Many homemade soda enthusiasts love to carbonate their custom sodas to be as bubbly as possible. If you’re one of them, then you know that nothing is better than the sharp tingle of an extra fizzy soft drink. In many cases, you can use your SodaStream to inject some extra CO2 into your beverage to accomplish this. But sometimes soda overflows, making a huge mess, even when you think you’ve done everything right.
So how do you prevent SodaStream overflow? It depends on what exactly is causing the overflow in the first place. SodaStream drink makers are pretty simple machines, but there are a number of things that might be influencing CO2 diffusion and causing an overflow in your beverage bottle.
This is especially true when people are first learning how to use this soda maker machine.
There are lots of things that have to go perfectly to get the ideal carbonated beverage.
You have to lock the soda bottle into place perfectly, make sure that the seal is broken, use only cold water and fill it to a predetermined line on the bottle side, and then make sure that you don’t over carbonate the water past its saturation point.
Naturally, this takes a little practice to get used to. But we can show you all the ways to prevent SodaStream overflow no matter which issue you’re having. In most cases, the fix is a simple preparation adjustment or as easy as letting go of a button.
Follow the Fill Line Properly
One easy fix is to make sure that you aren’t overfilling your carbonating bottle. SodaStream bottles, which are the only types of bottles designed to be used with any of their soda makers, have a special fill line indicated on the neck of each bottle regardless of its overall capacity.
This line isn’t just a suggestion. It’s actually a smart way to prevent overflow when you carbonate a bottle of water. Soda makers infuse water with CO2 gas by forcing the gas into a liquid until the water can’t hold anymore.
In fact, the bubbles of carbonated water are simply packs of excessive CO2 gas trying to escape the liquid confines.
Leaving a little room at the top of the bottle prevents that gas from building up and straining the carbonating bottle. It also prevents the gas from displacing the water and causing it to foam at the top. Ever wonder why shaking a soda bottle causes overflow? It’s because the CO2 gas has been disturbed to such an extent that it demands escape.
As the gas tries to flee the bottle, it carries liquid with it out over the top. Therefore, filling your soda bottle higher than the designated “fill” line is asking for trouble. It’s always better to stop at this line or even fill the bottle a little less if you want to super-carbonate your beverage.
Plus, leaving a little room at the top creates a reservoir of CO2 gas that will make a satisfying “hiss” sound each time you remove the cap of your bottle.
It’s a key part of enjoying every one of your home crafted soda!
Fit the Bottle Properly
Using SodaStream machines are relatively simple, but there’s no doubt that it takes a few times to learn how to set up the bottle properly in the carbonation dispenser. No matter which model of soda maker you own, each will have a bottle rest tab right behind the carbonating tube.
If you’ve picked up the Fizzi One Touch then check out my 5 easy setup steps
This bottle rest tab is positioned so that you can rest the side of the bottle against it and push it back toward the soda maker. Then, you can use the bottle rest tab to keep the bottle in place as you guided towards into the Snap-Lock teeth that keep the bottle in place as it is carbonated.
If you don’t fit the bottle on correctly, the high-pressure CO2 gas and water might overflow since the outside is a lower pressure in the environment inside the bottle. The gas and water will seek to escape the confines of the container and spill all over your countertop or table. Therefore, you must make sure to slide your carbonating bottle into place each time you use the soda maker.
The Snap-Lock mechanism or locking teeth can also break or lose their integrity over time. This can happen just from usual wear and tear or from pulling your soda bottle out of the machine to quickly or roughly. Remember, most of the parts of these machines are made of plastic or low-durability metal to prevent them from becoming heavy or dangerous.
Take your carbonating bottle out of the soda maker carefully to prevent ruining the locking mechanism.
Don’t Shake the Bottle
We touched on this above, but it bears repeating. When you remove your carbonated water bottle from the soda maker, you might accidentally jostle it too much and displace the CO2 gas contained within the liquid.
This is the same thing as accidentally dropping a can of soda.
The end result is carbonated liquid overflowing as soon as you open the cap. While it’s not likely that your soda maker water will be quite as explosive as a well-shaken can of traditional soda, it’ll still make quite a mess.
Keep your carbonated water bottle stable and try not to jostle too much while you handle it. It’s true that you’ll have to shake it a little bit to mix any flavoring you want to add after the water has been carbonated, but this shaking shouldn’t normally be enough to cause an overflow.
If you do end up accidentally shaking the bottle, either when removing it for after it’s already been capped and stored for a little while, you can carefully disperse the built-up pressure by opening the cap extremely slowly and letting the CO2 gas escape over a short period of time. Listen to the hiss that sounds when you open the bottle cap and twisted to the left only in short increments until the bottle doesn’t make any more noise.
If done properly, this should result in no overflow when you finally remove the cap entirely.
You can also play the waiting game and simply let the bottle rest in the refrigerator for a few minutes to an hour. The CO2 gas that was released during the shaking will resettle back into the liquid if given enough time and if placed in a cold environment.
Use Cold Water
Speaking of cold, you should only ever use cold water when carbonating beverages using your SodaStream.
Why cold water as opposed to warm? Cold water has a higher capacity for CO2 gas than warm water. Basically, cold water can be fizzier than warm water since the same amount of liquid at a lower temperature can store more of the gas without releasing it back into vapor. You can literally pack more CO2 gas molecules into cold water.
CO2 gas also diffuses much more quickly in cold water rather than warm water.
Naturally, these aspects make cold water a great choice for making soda of all flavors. But it’s also important that you don’t flavor the water before you carbonate it.
Adding any kind of flavor to cold water beforehand changes the molecular density of the liquid and raises its temperature by a few degrees in most cases. This prevents the water from being able to hold as much CO2 gas as before, so the resulting beverage won’t be quite as fizzy as it would be otherwise.
