Carbonating: The Cheap and Easy Way

Picture of Carbonating: The Cheap and Easy Way
Have you ever wanted to make your own carbonated beverages such as soda and carbonated water? Well, I have. However, after doing a lot of research I realized that the carbonation machines you can buy cost hundreds of dollars. But then I found this way of doing it. It costs very little and can be made with stuff found around the house. It's great for making homemade sodas, seltzer water, and even re-carbonating flat beverages. I even tried carbonating chocolate milk... it was pretty interesting but not bad. :D

WARNING: BE CAREFUL! If you use too much vinegar and baking soda, it could blow up and make a huge mess in your kitchen, or worse... injure you. It happened to me (not the injury, but the explosion). I can assure you, it is not fun to clean up. This is high pressure stuff you are working with. So, please consider safety glasses and doing this outside on your first couple tries. Please don't hold me responsible for the mess in your kitchen if it does explode.

Sorry about the crappy video.

See The Video Here

Step 1: Collect Your Materials

Picture of Collect Your Materials
You Will Need:

2 PLASTIC Bottles (preferably 20oz) With Caps
3 ft. (aprox.) of tubing, fish aquarium size
Drill Bit a little bit smaller than the tubing
Funnel (forgot to put it in the pic)
Toilet Paper... Yes Toilet Paper
Baking Soda
Liquid You Want Carbonated

Note: Don't Use Glass Bottles, They Could Explode.
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grammasandie5 months ago

this was really good video work and excellent instruction detail; however; toilet tissue---I do not think I will ever drink soda's ever again unless you tell me one simply uses the tissue to shake the baking soda into the vinegar..... in that case why can't you just use a measuring spoon and a funnel....?

krer5 months ago

To avoid the vinegar taste, use vitamin C or lemon juice for your acid.

caplaon1 year ago

Hello! I just tried this carbonating process and successfully done it, but how do I eliminate the smell and taste of the vinegar? By the way i used purified drinking water.

Usely if you use vinegar in a recipe for a smoother less bitter taste lemon juice will work just as good and it's an ingredient used in making 7up & sprite.

jtmax241 year ago
Can't watch video from my phone. that really sucks since I rarely turn on my netbook/laptop any more.
3windstars1 year ago

Looks like this is working for most of you, but we've tried everything we can figure out and none of the CO2 is staying in the drink. As soon as we begin to open the drink container (yes, with the tube pinched tightly), all of it violently bubbles immediately--not spewing out like when you shake a soda bottle, but big bubbles like it's boiling. There's nothing left by the time we can get it to our mouths. We live at 3000ft elevation, so I know that will have some effect, but it seems like SOME of it should stay in solution. We've tried the diffuser trick, we've tried adding more and less baking soda...any help out there?

j1,661 year ago
best seltzer water ive ever tasted. we put around half a bottle of vinegar and 2 tbs of baking soda and it becomes hard for it not to fizz over when we open it thnx man!!
bengus5 years ago
 nice work man . but the final product taste and smells of vinegar ..i hope that should be some alternative solution.. 
you can use alka selzer tablets and water instead or the effervessant vitimin tablets and water
Does this really fizz up as much as what is described above?
i heard a co2 gennie that uses yeast
DooMer10 bengus5 years ago
you can use lemon juice maybe
Hmm not when I use it :/
macmari2 years ago
I tried the same thing! The difference was that I cut a napkin into quarters and used one quarter of a napkin instead of toilet paper. I also lacked the tube and used straws. It was rather hard, but, I did the same thing.

The experiment worked great! Thank you so much for posting this!
knexfreak323 years ago
Needle nose pliers would help ( I always use then for pulling tubing through)
gbuickus3 years ago
Nice write-up.

I'm thinking that a diffuser at the end of the tube would help the CO2 into the water a bit more effectively. I accomplished this without any extra cash spent on fancy ceramic diffusers by just plugging the end of the tube and poking several holes along its length (near the end) with a small needle. Smaller bubbles should let the CO2 be absorbed more easily.

...if it's anything like ozone, I haven't tried this project yet, but the diffuser (holes poked into the tube) works very well on my water ozonater (purifier).

