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I Just Got a Soda Machine. Now What? 

Whether you’re trying to reduce waste or simply enjoy unlimited seltzer at home, here’s how to get the most out of your new gadget.

Published Mar. 10, 2022.

It’s a well-established fact that I am a seltzer fanatic. But after years of buying seltzer at the supermarket, I became exhausted for a few reasons: I hated lugging the bottles home from the store; they took up a ton of space in my refrigerator and my recycling bin; and they were expensive and wasteful.

Determined to solve this problem, my husband read my colleague Kate Shannon’s review of home soda makers, and surprised me with one of the winners. After months of drinking homemade seltzer, I have a few tips on how to maximize your soda machine’s potential.

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1. Consider the Bottles

Does your machine use glass or plastic bottles? Most machines are only compatible with plastic bottles, but one of our favorite models uses glass. Glass models are sturdy and dishwasher-safe, and will probably last longer. Plastic bottles are lightweight, convenient, and durable, but they will need replacing after a few years and many of them must be hand-washed.

2. Keep the Bottles Filled and Cold 

During our research, we verified that CO2 is more soluble in colder water. If you like extra-fizzy seltzer, you can pack in the bubbles by storing flat water in the fridge and then carbonating it when you’re ready for a drink. That way your water is both fizzier and refreshingly cold.

3. Know When To Add Flavorings

I love using the bottled flavor drops from various brands, but these are my favorite (I highly recommend the lime drops). Shop around and try different brands until you find one you like. Once you do, I have two tips for using them:

  • It’s best to add the flavorings after you’ve carbonated your water. I’ve found that adding them before will cause your water to overflow as you’re carbonating. 
  • Pouring the drops out of the small bottles they come in can get really sticky and messy. This is a little fussy, but I like to decant the drops into generic eye-dropper bottles using a small funnel (included with the bottles) to avoid the mess. Then I get to feel like a chemist when I’m flavoring my water.
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4. Optimize Your Cleaning Setup 

If you opt for dishwasher-safe bottles, cleanup will be a breeze. But if your plastic bottles aren't dishwasher safe, or you don't have a dishwasher, cleaning them is a tiny bit more involved. Here’s what I do: After every use I rinse them with warm water, and after about every fourth or fifth use I fill them with warm, soapy water and use a bottle brush to give them a good scrub.

You can do this as often as you like. I leave my bottles to dry on my dish rack, but you could also use a dedicated bottle drying rack

5. Get Your Money Back by Exchanging Canisters 

CO2 canisters are expensive, but many retailers have exchange programs that give you a discount for replacements when you bring empty canisters back. Check out this store locator to find an exchange in your area. You can also do an online exchange through multiple CO2 companies. Happy fizzing!

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