The SodaStream rapidly became one of the most popular tools in a middle-class kitchen because it allows people to make their own fizzy drinks and carbonated water at home. The company, which was founded in 1903, manufactures special bottles to go with the system.
Because the bottles are custom made by SodaStream and designed to withstand the pressure of the CO2, they have several requirements that can make them difficult to wash. This thorough guide explains how you can clean the bottles in a variety of situations, and even gives tips on how to eliminate unpleasant odors that build up over time.
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Can SodaStream Bottles Go in the Dishwasher?
This is a common question with a simple answer: No.
The manufacturers of the SodaStream make it clear on their packaging that the bottles to use with the machine are simply not dishwasher safe. This is because they are made from a type of plastic that is weakened by exposure to heat, and dishwashers are hot appliances.
How to Wash Bottles By Hand
Before you start cleaning, check the age of your bottle. The manufacturer recommends bottles only be kept for three years because that was how long they were safety tested for. If yours is older, it might still be okay, but could also be holding on to lingering smells or could break while in use.
Carbonated Water Only
If you are certain you want to continue with the cleaning, fill up the bottle with warm water to around the 25% mark. If you have only ever made carbonated water, you don’t technically need soap, but it helps with any odor.
Once the combination is inside, seal the bottle and give it a good, solid shaking. Empty it out once done and rinse away the soap.
Because the soap taste can linger, you might want to rinse a couple of times for thorough cleaning.
It is more difficult to clean a SodaStream bottle that has been used to make actual soda. The flavoring can leave a residue in the bottom of the bottles that resemble colorful sand. This can be tricky to eliminate since you can’t just stick your hand inside the bottle and scoop it out with a sponge.
To best reach residue, you need a long and thin scrubbing brush. The ones people use to wash dishes are beneficial since the head with the bristles is usually compact enough to squeeze through the neck of the bottle.
Squirt a little bit of dish soap into the bottle and mix it with warm water.
Slowly lower the scrubbing brush inside and carefully use it to scrape the residue off of the bottom of the bottle. Dump out the liquid and repeat this process as many times as necessary to remove all of the buildup.
What If I Can’t Find a Brush?
If you cannot find a long dish washing brush, or even a bottle brush, at your local store, you will need to use dish soap on its own.
Squeeze a few drops of dish soap into the bottle and fill it with warm water to the 25% mark. Shake vigorously to dislodge the residue. Empty the bottle, rinse, and repeat as many times as necessary.
If the residue does not come loose, fill the SodaStream container again and agitate it. Allow it to sit for a few minutes on the counter so the soap starts to break down the residue. Rinse once satisfied.
If you do, it could start to leave a residue of its own. Sometimes it is tempting to just let the dishes “soak” overnight, but this can be a major hazard to your SodaStream containers.
What Is the Residue Made of?
You don’t have to worry about the sandy residue being harmful. It is a combination of sugar and mineral buildup left behind by the interaction of the flavoring liquid and water.
The main issue with residue is that it does not dry out and can hold tons of hidden bacteria. Use a block of mild dish soap to eliminate it, and allow the bottle to dry thoroughly afterward. Soap is not inherently harmful, but it can lead a bad taste in your mouth if you do not have a chance to rinse all of it out or allow it to disintegrate.
How to Clean the Caps
You can use the same method for the caps that you used for the bottles. Focus on only using warm water and mild detergent to eliminate any bacteria that might have built upon the surface.
You do not need to use a long-handled or bottle brush for this task.
You can then dry it with a clean towel to remove excess moisture.
Will Soap Eliminate the Odor?
Dish soap is designed to eliminate the bad smells that permeate dishes after cooking and eating. It is the best substance to remove any lingering odors from your SodaStream bottles, especially if you have a tendency to go many weeks without cleaning them.
To truly cut through the smell of soda, using a lightly scented soap with a hint of citrus can be the best options. Use something infused with oranges or lemons to get refreshing bottles that can be reused and won’t retain any unpleasant smells.
If the soap seems unable to cut through an unpleasant odor originating from the bottle, consider using a small amount of vinegar.
The good thing about vinegar is the smell will fade away soon after the bottle is rinsed, so you can put it away without worrying your next batch of soda will smell like pickled vegetables.