Second idea, is to use citric acid instead of vinegar; in powder form. Put small amounts of citric acid and sodium bicarbonate into one bottle with the short tube protrusion, water into the other bottle with the length of tube. Squeeze the bottle of water, forcing the water through the tube into the powdered mix, creating CO2 (see Alka-Seltzer). This way there's no toilet paper and no rush to screw caps on. Just off the top of my head, may be a terrible idea. :)

Third one is this: a small "pressure relief" hole cut into the lid of the bottle with the water. My thinking is that this eliminates risk of explosion (you are creating a pressure vessel after all, see pipe-bomb) as well as allowing more CO2 to be bubbled through the beverage as its flow is no longer restricted by equal pressure on the side with the water. Realize that in two closed vessels, once pressure is equal, there's no more flow between them.

Hope I could help. Third suggestion is a very strong recommendation on my part, I don't want to read an Instructable on how to remove plastic shrapnel. :)

P.S. - I did not read every comment, if any of this has been previously suggested, please disregard. Except for the good parts.
Good suggestions. I liked how you improved on the writers idea without trashing him. Your third suggestion was pretty funny too.
vov35 gbuickus3 years ago
Third suggestion is not a great idea as the CO2 needs the higher pressure to dissolve more fully. Maybe if you devised some sort of blow-off safety valve it would be better.

Citric acid is good, and diffuser is brilliant!
vov353 years ago
It's crucial to note that this should be done with SODA bottles only, and not other types. Soda bottles are designed to withstand the pressure from the co2 escaping the soda, and have been safely taken up to 150 psi. Regular water bottles could potentially fail, as could other plastic containers that somebody could try.
bubbachr4 years ago
how do you eliminate the taste of vinegar?
You should get similar results with citric acid and baking soda (Alka-Seltzer). No vinegar, no smell or taste.
beehard444 years ago
what about putting sodium bicarbonate in ice tea? It has citric acid, theoretically it should work, removing the need for a second bottle
I think: The reaction of the Baking Soda with the acid leaves you with CO2, H2O and Na (Sodium). So you get the carbonation that you want, but with the extra Sodium, I'm not sure if it'd be good to drink too much of that. Sure, there's Sodium in sports drinks but you're not advised to drink those all the time.

It may be safe, though. I haven't really put much effort into looking up the effects of drinking alkaline metals. :)
you can find this tubing in CRT monitor
Umm... you realise just how bad of an idea that sounds?

No. Tubing costs $0.70 a meter if that in Australia, jsut buy it.
Oh, yeah! Today i found it on market place. Some people were selling some tubes and i asked them do you have some transparent and smaller, and they had it! I had i don't want to buy it now but when i will be having money, maybe tommorow. He ignored my question and asked me: "How much long", i said "about 2 meters is enough" and he gave it to me for free!
nclarke4 years ago
Pause the video at 2:07 xD
awent04284 years ago
It worked! but it blew up on me!
imaxb64 years ago
i tryed it and it worked perfect
bubbachr4 years ago
ware did you learn to do this
mkambas5 years ago

thx very much for this instructable.
i tested it, it works, and it's quite handy. i've assembled the tools in a box and labeled it "Carbonator."

there's only one thing i would change:

toilet paper doesn't work for me. it disintegrates easily in the water and when shaken it can clog the tube.

since the goal is to add the baking soda all at once, you may wanna use
1. either stronger paper (wax, parchment, plastic) leaving one end open. however, this still is a single-use method, or

2. place the b/soda in a small, open-ended container* (smaller than the bottle neck) and add it to the vinegar all at once. this multi-use method eliminates the need for paper altogether.

*an "open-ended container" can be a marker top, a short cigar tube, an empty BIC pen (remove ink cartridge, leave top on), a piece of hose with a cork on one end, or any similar object.

"when shaken it can clog the tube"

Swirl it then. You don't want vinegar anywhere near the tubing otherwise it might squirt into your drink.
alester3335 years ago
 What were your costs for a liter bottle?
Do you mean all up costs to produce this, and then a litre of water?

Lets say $0.33 of tube, $1 for a cheap, no-named soda (not hard to get for free, empty.. C'mon.), the bi-carb - $4.00 for a 250gram box (can get for much cheaper) and $1 for 2 litre bottle of vinegar.

+ flavouring.

ASCAS4 years ago
I replaced the toilet paper with sandwitch plastic.
Lance Mt. ASCAS4 years ago
Interesting, why?
Evan6064 years ago
So OP or anyone who's tried this, does this drink taste like vinegar from the gas or no?
TechDante4 years ago
nice instruction. one note tho in your vid you should have removed all the air from the water bottleso that you could have the maximum amount of CO2 for carbination. other than that it works fine
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