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Soda Bottle Explodes Like a Bomb

sodagarageexplosion2.jpgNo, this is not a story about kids setting off a 2-liter soda bottle bomb or a mad scientist brewing up an explosive mixture in his garage. This is the story about a senior citizen living in Windsor, Colorado who awoke to the sounds of a loud explosion coming from her garage… and you won't believe what happened.

It is 2:00 o'clock in the morning and I awoke to this terrible loud exploding sound. I didn't know if it came from outside or inside of my house. My dog started barking, and I quickly turned on all the lights.Since I live alone I was scared, I thought someone broke the window. I ran around in the house checking, but couldn't find anything. Then I thought someone broke into my garage. I grabbed my dog and carefully opened the garage door to find a big mess of ice thrown everywhere. First I thought the roof caved in under the snow, because all the white crunchy stuff that was all over my car, all over on the wall in one corner above a table, all over the cement floor. Things were knocked down, it looked like a war zone. What could have happened???

Then I saw a mangled piece of plastic on the ground, and suddenly it hit me what expired in my cold garage. During the day, when I carried my groceries from the car, one of the bags was about to tear from the weight, so I took a bottle of Canada Dry carbonated water out of the paper bag and put it on the table in the garage, and I completely forgot about it. During the night the contents froze and the bottle exploded with a big bang, throwing the frozen carbonated water all over everything that was nearby. Even the top of my garbage bin that was at the other end of the garage was covered with the frozen remains of the soda.

When I first saw the pictures, I thought that someone was sending me a photo of the aftermath of a dry ice bomb. But the story checks out… and it wasn't even Diet Coke or a flavored beverage. So, you know the first thing I had to do, right? I bought a bottle of Canada Dry carbonated water and stuck it outside during this recent cold spell that brought below zero temperatures to Colorado. I'm please to report that the bottle froze rock solid, but no explosion. Maybe I got a bad bottle. So, I headed back to the store to get one of everything I could find in hopes of recreating the experience (just for scientific proof, of course). I'll let you know what happens.


Anything like this ever happen to you?

51 replies
  1. Brian
    Brian says:

    It’s happened to me! As a “edu-tainment” professional, I tend to buy a wide variety of unusual supplies. One of the shows I do has a variety of science demos, including the mentos/diet coke. So last winter, I purchased ten bottles of diet coke on sale and left them in my trunk. Two weeks later, after a cold spell of five days well below zero, I opened up my trunk to see several of the bottles broken open. I don’t believe it had anything to do with the carbonation, but more likely to do with the liquid expanding as it froze.

    • Brad Savage
      Brad Savage says:

      I just had a frozen 2 L Diet Coke explode in my garage. The bottle was standing vertical and fell over horizontal. after about one second horizontal the whole top of the bottle blew off!
      I don’t mean blow the cap off I mean blow the top off. There were other bottles next to this one and I was fearful to handle them with my hands. The explosion that I witnessed would’ve certainly sent me to the hospital. Just crazy I never knew that could happen. Please take this at face value I have no motive to exaggerate. Be safe.

    • tawanna
      tawanna says:

      just recently my son had a 2 liter of sparkling lemonade drink he said was nasty and he didnt like it… me i think maybe i can fix it up a bit cause yeah this mess was nasty (walmart brand) took a packet of crystal light and added it to the drink… O.O that mess started bubbling up and pop it was like the bottle kind of sunk in on the sides then bulged out and over half of the drink mixed with crystal light shot out like a volcano erupted….what a mess smh

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      It was a team effort. If there is any room in the container usually a frozen failure will not take place with just water. Try it with just water in a used bottle. When freezing occurs most of the CO2 in solution is squeezed out by the water crystallizing. Now the pressure builds beyond the bursting point. Guess what? Heaters are in most vending machines that are out doors in cold climates.

      • ElizabethRenee Mallett
        ElizabethRenee Mallett says:

        Dr Enuf glass 10 oz bottle setting on kitchen counter temp 76. Bottle had not been opened setting beside other bottles.
        Exploded like a shot glass and Dr Enuf everywhere.
        Had not been frozen or in temperatures rather than 70s.
        At first thought window had been shot very scary.

        Please Dr Enuf explain how this could happen?

  2. Erica
    Erica says:

    Yeah, Wisconsin winters and diet coke do not mix. It was January and I was bringing a 12 pack of soda with me to school, but had my hands full and didn’t take it in. When I returned to my car later in the day all but two of the cans had completely exploded, the tops blown right off. The syrupy part of the soda was shot from the backseat to the roof and front windshield. I was still finding droplets of dried soda months later in places I never thought to look. I agree with the comment above about it being the expanding of the water, based on the shape of the cans and also the icy subbstance left behind while the syrup (which was not frozen was propelled.

