing professional results with less manual labor and greater safety.

Abrasive blasting has been used for years, but soda blasting has recently drawn a lot of favorable attention within the restoration community. But which one is right for you?

There are many differences between Abrasive Blasters and Soda Blasters that you need to understand before you buy.

Abrasive Media

Abrasive blasting has been used for many years to clean and remove rust, paint and corrosion. There are many types of abrasive media available, the most common being Aluminum Oxide, Silicon Carbide, and Glass Bead. These media have an aggressive cut and can rapidly remove paint and rust.

However, they can also generate significant heat, potentially resulting in warped metal and etched surfaces, and they cannot be used on fiberglass. Also, chrome, plastic, rubber, trim, and other parts must be removed from the car or masked-off before blasting.

Aluminum Oxide (22021) with our Media Sifter Screen (22022)

Walnut Shell Media (22018)

Alternatively, less-aggressive media, such as Walnut Shell, will do a great job at removing paint. Walnut Shell does not generate as much heat as other media, and can be used on sheet metal and fiberglass without damaging the base material.

However, as with any abrasive media, it will require more clean-up as it leaves particles in the car body's seams and crevices that can be difficult to completely remove.

Soda Media

Unlike traditional abrasive media, soda is softer so there is no warping or etching. Soda media (NOT like in your kitchen pantry) is a perfect choice for steel, aluminum, plastic and fiberglass.

Soda strips off paint, leaving a smooth and texture-free finish. Soda blasting is so delicate that chrome, plastic, rubber and other components can be left on the vehicle when blasting!

XL Soda Media 50lb Bag (11807)

After blasting, a thin film of soda will cover the part. This film prevents flash rust for up to several months. When you're ready to paint or coat, simply rinse the film off with water; soda is both soluble and inert. Rinsing also takes care of any stray soda that may have gotten into seams or crevices. While cleaning up soda is as simple as spraying water, proper steps should be taken to recover and properly dispose of removed paint particles.

Soda can also be used to clean and degrease parts such as transmissions or rear axles, since it will not cause any harm to internal moving parts. Soda can easily and safely clean underhood areas as well, without the need to remove components or wiring. Use it to clean almost any surface from wood to concrete to glass.

However, soda cannot remove heavy rust, corrosion or other substrates such as body filler. Soda is not strong enough to lift away these heavy materials, which must be removed by abrasive blasting using Aluminum Oxide or Glass Bead. However, soda might work if you do not wish to remove the old body filler.

(Double-Click the Video to View in Full Screen)


Eastwood Blasters

Eastwood sells Abrasive Blasters as well as Soda Blasters. Due to differences in the media, each blaster can only use the media it was intended to use.

Each type of blaster is available in Hobbyist and Professional grades, in a variety of tank sizes. We also offer a wide selection of nozzles, accessories, and blasting safety equipment.

Eastwood's 100lb Abrasive Blaster (51118)


Retro-Fit Kit

Eastwood also offers a kit to convert an abrasive blaster into a soda blaster. Our Retro-Fit Kit is a great option for users who already have an abrasive blaster. After installing the kit, a regular abrasive blaster will be able to blast soda media. It takes approximately 15 minutes to install or remove the Kit.

Eastwood's Retro-Fit Kit (51360)


Dual Blaster

Eastwood's innovative Dual Blaster combines the capabilities of both abrasive blasting and soda blasting into one affordable unit! It allows you to simply alternate between soda and abrasive with just a flick of a switch! Instead of installing and uninstalling the Retro-Fit Kit or setting up a second blaster, the Dual Blaster can switch between media in a flash, saving you time and hassle. Also, the Dual Blaster can produce unique mixtures of soda and abrasive to tackle any job.

Eastwood's Dual Blaster (11737)

Watch the Videos below to learn more about the Dual Blaster!

(Double-Click the Video to View in Full Screen)