What is in Canned Air and What Can It Be Used For?
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What is in Canned Air and What Can It Be Used For?

What exactly is canned air and what are its applications around the home? Whilst Canned Air has a myriad of uses for householders and users of sensitive electronic equipment than cannot be cleaned with water, it is also considered environmentally unfriendly. Is there a cleaner and safer alternative to canned air?

Canned air, compressed gas and air dusters all do much the same thing. When placed into a pressurised container and directed with a nozzle, they deliver high bursts of air which can be directed via a long thin tube for accurate application. They are generally used for cleaning purposes in instances where water cannot be used.

What is Canned Air used for?

  • It is often used for cleaning dust from sensitive electronic equipment such as keyboards, computers and peripheral devices, cameras, recording equipment and music systems.
  • DIY enthusiasts often use it to clean sawdust and debris from work stations
  • Cleaning the interior of cars or confined spaces
  • A myriad of other uses around the home include cleaning lampshades, smoke detectors, baskets, ventilation fans, bookshelves and crowded display cases.
  • It is also useful in cases of insect infestation, to find the source of the infestation by using small bursts of canned air in potentials cracks and crevices around the home before spraying them with insecticide

What is in Canned Air?

Liquid gasses, such as trifluoreothane, tetrafluoroethane and difluoreothane are compressed to form canned air. Hydrocarbons such as butane have been used in the past but due to their flammable nature have been replaced with fluorocarbons in their modern day equivalents.

It should be noted that when the liquid is released from the can it rapidly cools any surface that it touches due to its low boiling point. With extended use it can cause frostbite on contact with skin. It should also be noted that as canned air is pressurised, like any aerosol it is considered explosively volatile.

Environmental Impacts of Canned Air

Trifluoreothane, tetrafluoroethane and difluoreothane are all greenhouse gases. Although these canisters are generally ozone safe, they still contribute to global warming. If you are looking for a greener alternative to canned air, there is a solution available. A company called ‘Canlessair.com’ has designed a rechargeable, cordless air duster which doesn’t use chemicals and emits no greenhouse gases. It also lends itself to more applications than its predecessor aerosol form of canned air because it can be used continually for over 18 minutes and will not freeze up or cause frostbite. If you have several dusty houseplants around the home – ‘canless air’ is a great cleaning solution!

WARNING: Due to the name ‘canned air’ people have mistakenly assumed the can contains nothing more harmful than air and have abused this product by inhaling it. The gases used in canned air are denser than normal air and if abused in this way can lead to serious injury, paralysis or even death. For this reason purchasers of canned air must be able to prove they are over 18 years of age. 

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Comments (6)

Excellent post. Thank you, Ann, for warning us on this type of product. 

This is really well written Ann

this is very good to know

Good profiling Ann, thank you.

I have a much better understanding of canned air and its uses now, thanks.

Useful post. Thank you Ann for your support. Requesting your continued FRIENDSHIP and SUPPORT.