How to Clean a Commercial Soda Machine

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How to Clean a Commercial Soda Machine

Running a restaurant usually means keeping a running soda machine in operation for customers to use to get fresh soda pop. These machines carbonate fresh potable water with Carbon Dioxide (CO2), and mix them with different flavors of soda syrup. The machines need to be cleaned daily with clean water and sanitizers to take care of spills and dirt. Other cleaning tasks are necessary to keep the soda and syrup circuits safe to use for customers' drinks.

The inside of the machine and water bath have to be cleaned every six months to keep the inside of the machine clean and operating properly. Commercial soda machines are large pieces of beverage dispensing equipment,, so they tend to be one-time purchases for a small restaurant. This makes it important to get a soda machine that can be maintained with a simple step-by-step cleaning process. Restaurants can find commercial soda machines through restaurant suppliers, industrial and business retailers, on manufacturers' websites, and on the auction site, eBay.

Wiping Down the Soda Machine

Soda machines dispense a lot of syrupy beverages each day. Customers tend to spill these beverages on and around the outside of the machine during the course of getting their drinks. Use a clean cloth with mild soap and water to wipe down the outside of the machine on a daily basis. It is a good idea to practice this step a few times a day in restaurants with a high level of traffic. The soda machine is a finely tuned piece of equipment and harsh treatment or chemicals can harm it. Avoid using hot water that can damage rubber valves and casings. Additionally, avoid using strong detergents or bleach that can damage these materials. Scouring pads, steel wool, and other abrasives are best avoided as well. The refrigeration condenser on the soda machine is to be cleaned using a soft, bristle brush or vacuum cleaner to prevent damage to the parts.

Cleaning Schedule

The best way to ensure that the soda machine provides safe, high quality tasting drinks is to keep it clean and well-maintained. Managers need to create regular cleaning schedules and educate their employees in how to perform the necessary maintenance procedures. This is not hard, as the sections of this guide below indicate. Managers can walk their employees through each step-by-step cleaning process once or twice, and have employees take over after the employees are familiar with how to clean the equipment. A maintenance schedule posted prominently in the restaurant kitchen can help managers keep on top of the work.





External parts of soda machine; nozzles, ice tray

Wipe down with soapy water and sanitizer


Review pressure gauges; remote cooler

Adjust pressure settings; wash cooler with mild detergent

Six Months

Syrup and water circuits; water bath

Flush circuits; clean water bath with soapy water

This schedule is just an example of what managers can put up for their employees to follow. The work schedule ideally also includes specific dates for the next cleaning, flushing out, or other maintenance check. This schedule makes a good spot for managers to include other cleaning tasks for other pieces of restaurant equipment..

Flushing the Syrup Circuits

The syrup circuits funnel different soda flavors to the soda machine dispensers where the syrups mix with carbonated water. These circuits need maintenance on a regular basis to keep them clean and free of bacteria and mold. The circuits must be flushed out every time a new flavor of syrup is hooked up to the soda machine. If the circuits are not flushed, the built up syrup flavors can alter the taste and quality of the final product. Flushing the circuits is a simple, multi-step process.

  1. Remove the syrup circuit from the empty or old syrup container.
  2. Place the end of the syrup circuit into a container filled with clean, potable water. Ideally, the container should hold a few gallons of water.
  3. Press the dispensing lever for that soda syrup circuit on the soda machine. Run at least two gallons of water through the circuit.
  4. Prepare a solution of one pound baking soda to five gallons water in the now empty container.
  5. Place the circuit into this solution and run all five gallons through the circuit line.
  6. Prepare a third solution of five gallons clean water and one and a half ounces of bleach in the now empty container.
  7. Place the circuit into this solution and run all five gallons through the circuit line.
  8. Flush another few gallons of clean, potable water through the circuit to remove all traces of the bleach and baking soda from the line.
  9. Attach the new syrup container to the syrup circuit and test the line to ensure proper mixing of the soda.

Restaurants use different models of soda machines, but this basic set of instructions works to flush out and sanitize most syrup circuits. These instructions are also useful for cleaning and flushing out the water circuits on a soda machine. Restaurant managers need to put this procedure on the regular maintenance schedule for the soda machine to keep customers happy and healthy.

Cleaning the Water Bath

The water bath is where CO2 is dissolved into clean, potable water for mixing with the soda syrup. It is essential that this part of the machine is kept clean, sanitized, and safe for consumption. The water bath is completely cleaned every six months or when problems with taste or potability are noticed in the final soda product. This entails shutting down the soda dispenser, so it is best done while the restaurant is closed.

  1. Disconnect power to the soda machine. Remove top cover and open drain tube.
  2. Disconnect the refrigeration power cord from the control box. Allow the ice inside the bath to melt completely. This may take several hours.
  3. Unscrew the refrigeration deck from the soda machine exterior. Lift the refrigeration deck out of the machine by the handles.
  4. Remove the rear panel to the soda machine. Make sure that the CO2, water, and soda syrup supply are shut off.
  5. Clean the evaporator coil using soap and water, and a soft bristle brush. This is under the water bath.
  6. Depressurize the carbonator. This is usually done by lifting the relief valve.
  7. Unscrew the motor and pump deck, and lift out by the handles.
  8. Clean coils and inside of tank underneath the pump deck with soap and water and then rinse clean.
  9. Replace pump deck and motor, refrigeration deck, rear panel, and water bath in reverse order.
  10. Refill the tank with clean, clear water until it runs out of the overflow tube. Replace the top cover and turn the power back on.

Even if using different styles of soda machines, managers should be able to follow these basic steps to cleaning the water bath. Keep up with maintenance on this part of the soda machine to ensure that dust, mold and bacteria do not build up inside.

Buying a Commercial Soda Machine on eBay

A commercial soda machine can be purchased through eBay and located through the "Business & Industrial&" category. The search process goes much faster if you use the eBay search engine on the homepage to find soda machines. Just enter the search term into the search engine bar and press the "Search" button. The search term can be for brand name products or for general terms, such as "soda dispensing equipment.." The site searches through all listings in the relevant categories and returns the matches in a search results page.

Local Sellers

When purchasing a large piece of equipment like a soda machine, you might want to buy from a local seller and save some money on shipping. Buying locally means that it does not cost as much to ship and you may even have the option of meeting with the seller in person to pick up the item. To find local sellers, click on the "Distance&" filter in the menu next to the search results. Enter your zip code, and select your preferred search radius. The radius can usually be set to a minimum of ten miles up to a maximum of 2000 miles. eBay automatically updates the listings to reflect only those within the search radius.


A commercial soda machine provides fresh made soda pop by mixing carbonated water with different soda flavored syrups. These machines are essential for any restaurant or bar, but may be used in homes. Keeping the final product safe for consumption means staying on top of regular maintenance and cleaning. Restaurant managers need to wipe down the soda machine on a daily basis, including the ice tray and soda dispensing nozzles. Managers have to replace the empty soda syrups as they run out, and make certain to flush the circuits every time.

The soda and water circuits should also be flushed every six months to sanitize them. Every six months, the water bath needs to be opened up and the interior of the soda machine washed with soapy water and rinsed clean. Managers can help employees keep up with timely maintenance by showing them how to complete each part of the process and creating a long term schedule to follow. The schedule ideally features each task to complete, along with a date to do it. Soda machines can be purchased online through eBay.

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