  3. Steve Spangler
    Steve Spangler says:

    There’s more to the story…

    The photo that the woman from Windsor, Colorado sent me resembled the aftermath from a dry ice bomb. I just couldn’t imagine freezing water would produce those results. So, I froze six 2-liter bottles of soda during our cold spell in Colorado two nights ago (the temperature got down to 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The next morning I found the bottles still intact but the contents was frozen solid – no explosion. I remembered the Windsor lady saying the bottle was on a table in the garage, and the thought crosed my mind that maybe the bottle froze and fell off the table. So, I dropped the bottle on the ground – thud – nothing happened. I picked the bottle up and dropped it again, but this time the top of the bottle hit the ground… and… KABOOM! The bottle exploded with the sound of a gun shot. Three of the remaining five bottles exploded with an equal force.

    Finally… all of this makes sense. I believe the bottle of Canada Dry Seltzer Water froze in the woman’s garage, the pressure of the frozen water changed the shape of the bottle just enough to cause it to tip over and fall off the table. The top of the bottle hit the ground causing the cap to shatter, instantly releasing the pressure inside the bottle (estimated to be around 180 PSI) and the bottle exploded.

    When my dropped bottle exploded, the flying soda that covered the sidewalk and the side of my house had the consistency of a Slurpy. Better still, the frozen soda crackled and popped like someone eating Pop Rocks. The carbon dioxide was still escaping from the frozen soda!

    Did I grab any video? Yes! I’ll get it posted to YouTube and post something here.

  4. Lisa Schoneman
    Lisa Schoneman says:

    In Minnesota, anything liquid and the cold do not mix, but you can get some cool effects!! You can blow bubbles outside when it is below zero and they will shatter like glass when you touch them. You can also boil water and throw it in the air and it instantly freezes in the air! A pretty cool way to talk about the properties of matter!!
    I do agree with Erica that the top of pop cans can explode right off. We had some teachers at my school put pop cans inbetween the windows and the snuffers and they exploded during the school day. What a mess to clean up off the windows, but the kids were very excited about it!! What a great way to explore science-when it isn’t even planned!!

  5. luc dugas
    luc dugas says:

    a great deal of co2 gaz is dissolved in water to make carbonated beverages. when temparature falls below 0 celcius degree the water freezes and the co2 is evacuated from ice since ice cannot hold as much co2 as liquid water. this why a huge pressure builds up in the small space under the cap of the bottle. the colder the weather the faster the bottle will explode. luc

  6. Shadow
    Shadow says:

    well seeing this reminds me of what happens when you leave soda in the freezer it well explode because the liquid freezes and expands and plows up.

  7. Wesley Oman
    Wesley Oman says:

    I had an opposite reaction. I had a can of ginger ale, I believe it was Vernor’s brand. I left it in the backseat of my car on a hot summer day. The car was parked in an open lot, in the sun.

    When I returned I noticed that there was sticky spots on the steering wheel, but didn’t investigate. Hey, it was late and I was tired.

    The next morning I checked it out and found that a majority of the car’s interior that was in a straight shot of where the can had sat. The ceiling was speckled. The tab (opening device) was in place for an unopened can (it hadn’t moved). The opening however was blown out but still attached. It was pretty obvious at that point that the can had heated up to a point that the contents exploded out the weakened joints of the opening and sprayed out in almost a mist at high pressure.

    It just goes to show how hot your car can get, how powerful the sun is and the excitement that a sealed can can bring. I never was able to get all of the stains out. On the upside the car smelled good for quite awhile.

  8. Whit
    Whit says:

    I was setting up a bar for the holidays and placed many glass botttles of soda water, ginger ale and various other mixers on a table in the living room. The bottles were all 12 oz size. The bottles remained on the table for about a week, One night, as my daugter and I were talking in the kitchen (no one else in the house), we both heard a loud “bang”! when I went to investigate, thinking the cat may have knocked something over, I came across something I have never seen. One of the ginger ale bottles had simply exploded! The glass remnants were all over the room – from one end to the other. The top was still attached (unopened) to one piece. The temperature in the house never came close to freezing. Most of the liquid simply collected on the tablecloth and drained to the floor. But a significant portion was spewn all over the curtains, other tables and the floor (with various tiny fragments of glass. I am fortunate no one was in the room at the time! I live in the southeast (SC) and temperature should not have been a factor as there were other bottles adjacent to this one with no effect. Crack in the glass? Kids shook it up and hours later it exploded? I don’t know! Any ideas?