Not to mention that flavored water usually has sugar and other compounds mixed together which can stick to the carbonating tube of your soda maker. Cleaning your soda maker is a lot more difficult when you have to scrub off dried sugar and other things besides regular water.
Don’t Carbonate Things Other Than Water
But the truth is that regular water is the best liquid for diffusing high amounts of CO2 gas in a timely manner. Regular water can hold more CO2 gas than any other type of liquid, and most soda makers come with preprogrammed carbonation buttons that dispense set amounts of the gas with each push.
This means that it’s really hard to properly carbonate any other liquid besides water. You’d have to fine-tune a level of carbonation specific for that beverage type over lots of experimentation and trial and error.
While it’s totally possible to do this given enough time and dedication, you’ll definitely experience some overflow problems when you try to make your other beverage as bubbly as regular carbonated water.
Other liquids don’t have the same surface tension, meaning that it’s easier for CO2 gas to escape or cause the liquid to rise. Others don’t accept a lot of CO2 gas for diffusion at all, meaning that most of the gas is simply rejected and spat back into the air as vapor.
If your SodaStream is overflowing because you keep trying to carbonate your juice, the solution is simple: stop! A better suggestion would be to highly carbonate a small amount of water and mix it with the same amount of un-carbonated juice. In this way, you can still get the general flavor of a sparkling juice beverage without making a huge mess over your countertop.
Despite our suggested advice above, it’s still generally a bad idea to over carbonate your drinks. Not only is it eventually a waste of good CO2 gas, but it has the potential to cause an overflow in your water bottle.
Although cold water has the highest CO2 capacity, it has a breaking point just like any other liquid medium. When water or any other beverage can’t allow any more CO2 gas to be diffused, it’s called “saturated”. At this point, any additional CO2 gas you try to inject will bubble up immediately and escape back to the air as vapor.
If you continue to hold down your sodastream’s carbonation button, you’ll simply be spitting CO2 gas into the bottle for it to immediately flee back out.
Even worse, much of the escaping gas will carry molecules of liquid with it, forming a thin foam that rises out of the bottle and spills everywhere.
However, you can still carbonate your sparkling beverage is higher than the market standard without reaching the saturation point. Most soda makers have buttons allowing you to request a high level of fizziness. This makes your beverages bubblier and sharper than most sodas you’ll be able to find at a restaurant or store, but they won’t automatically overflow.
Other soda makers will require you to hold down the carbonating button until you’re satisfied with the bubbliness of your beverage. With these models, take care to watch your sparkling drink as you carbonate it and pay attention to when it starts to foam up towards the neck of the bottle.
This is a sign that the liquid is totally saturated with CO2 and won’t accept any more.
For best results, we’d recommend chilling your water as cool as you can before it reaches a freezing point. This prepares the water to accept the highest amount of CO2 possible before saturation. For most refrigerators, the ideal temperature for soda beverages is between 39 and 46°F or 4 to 8°C.
Don’t Hold the Carbonation Button
This is related to over carbonating, but you may be doing it by accident rather than on purpose. You see, it takes CO2 a little time to diffuse throughout the entirety of a water bottle. Many soda makers have buttons that you are supposed to hold to determine exactly how fizzy a given beverage will be in the end. This is distinct from models like the SodaStream One Touch, which have single buttons you press and pre-determined amounts of carbonation.
With soda makers that have you hold the carbonating button, it’s a good idea to only hold the button down for 1 to 2 seconds and carbonate your beverage in short, controlled bursts of activity. Injecting your water bottle with CO2 in this way gives the gas enough time to work its way down to the bottom of the bottle and diffuse it equally.
If too much CO2 is contained at the top of the liquid, it may still overflow simply because the top half of the water bottle is oversaturated even though the bottom half is not.
You can force too much CO2 at the top of the water by injecting too much gas into short a time.
Basically, pump CO2 into your beverage by pushing the buttons a few times in total and never holding it down for longer than three seconds. This ensures that the gas has enough time to be spread around equally and will also let you have a better idea of the total fizziness of your bottle.
Once you hit around four pumps of gas, start watching the bottle to see if it is overflowing no matter how much time you add between pumps. Remember, any container of water will eventually be saturated with CO2 and won’t accept any more.
At this point, the bottle is as fizzy as it will ever get and should be capped immediately to preserve the carbonation.
Finally, although most soda makers are made to certain standards to prevent factory defects, nothing is perfect. Your SodaStream might simply be damaged either from frequent use or right out of the box.
There are a few different ways you can check to see if the problem is with your SodaStream machine rather than how you’re using it. Try making some drinks in a few different sizes of containers and try using different levels of carbonation to see if the overflow problem persists for all your variations.
If your soda maker continues to overflow your bottle no matter which settings you use, it’s probably a mechanical error.
There are lots of things that could be going wrong. As an example, the carbonating tube may be leading to much CO2 gas into your water bottle regardless of which button you press. Or it may be an issue with the carbonation cylinder valve at the back of the soda maker.
Check your carbonation cylinder whenever you’re having trouble with persistent overflowing.
It might be that the valve is too loose and is injecting too much CO2 each time you press one of the carbonation buttons.
The buttons themselves may also be damaged in one way or another. Some buttons become jammed into place if they are pressed too vigorously. This can lock them into injecting carbonation far beyond what their regular levels would allow. I’ve had this myself on an olde model I had picked up second hand.
Whatever the error, you should contact your manufacturer to see if your warranty is still in effect or if they can assist you with any mechanical problems. At the very least, SodaStream is usually able to identify the likely source of the overflow problem even if they can’t directly fix it right away. You can check out some more of their own FAQs here
Featured Image By Ted Eytan @ Flickr