SodaStream machines are usually used with their pre-made, paired bottles. These bottles are ready to go right out of the box, being well sized to fit under the carbonation nozzle and having a fill line to let you know when to stop filling it with cold water. Still, many have wondered what would happen if they tried a regular bottle instead.
So what happens if you use regular bottles for SodaStream?
It actually depends on the bottle. If you manage to find a regular bottle that can fit into the carbonation nozzle, you can use it just like any other kind of bottle. The trick is that you have to keep a very close eye on things to ensure that the water doesn’t overflow.
SodaStream bottles are already well-designed to fit inside their machines and to take in the required amount of carbonation for a good fizzy drink. With a regular bottle, you’ll have to determine how much carbonation is best and when to stop filling the bottle to prevent overflow.
Oftentimes, this takes a good amount of trial and error before you find the right answer.
Overall, it’s recommended that you use the SodaStream bottles due to their ease of use and predetermined measurement lines. But you can always use regular bottles if your specially made bottle supply runs out due to expiration or if you suddenly need a new bottle and can’t go to the store just yet.
Using SodaStream Bottles vs. Regular Bottles
While it is possible to use a different bottle to store your carbonated water, the SodaStream proprietary bottles are the only ones recommended by the manufacturer. There are several reasons for this.
The first is ease of use. SodaStream bottles all have convenient markings on their outsides to let you know how far you should fill the bottle with cold water. This way, you never run the risk of accidentally filling the bottle too much and causing it to overflow when you add carbonation.
This is a serious risk that can affect the quality of your carbonation, too, as well as cause a big mess. Carbonated water that overflows will get everything and require cleaning after the fact.
But more importantly, your machine-made bottle leaves a little room at the top to allow for excess carbonation to collect. This reduces pressure on the bottle and prevents it from straining the cap and reduces the likelihood of the bottle ever being really damaged.
Using SodaStream bottles also means that your soda containers are protected beneath the warranty of your registered machine.
These bottles, although they are made to last, can break or suffer damage in the course of their regular use. SodaStream will only replace or repair bottles that are under their manufacturer label.
They won’t replace a regular bottle or glass you’re using from your own home, of course.
It’s a bit harder and riskier to use a non-SodaStream bottle. Regular SodaStream bottles fit into the carbonating nozzle and snap into place, securing them for the duration of the carbonation process. This fitting is what makes using alternative bottles so tricky.
It’s possible that you can find a water bottle or another container that can fit perfectly onto the carbonating nozzle. On most SodaStream machines, you have to engage the nozzle and lock it into a bottle in order to even begin the carbonating process (Failure to lock in the bottle could result in a flat soda – so check out this article for more on fixing that) This limits your options considerably, but it’s a necessary safety measure to ensure that the top of the machine doesn’t explode or injure you.
If you do manage to find a fitting bottle, you can simply slot it into place and carbonate as usual. However, you should be careful that you leave some room at the top just like the regular SodaStream bottles. This precaution will prevent your carbonated water from overflowing or causing the machine to sustain damage.
You will also likely need to hold your new bottle in place, as chances are that it doesn’t fit perfectly beneath the carbonating nozzle. This will let you keep an eye on the carbonation process and make sure that things are going smoothly as you add more and more fizz to your water.
You should, of course, make sure that you have a bottle that can be safely washed after the fact.
Soda is full of sugar and becomes sticky, necessitating a wash after every addition of syrup or flavored additive.
There is another note of caution when it comes to using non-SodaStream bottles. The SodaStream bottles are sized between 0.5L and 1L in most cases and are sized specifically for the amount of carbonation dispensed by the SodaStream machine.
If your non-SodaStream bottle is of a different size, you will have to be careful that the amount of carbonation you add doesn’t overwhelm the bottle’s structural integrity.
Always go with the smallest amount of carbonation at first when you are trying out a new bottle. This will let you determine the best carbonation amount for that size gradually.
Why Do You Need to Replace SodaStream Bottles?
You will likely have to replace your SodaStream bottles are one point or another due to several factors.
For one, the proprietary bottles aren’t designed to last forever. While they are made to be durable and last for a few years, they will eventually be worn out and won’t have the integrity they did before. This can manifest as bending under pressure or in their cap, which may not close as tightly as it used to.
In addition, SodaStream bottles start to suffer in quality when they are exposed to any kind of high heat. This includes throwing them in the dishwasher. The dishwasher has water tossed about at extremely high temperatures. This water is likely to melt the plastic or at least weaken it, so if you’ve ever accidentally done this you’ll need to replace those bottles.
But even other heat sources can require a bottle replacement. Sitting the bottles next to an oven or a radiator can do the same damage.
Furthermore, SodaStream bottles are vulnerable to scratch damage. Scratch damage can weaken the bottle’s ability to withstand the pressure of the carbonation process overall, so be prepared to replace any bottles that have visible damage on their fronts.
SodaStream glass bottles, used by some of the more advanced machines, should also be inspected for wear and tear. Although these can be used in the dishwasher, they are sometimes more vulnerable to physical damage, especially if they are ever dropped on the ground.
Naturally, these must be replaced if they break at all. Broken glass is unable to maintain a seal and will leak immediately upon placing liquid inside.
Finally, SodaStream bottles expire. This is true regardless of their material or type.
Expired bottles will need to be replaced ASAP.
It’s best to treat them as an expired food product; don’t use them even once if they’ve passed their designated date.
Thankfully, you can get SodaStream bottles in all kinds of places. You can order replacements right from the manufacturer’s website, or you can find local retailers like Target, which frequently have bottle replacements for affordable prices.
Why Do SodaStream Bottles Expire?
The SodaStream bottle expiration dates are used as estimates by the manufacturer, presuming a normal amount of use and pressurization stress. Any kind of carbonation effort puts stress on the container. The CO2 gas expands and presses against the sides of the bottle or glass, creating stress that taxes the rigidity of the structure.
Therefore, even perfectly-cared-for bottles must be replaced eventually. The trouble is that this time for replacement might vary from bottle to bottle, especially if you have one that you use more frequently than the others.
The solution is the expiration date. This way, you know when you’ve had the SodaStream bottles for long enough that you ought to get replacements. It’s a catchall way to ensure that you don’t use bottles that are too weak to be relied upon the next time to want to have a soda.
The expiration date also takes into account heat damage and a general relaxation of the bottle’s structure. Furthermore, the twist cap tops of the bottles wear down over time; each time you twist or untwist the cap, the ridges become less pronounced. Given enough time, you won’t be able to secure any cap at all atop a well-used SodaStream bottle.
While it’s true that some people will use their bottles less than average, it’s still a good idea to keep to the expiration date if possible.
The expiration date is not a hard and fast rule, however. It’s not as though the bottle will simply fall apart on the day of its expiration. Rather, the expiration date is when you should start looking for replacements (or, even better, a few days before).
You can still use a SodaStream bottle for a few days after it expires. But each day after the expiration is pushing your luck and it’s only a matter of time until the bottle reaches a breaking point and either explodes or starts to leak.