Build a fridge: wet ice + dry ice

If you’re headed out for the day, combining dry ice with wet ice is a great way to prep a cooler for holding drinks. With dry ice keeping the wet ice frozen, you’re guaranteed to have your wet ice last all day (if not longer!) and keep your drinks extra cold. This is also a great way to save money and time - by not having to buy extra wet ice and dealing with draining a wet cooler.

This method isn’t just for drinks - you can put anything into the cooler that you’d like to keep cold. It’s another version of the dry ice fridge.

The exact temperature of your cooler (now a dry ice fridge) will depend on the amount of dry ice you use, the size of your cooler, and amount of food/drink inside the cooler. Dry ice comes in either blocks or pellets.

For this project you will need dry ice blocks.

Always handle dry ice with care and wear gloves whenever touching it. An oven mitt or towel will also work if gloves are not handy. If touched briefly, dry ice is harmless, but prolonged contact with the skin will cause injury similar to a burn.

Find more safety information on our dry ice safety page.

Step 1

Place unwrapped dry ice blocks into the bottom of the cooler you’re using. For a regular 60-90 quart cooler (the typical cooler you’d take camping), you’ll be able to fit two dry ice blocks side by side, at the bottom of the cooler.

Step 2 

Next, put a layer of wet ice on top of the dry ice. It’s a good idea to shake the cooler a bit, to make sure that the wet ice falls among & between the dry ice blocks. You’ll want enough wet ice in the cooler so that there’s a 3-4 inch layer of wet ice on top of the dry ice. For a regular 60-90 quart cooler, this will be 20-30 pounds of wet ice.  


Step 3

Time to load up your cooler! Place your bottles and cans directly into the wet ice, digging them in a bit so that they get really cold.


The dry ice will keep the wet ice frozen for much of the day, an average of 6-8 hours, slightly less if the cooler is opened often and the dry ice doesn’t stay insulated by the wet ice and drinks.