After Soda Blasting?

Now that you soda (or sand) blasted your project, what is the next step?

I get this question almost daily and, in the beginning, I did not have the correct answers. In the past, I was told many things; from just don’t worry about it to, just plain water or dish soap, water or vinegar and water (nobody knew the correct ratio), and even alcohol and water. I now know that there isn’t a single stock answer to this question as there are many different kinds of substrates that we encounter with soda blasting and each one has its own treatment.

The main question to ask – is a coating going to be re-applied? If so, some sort of cleaning of the surface needs to be done. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has a higher than neutral pH and contains some degree of salt (chlorides). You must have a clean, oil free and pH neutral surface to ensure that you won’t have a coatings failure after any type of media blasting. Coating failures after soda blasting can usually be traced back to no pre-paint preparation or poor preparation or incorrect preparation. Baking soda is a wonderful media that allows you to do things that no other media will accomplish, but you need to educate yourself about the media and follow a few simple steps after blasting.

Consulting with coatings manufacturers before application can reveal a wealth of valuable information and help insure a positive outcome to your project.

If you know me, then you know me for my honesty and straight shooter attitude. After over 10 years in the soda and abrasive blast business, there aren’t too many questions that I haven’t heard. One question or subject that won’t go away is that coatings manufacturers won’t warrant a paint job after soda blasting and that’s just plain myth, a lie and not backed up by any document from a manufacturer that I have been able to see.
The fact of the matter is that you have to start with a clean, prepped surface before you apply any coating – especially if you want it to last. Without naming names, I have a business contact that works for a major media manufacturer in the soda blast business and he’s a former coatings manufacturer representitive. He told me that the coatings manufacturers DO NOT want to pay a claim for ANY reason if they can help it. He also tells me that there are no documents specifically saying that they won’t warrant after soda blast. The coatings manufacturers will blame anything and everything to get out of paying a claim. As of late, there is an abrasive pot manufacturer that used to sell soda blast equipment and now they say that soda blast is bad because paint wont stick. Talk about throwing your past customers under the bus… Pure garbage.

Here is a sampling of substrates and what we have found that works after soda and abrasive blasting:

  • Metals – All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser by Great Lakes Laboratories, HoldTight 102 by HoldTight Solutions and HoldBlast by ChlorRid are all around good products to use. Please consult these manufacturers web sites for specific product information. 
  • Fiberglass – Any of the above recommendations will work and this includes boat bottoms and cars. Also for boats, Fiberglass Surface Prep #YMA601 by Interlux.
  • Wood – Sun Brite Wood Brightener – a citrus based wood bleach is a product that we like. It can be also used to brighten wood and remove rust stains on a variety of surfaces. Grocery store clear vinegar can be used too. Vary the concentration to achieve the desired effect.
  • Concrete – Many of the above products can be used.
  • Brick, block & mortar – Sun Brite Wood Brightener.

Links to the products mentioned can be found on our “links” page. Additional products that can be identified may be used. Please check with the product manufacturer regarding the proper use and application of other products.

Chesapeake Soda Clean, Inc. has been an authorized dealer/distributor for HoldTight Solutions and currently is a stocking distributor for All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser by Great Lakes Laboratories. We stock All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser in 1 gallon, master cartons of 4 -1 gallon containers and 5 gallon pails and all are UPS shippable. In addition, we can drop ship 5 gallon pails and 55 gallon drums of product to your business or job site.

Dustless Blasting and slurry blasters listen up – All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser is a less expensive alternative to HoldTight 102 and Hold*Blast and the mix ratio and results are similar.

These products leave no residue to interfere with new coatings and have a rust inhibitor built in.
The use of these products has been recommended by most major coatings manufacturers.

Cleansing the surface after blasting will eliminate all Salts, Chlorides and Contaminants (which cause flash rusting and coating failures) on metal. They will also delay flash rusting for a 48 to 96 hours, allowing ample time to apply primer or coating of your choice. In addition, the use of these products will increase primer adhesion by up to 70%.


All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser by Great Lakes Laboratories

All Purpose Prepaint Degreaser is an industrial grade, water-reducible, alkaline detergent developed especially for cleaning tasks requiring the safe removal of oils, greases, fats and carbon deposits. The advanced combination of wetting and penetrating agents offers superior cleaning, degreasing and surface preparation results. This water-based product can be used in place of petroleum and chlorinated solvents.
This Product Is Perfect For Use After Soda Blasting Or As A Wet or Dry Blast Rust Inhibitor.


A quick message regarding vegetation:

Baking soda can burn or brown vegetation due to the pH of the product. Flowering plants that are more delicate seem to be more quickly affected. Leafy green plantings and common lawn grass seem less likely affected. Having said this, all vegetation can be affected by baking soda residue to different degrees depending on how much baking soda contacts the surface or ground and the type of vegetation. Use of breathable tarps to cover plantings around houses and decks is recommended. Follow removal of the tarps with a copious tap water wash down of the plantings. In areas where tarping is not practical, start with a generous pre-soaking of the plantings and ground the day before with tap water. Flood all plantings with tap water immediately after blasting. We have even used a lawn sprinkler to keep baking soda residue off plantings and to keep the ground wet during blasting operations. Baking soda is water soluble and use of additive free baking soda, like Natrium Products, will increase the likelihood of a good outcome.

There is no guarantee that you won’t burn vegetation with the above mentioned techniques – these are just some ideas that have worked. I always caution customers about the possibility of burning the vegetation. Because of what we can do with baking soda, most customers are happy to deal with any possible side effects.

Useful Documents

The following are links to PDF documents that we have developed over the years

  • Post Job Handout
    This is a flier we hand out with every completed job what explains any additional steps a client may need to take after a soda blasting job is completed. 
  • Soda Blast – Automobile Paint Removal
  • Bottom Paint Removal
    When Soda Blasting the hull of a boat your client needs to be aware of their responsibility to prepare the boat properly before your arrival on the job site. All openings through the hull must be sealed, the boat must be securely and safely blocked and there must be the proper amount of clearance and access for us to perform our work. This contract explains those details.

Crushed Glass Blast Media, Soda Blast Media, Baking Soda Blasting & Sandblasting in Maryland