At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Freeze spray is a hand-held can of compressed gases that can be used to spray a stream of high-pressure gas from a nozzle. Though often called "compressed air," freeze spray does not contain air; instead, it usually contains a mixture of fluorocarbons. This gas upon release is typically very cold, which gives the product its generic name. The cans come in a variety of sizes and are advertised for a number of uses, from hair maintenance to pet cleanup and just about everything imaginable in between.
Pet cleanup is one use for this compressed gas that comes out at extremely low temperatures. By using the gas from the can of freeze spray, soft or otherwise unmanageable feces can be nearly frozen, making it much more solid and easily picked up with a tissue or shovel for easier disposal. This can be especially useful if a pet has eaten something that has bothered his or her stomach and made cleanup more difficult. It is worth mentioning, however, that the freezing products do little to help remove odors or stains.
Freeze spray can also be used in hair styling. In this application, the spray is intended less to freeze and more to move the hair around. The compressed gas can help create body and lift in hair while allowing the stylist to control the direction and application of the stream of gas. The spray is sometimes used with another styling product such as hair spray or gel to help maintain the shape of the hair after spraying.
The relatively high velocity of the gas emitted from such cans also makes it excellent for cleaning dust out of small areas such as inside curio cabinets or computers. For this purpose, many computer supply stores or larger retail stores with computer departments sell cans of freeze spray to help in cleaning and maintenance. In this application, the product should be used in short bursts as longer sprays can cause a short buildup of moisture that can harm sensitive electrical systems.
Among some of the more unusual users of freeze spray are chocolatiers, who use the cold spray in construction of large chocolate sculptures. Two separate pieces of chocolate can have heat applied to certain areas on them to make the chocolate soft. The melting areas on each piece are then pushed together. When freeze spray is applied to the area, the cold solidifies the chocolate and can effectively fuse the two pieces into one.
It is important to note that many freeze spray canisters contain propellants that may be abused for recreational drug purposes. To help prevent such actions, some manufacturers have added chemicals to the gas inside the cans that have a very bad taste and make inhaling the product unpleasant. This also helps discourage young children from accidentally inhaling any large amounts of the propellants.