Where Does the Musky Smell Come From?
The smell in the SodaStream bottles is the result of bacteria that has built up over time. If you use flavoring that utilizes sugar, bacteria will be attracted to the soda because it provides and easy food source.
If you drink directly from the SodaStream bottles, bacteria also is left behind on the neck from your mouth. Over time, it will start to proliferate and become more extensive, resulting in the musk you are inhaling. For context, at any given time, the average human mouth has over 350 types of bacteria fermenting.
Using soap with a mild lemon infusion is remarkably effective against oral bacteria. The soap already breaks down the organic growth, but the acidity in lemon helps cut through each bacterium as well.
One of the best methods to cut through bacteria is to actually squeeze some fresh lemon juice into the soapy mixture and shake it up well. The only catch is you need to rinse the bottle out almost immediately afterward, otherwise, the bacteria might start to eat the organic juice.
If you are truly worried the smell won’t dissipate and bacteria will remain behind, consider allowing soapy water to sit in the bottle for roughly 30 minutes. At that point, you can wash and rinse.
What You Should NOT Do When Cleaning Bottles
Don’t Use Hot Water
SodaStream uses a material called Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) for the composition of the bottles. PET is a type of synthetic plastic known to warp and break down when exposed to heat. In other words: It melts.
Unless you want melted plastic in your dishwasher, which will constantly liquefy and solidify each time you run the machine, just stick to basic washing by hand.
At the same time, reduce exposure to hot water when washing.
When the PET is damaged, it makes the SodaStream bottle unable to withstand the pressure that comes with making delicious fizzy drinks.
In other words, the CO2 gas used during the process will put too much pressure on the bottle, and it could shatter.
To avoid hurting yourself and others, just stick to a lukewarm rinse.
Avoid Scratching the Bottle
When you use a dishwasher or bottle brush to clean your SodaStream containers, it can be tempting to scrub with all your might. This is one of the worst things you can do.
When you scratch a dish (including things like cutting boards) you leave little pits and chasms where bacteria can become lodged. In a SodaStream bottle, this can be disastrous since you can’t reach into all of the scratches to clean the bacteria out.
In fact, many of the people who complain about bad smells in their bottles are those who have been scrubbing too roughly. Many have bacteria colonies flourishing in their favorite drink container.
Don’t Use Cleaning Chemicals
Too many people are tempted to use a flamethrower when a match would do. Instead of trying to utilize powerful chemicals like bleach, stick to mild dish soap.
Bleach is effective on nonporous materials, but can actually begin to disintegrate the light PET used by SodaStream.
There is also always the chance that not all of the bleach is rinsed out of the bottle, resulting in poisoning or a really bad taste.
Don’t try to get fancy with your dishwashing. It never ends well.
Don’t Put the Bottles Outside
The sun is great at warming people up, and humans love to sunbathe. Beautiful rays of glorious sunlight are an excellent way to brighten your mood, but will damage your SodaStream bottles.
The sun produces ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This invisible form of energy is what tans and burns your skin and is essential for providing the power generated by solar panels. However, it can also disintegrate plastic.
If you do not want to sacrifice the integrity of your SodaStream containers, keep them inside and store them away from the windows when possible.
Don’t Put the Bottles Away Wet
This is a surprisingly common problem, especially among the busy or lazy.
Although it can be tempting to put away a bottle while it is still damp, this is yet another bad move.
If you put wet SodaStream bottles away in a cabinet somewhere, you increase your chances of developing bacteria and mold. In many cases, you won’t be able to see the bacterium or the mold spores.
This can ultimately make you sick but is also likely to cause a pungent, rather musty odor.
Don’t Leave a Dirty Bottle
Few people enjoy doing the dishes, and many will try for as long as possible to avoid the chore. While this might be great for your procrastination, it improves the chances of bacteria and mold growing in your SodaStream bottles.
Instead of placing the bottle in the sink and forgetting about it, rinse it out immediately. Wash it that same day using mild dish soap and some water. Your bottles will thank you.
How to Remove Mold Spores
In its basic form, mold is spread by and first grows as spores.
It is from these that large patches of mold can develop.
If you leave your SodaStream bottles dirty for an extended period of time, you run the risk of developing just about any type of mold imaginable. The most dangerous one is the often feared black mold.
