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Abrasive Blasting vs. Soda Blasting

Removing Rust and Paint with Media

Stripping an entire paintjob with sanders or chemicals can be a long and tiresome process. If you are not careful, sanders and chemicals could cause severe damage to your bodywork and future paint job!

Fortunately, blasting can easily strip paint and rust, producing professional results. Abrasive blasting has been used for years, but soda blasting has recently drawn a lot of attention within the restoration market. But which one is right for you?

There are many differences between Abrasive Blasters and Soda Blasters that you need to know 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 abrasive media are Aluminum Oxide, Silicon Carbide, and Glass Bead. These medias have an aggressive cut and can rapidly remove paint and rust.

However, they can also generate a lot of heat, resulting in warped metal and etched surfaces. Aggressive medias cannot be used on fiberglass. Any 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)


Alternatively, less-aggressive medias, 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, Walnut Shell, as with any abrasive media, will require more clean-up as it leaves particles in the seams and crevices of the car body that can be difficult to completely remove.

Walnut Shell Media (22018)

Soda Media

Unlike traditional medias, soda is softer so there is no warping or etching. Soda is a perfect choice for steel, aluminum, plastic and fiberglass.

The soda strips off the 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!

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 rise off the film with water (Soda is both soluble and inert). Rising 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, causing no harm to internal moving parts. Soda can easily clean under-hood areas, without removing or harming components or wiring. Soda can also be used to clean almost any surface from wood to concrete to glass!

However, soda cannot remove heavy rust or corrosion or other substrates such as body filler. The Soda is not strong enough to lift away these heavy materials. These must be removed with abrasive blasting with Aluminum Oxide or glass bead. However, this may be helpful if you do not wish to remove the old body filler.

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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 kits 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 can now blast soda. However, it does take approximately 15 minutes to install or remove the Retro-Fit Kit.

Eastwood's Retro-Fit Kit (51360)

Dual Blaster

Eastwood has now developed the innovative new Dual Blaster to fulfill a need in the industry. The Dual Blaster combines the benefits of both abrasive blasting and soda blasting into one affordable unit, allowing the user to simply switch between soda and abrasive with the simple 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 medias in a flash, saving users hours of 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!

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