Introduction: 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.

Step 2: Drill Hole in Caps

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Take the caps off of the bottles. Grab the drill and drill a hole in the middle of each bottle cap.

Step 3: Cut the Ends of the Tubing

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Grab the tube and cut each end at an angle so it is easy to stick through the holes in the caps.

Step 4: Stick Tube Through the Bottle Cap

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Now stick each end of the tune into a bottle cap. Screw the caps on. One end of the tube should be in the bottle about an inch. The other end should reach all the way to the bottom of the bottle.

Step 5: Find Something to Carbonate

Picture of Find Something to Carbonate

Find something you want to carbonate. You can carbonate basically any liquid. There are many great recipes for sodas on the internet. Make the beverage and then pour it into the bottle that has the tube going to the bottom. (I just used water for the Instructable). Leave about an Inch and a Half space at the top for air. Screw the cover back on.

Step 6: Fill the Other Bottle With Vinegar

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Unscrew the cover on the other bottle. Grab a funnel and fill the bottle about 1/3 full with vinegar. Leave the cover off.

Step 7: Baking Soda

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Grab one square of toilet paper. Put about a tablespoon of baking soda on it. Then fold the toilet paper up as indicated in the pictures.

Step 8: Adding the Baking Soda

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First, make sure the cover on the to-be carbonated beverage is tight. Hold the Cover to the bottle with the vinegar in one hand and the toilet paper wrapped baking soda in the other hand. Drop the toilet paper baking soda roll into the vinegar. Screw the cap on as quickly as possible. Shake the bottle.

Step 9: Shake Your Drink

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Grab the bottle with your drink and shake it vigorously. You will notice bubbles coming out of the tube. Thats the CO2 that will carbonate your drink. Keep shaking to disperse the CO2. Shake until there are no more bubbles coming out of the tube. Shake one more time and let sit for a minute or two.

Step 10: Opening the Beverage

Picture of Opening the Beverage

It is time to open the drink! First pinch the tube above the bottle. THIS IS IMPORTANT. Pinching the tube will prevent a ton of CO2 form coming out of the other pressurized bottle. If you don't do it, your drink will spray everywhere and probably lose its fizz. While pinching the tube, slowly open the bottle with your drink. Now bring the other bottle with the tube still pinched to the sink and release it. You will notice a ton of CO2 escaping, sometimes the vinegar, baking soda, toilet paper mixture will come out too. Thats why you should do it over the sink.

Step 11: Enjoy

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You can drink your now carbonated beverage. Enjoy!

Use the byproduct for making sodium acetate. Click Here


grammasandie (author)2015-03-13

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....?

HandyMummy (author)grammasandie2017-08-10

You can use (unused ;-) ) toilet paper without any worries. It's excactly as clean as kitchen paper, uncollored paper napkins, coffee and tea filters etc. as long as it's a new roll fresh from the package or a roll kept elsewhere than the bath room.
Or simply use one of the alteratives mentioned above. gl

im ok (author)grammasandie2015-12-19

It is so that there is a delay between dropping it in and the reaction. This allows for capping the container.

kamhagh (author)2016-09-17

Hah! Awesome xD but buying it is easier

CoryK12 (author)2016-06-29

I have done this a few times and I did two things different.

1st I put a simple valve at the bottle that holds the drink. when the pressure is equal and the max is reached I close off the valve locking in the gas. next the soda mixture is cold next to freezing..a few floating ice chunks is good. lastly with the valve shut I shake the bottle vigorously for a minute or so. the more surgace area exposed to the co2 the more will be absorbed. I let it rest in the fridge for a while before pouring a cold tall glass of bubbly lemon goodness!

ConnerB5 (author)2016-05-17

Water tasted like vinegar.

JamesG227 (author)2016-05-13

You will get better results with carbonation if the brink being carbonated is well chilled. The colder the liquid, the more CO2 will go into solution. Consider inserting a valve in the hose, instead of pinching. This will increase the cost a few dollars, but make things easier when you clean up.

IsaiahH6 (author)2016-02-15

oh nevermind

IsaiahH6 made it! (author)2016-02-15

I made it, and I found that a 1 liter pop bottle, and a water bottle work well. I used the pop bottle as he drink bottle, and the water bottle as the reaction chamber(the good sturdy kind of water bottle). I also found that you should use 1 cup vinegar and 2 Tbs baking soda, at least for my setup. Finally, i'd say that this method works well, and should be used if you don't want to blow 350 smack on a commercial carbonation device. One last thing, I used some pink lemonade drink mix as a good flavor to the previously carbonated water. Sorry for the 2 pic thing, I pressed the upload button twice.

TaylorF3 (author)2015-11-10

Can you use dry ice chips and water instead of baking soda and an acid?

krer (author)2015-03-07

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

caplaon (author)2014-06-06

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.

BabeGirl (author)caplaon2014-08-31

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.

jtmax24 (author)2014-06-18

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

3windstars (author)2014-04-09

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?

j1,66 (author)2013-12-12

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!!

bengus (author)2009-12-22

 nice work man . but the final product taste and smells of vinegar ..i hope that should be some alternative solution.. 

fn06afranci (author)bengus2010-07-25

you can use alka selzer tablets and water instead or the effervessant vitimin tablets and water

shancre (author)fn06afranci2012-11-03

Does this really fizz up as much as what is described above?

beehard44 (author)bengus2010-07-30

i heard a co2 gennie that uses yeast

DooMer10 (author)bengus2010-06-29

you can use lemon juice maybe

zombiehunter96 (author)bengus2010-04-25

Hmm not when I use it :/

macmari (author)2012-10-03

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!

knexfreak32 (author)2012-07-04

Needle nose pliers would help ( I always use then for pulling tubing through)

gbuickus (author)2011-11-11

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.

brianfss (author)gbuickus2012-06-13

Good suggestions. I liked how you improved on the writers idea without trashing him. Your third suggestion was pretty funny too.

vov35 (author)gbuickus2012-03-21

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!

vov35 (author)2012-03-21

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.

bubbachr (author)2011-04-04

how do you eliminate the taste of vinegar?

gbuickus (author)bubbachr2011-11-11

You should get similar results with citric acid and baking soda (Alka-Seltzer). No vinegar, no smell or taste.

beehard44 (author)2011-06-23

what about putting sodium bicarbonate in ice tea? It has citric acid, theoretically it should work, removing the need for a second bottle

gbuickus (author)beehard442011-11-11

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. :)

h0meIandsecurity (author)2010-10-16

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!


nclarke (author)2011-08-17

Pause the video at 2:07 xD

awent0428 (author)2011-06-04

It worked! but it blew up on me!

imaxb6 (author)2011-04-03

i tryed it and it worked perfect

bubbachr (author)2011-03-27

ware did you learn to do this

mkambas (author)2009-12-16

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.

Lance Mt. (author)mkambas2011-03-14

"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.

alester333 (author)2010-05-16

 What were your costs for a liter bottle?

Lance Mt. (author)alester3332011-03-14

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.

ASCAS (author)2010-10-26

I replaced the toilet paper with sandwitch plastic.

Lance Mt. (author)ASCAS2011-03-14

Interesting, why?

Evan606 (author)2011-01-01

So OP or anyone who's tried this, does this drink taste like vinegar from the gas or no?

Lance Mt. (author)Evan6062011-03-14


TechDante (author)2010-12-31

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

h0meIandsecurity (author)2010-10-16

good....but i want to use it for 2 days and i want to bring it to school i dont want to bring tube to school can i swotch cap with a hole with another cap so that co2 doesn't escape!

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