Can You Use Play Sand For Sandblasting?

Interested in doing some sandblasting?

And thinking to use kids play sand for sandblasting? Please take a break and wait for a minute before we analyze if its safe to use play sand for sandblasting or not. We will explore all the options for you and if there are any good alternatives to do sandblasting.

Though sandblasting can be done with play sand, but commercially available play sand in the market usually is not good for your health, even if you wear a respirator.

Why we can’t use Play Sand For Sandblasting?

The Play sand you get from any home improvement store or even online are usually made of crystalline silica. Most people call them quartz sand grains. But sandblasting with materials that contains high level of crystalline silica can cause permanent damage to your lungs.

While play sand is safe for kids to play with, it might not be safe for sandblasting. This is due to the reason that it becomes dangerous to health when silica is crushed or pulverize the grains. So if the kids are only playing with the sand and not blasting it on hard surface its pretty safe to play.

Because when the crystallized silica is crushed it forms a cloud of thin dust that covers a large area. The dust is so little that you wouldn’t be able to figure out that you are breathing in a highly hazardous environment. Some people say that if you do sandblasting with play sand outdoors and with the masks, it has no issue.

But the truth is that the small particles can still pass through most ordinary masks and you can still be exposed to breathe these particles even when you are outside. And this can seriously damage your lungs permanently. So if you still want to do the sandblasting anyways, make sure that you have the special air tight and super thick masks that won’t allow them to pass through.

So a good rule of thumb is that if you are not a professional sandblaster and you are trying to do that at home, you must use safe alternatives of play sand to sandblast that doesn’t contain more than one percent of this silica crystals.

Alternatives To Sandblasting With Play Sand

So as you can see, play sand is not a good material to do sandblasting, lets have a look at some of the other safe options to enjoy sandblasting.

1. Silica Free Play Sand

The matter of fact is you might know or not but play sand comes in two types. The first one is standard play sand and the other one is silica free play sand. If you have silica free play sand at home, then that’s a great news because you can easily and safely try your sandblasting with it.

Be sure to dry it well before using as it can be quite damp and wet from inside. If you try to do sandblasting with a damp one, you might end up clogging in the tubing causing drainage problems.

Also the silica free play sand can contains small amount of dirt and debris. So you need to make sure that the sand particles are clean and fine.

2. Reusable Glass Beads

Reusable glass beads is another great medium to sandblast. It is a safe alternative to silica play sand. You can use glass bead blasting for 4 to 6 cycles before needing to be replaces. They can be used in pressure blast cabinet or with the help of suction media. This makes the glass beads a versatile material to blasting.

Glass beads are usually used in sandblast cabinets and its upto you to choose before suction and pressure blasting. The maximum blast pressure for glass bead blasting is 40 PSI for pressure blasting and 80 PSI for suction cabinets. These values will help you determine the right time to blast.


Soda blasting is quite similar to sandblasting and a cheap alternative to sandblasting with play sand. But the only difference is that it uses baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to blast particles against a surface to clean it. Soda blasting is commonly used to remove light surface rusts, to clean wood, timber, doors, cars and to even clean structural steel surfaces.

4. Metallic Abrasives

The metallic abrasives can be used to clean extremely hard surfaces that needs more work. Though its an expensive option in the list, but can be reused. Also these metallic abrasives needs to be done in high pressure and airless environment, you might need a separate cabinet for this.

5. Organic Abrasives


What is the best sand to use for sandblasting?

Sandblasting can be done with any kind of sand. But the best and safest option is to use silica free sand or blasting sand. Though there are a lot of other materials that you can use for sandblasting purposes.

Is silica the same as sand?

Silica and sand are not exactly the same. But natural sand usually contains tons of crystalline silica also known as quartz sand grains. Silica can be of different types but if its about crystalline silica, its usually the one present in sand.

Best alternative to sand for blasting?

There are different alternatives to blasting. It all depends on where and for what you want to do blasting for. You can use glass beads, soda or more rough and tough materials like metallic abrasives.

Coal slag (Black diamond) can also be used for blasting but you need a high quality professional respirator and a cabinet to use it.