To properly clean out any mold spores that have found their way inside your SodaStream bottles, follow the advice above. Use a combination of warm water and dish detergent to kill the growths and rinse them out of the plastic containers. Utilizing lemon does not help in this case, but can be a great way to remove a musty smell.
How to Remove Physical Mold Growth
If you have truly abandoned your SodaStream for a long time, you might have visible mold growth. This is a bad situation to be in, as the mold might have already started to produce and release toxins. Warm water might not even be enough to kill the growth.
To try and remove physical mold, use warm water and dish soap again, and utilize your bottle brush. Physically break up the mold and rinse and scrape it out of the bottle as best you can. Avoid scratching the sides of the container, as this just gives the mold more places to develop.
This will smell awful, but the soap and vinegar will eat away at any spores or microscope mold growth left behind during the cleaning process.
After 45 minutes, dump out the mixture and rinse the bottle thoroughly. Pat away excess moisture and allow the container to dry before putting it away.
Why Is Black Mold Bad?
Scientists have long observed black mold and have come to the overwhelming conclusion that it is terrible for humans and other living creatures. Its scientific name is Stachybotrys chartarum, and it loves to live in places rich with cellulose, moisture, and tons of bacteria.
Black mold is commonly found in damp and damaged buildings, where it can grow in the walls, ceilings, and underneath floorboards.
Finding black mold in your SodaStream containers is one of the worst scenarios that can happen when you are trying to keep them clean. Black mold toxicity has been well-documented since the 1930s. The mold releases spores that can damage the respiratory system, leading to coughing fits, trouble breathing, attacks similar to asthma, and even death.
This reaction is caused by toxins in the mold. These come in two varieties: trichothecene mycotoxins such as satratoxin H, or atranones. Both are terrible for your health and need to be removed immediately.
What to Do
Honestly, if your SodaStream bottles have become infected with black mold, it might be best to just throw them away and get new ones. The PET is incapable of withstanding exposure to bleach and other powerful cleaning agents capable of destroying the spores.
If you do want to keep your bottle, wash and scrub the interior repeatedly with soap and water. Allow the bottle to dry completely, and then wash it again, this time with vinegar. You do not want any of the toxin to be left behind to cause you and your loved ones respiratory distress.
How to Clean the Machine
To keep it clean, remove the CO2 canister and wipe the area using a warm, damp cloth. You can then run over it with a dry dish towel to remove excess moisture.
Since the machine should not be exposed to anything besides water, this is the only thing you need to do.
It will smell pungent at first, but the scent dissipates rapidly and you do not have to worry about soap residue being left behind in the central CO2 canister chamber.
What If You Used Other Substances?
However, some people ignore the instructions of the SodaStream and try to carbonate other drinks like fruit juices. If this is the case, you might struggle to keep the machine clean because it will be sticky and exposed to sugar, which serves as food as bacteria.
Like before, first remove the CO2 canister and run over the area with a warm, damp cloth. Next, scrub the exposed area with a small amount of dish soap and the same cloth. Avoid using too much, as this can leave behind residue.
Once you have finished with the soap, remove all of it using a clean, wet cloth. You will need to dry the machine afterwards.
Can You Carbonate Juice?
You can carbonate other liquids besides plain water if they have a similar composition. In the United States, the majority of the fruit juice sold is primarily water with sugar and artificial flavors mixed in. It will carbonate, but it can create a massive mess and make it possible for bacteria and mold to grow in your bottles and machine.
If you want to carbonate juice, do it carefully and avoid spills.
Please do not attempt to carbonate other beverages like alcohol, milk, or sports drinks. This is a bad idea overall because not only will they taste terrible, but you pose the same risk of exposing your bottles and machines to sticky, foreign substances.
You might not have realized just how many risks your SodaStream bottles must endure so you can continue to enjoy carbonated water and fizzy beverages. However, you can overcome them all through a couple of basic cleaning mechanisms, some dish soap, and vinegar.
Finally, as a basic rule, please remember to only carbonate water using the SodaStream machine. Using another device or CO2 container runs the risk of damaging the bottles, increasing their chances of breaking or even exploding when exposed to the pressurized gas.
Then you’ll need advice on how to clean up the pieces and mop up the floor!