  9. Reinhard Koller
    Reinhard Koller says:

    I just had a 2 liter bottle of Coke Zero explode in my refrigerator. I guess it was set a tad too cold. Yes, it sounded like a bomb went off and I could feel the house shake when it exploded. The force of the explosion absolutely destroyed the inside of the refrigerator door. If I had not seen this with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it.

  10. Linda Allendorph
    Linda Allendorph says:

    I just had a similar explosion with a 2-liter bottle of Canada Dry Ginger ale. We were coming out of our church after choir/band practice to find a mostly frozen 2 liter bottle. Being the good citizen that I am :), I picked it up to take home and recycle. It remained on the floor of the car with the heat on it for about 10 minutes. When we got home, I decided to drain what little liquid wasn’t frozen (it was 9 last night) and let the inside of the icy bottle thaw. As I unscrewed the top I dropped the bottle in the sink and it exploded in the sink and shot its icy matter all over the kitchen! Good thing I hadn’t yet taken off my GoreTEX coat! So, was it the thawing of the liquid, dropping it, or opening it that caused the explosion?

  11. Leon
    Leon says:

    A few years ago (ok, many years ago) I used to explode soda bottle with a mixture of milk and the chlorine powder you use in swimming pools. Gives a pretty cool explosion and LOUD boom, and sometimes the bottle shoots out in the air, but I guess it’s kind of toxic. Oh well, I was young and irresponsible then…

    I would take a one liter soda bottle, put about half an inch of the chlorine powder, then fill halfway with milk, put the cap on shake for 2 seconds and RUN. Sometimes it blows up after 5 seconds, sometimes it takes up to 45 seconds. There’s one time where I had the classic “I don’t think it’s working, maybe we should go check… BOOM” discussion.

    Should not put too much of the stuff in the bottle. If you do, it might explode in your face. I heard of two kids in my neighbourhood who lost a few fingers doing it in their garage. One of my friends felt kinda bad, cuz he was the one who had started that craze amongst the neighbourhood kids.

    Actually, don’t try this. Kids are so stupid. It’s frigging dangerous. If you don’t get hurt by the blast, inhaling that smoke is toxic.

    Little anecdote: Once, the cops were tipped off about us exploding these in a park, so they were going around in their car looking for us. We went into another park, a mile away, think they wouldn’t find us, and we kept on doing it more. At some point, my friend is shaking the bottle, then we see the cop car going over the sidewalk, into the park, going after us! My friend drops the bottle and starts running away, we run too and the cops are in pursuit, driving on the grass. Then the bottle explodes three feet away from the car as it drives by…

    Thy caught up with us and only gave us a warning though…

  12. Bre French
    Bre French says:

    I just had a Barq’s Rootbeer 2 liter bottle explode in my house. I bought it 2 days before and set it on my kitchen counter. At 2:00 in the morning it exploded. We thought someone was breaking into our house. The dogs went crazy barking.
    The Barq’s wasn’t frozen or hot. My house was 75 degrees. It had not been shook up. The bottom of the bottle blew out and it became an airborne missle. There was syrup everywhere in my kitchen and dinning room. The bottle landed 12 feet from where it had been sitting. Barq’s is distributed by Coca-Cola and is in the retro shaped bottle. I called the distributor and they think there was a flaw in the plastic. You think???

    • Exie Meredith
      Exie Meredith says:

      I just had the same thing happen to me. I had two 2-liter bottles of 7up on my counter, they were just bought yesterday. It’s about 72 degrees outside and the same in, so no issues with extreme heat or cold…it’s November in Louisiana!… I was just sitting on the couch watching tv, when I heard a very loud bang/pop! I looked up to see the 7 up bottle next to be on the chair approxmately 10 feet from where it started and 2 liters of 7 up ALL OVER MY HOUSE…
      I don’t understand what could have happened, the sodas have not been touched since being set on the counter!
      The bottle exploded close to the bottom, the top and cap is still sealed.
      Freaked me out!
      Does anyone have any ideas?

  13. gelato
    gelato says:

    During a new years party, my sister was holding two bottles of sparkling grape juice (for the kids) and she came down the stairs with them. She walked into the room and asked “does anyone want wine?” At that moment there was a loud bang and the bottle exploded leaving just the neck of the bottle where my sister was holding it. Of course, grape juice got all over the wall, the floor and her. It was not freezing outside however the bottle was just removed from the refrigerator. The top was still closed. Could it have been shaken up while coming down the stairs? Or was there maybe a crack in the glass?

  14. F M Davidson
    F M Davidson says:

    Last week (05.01.10)in the Scottish Borders I left a 2litre bottle of diet coke in the rear of my hatchback, which was not garaged. 5 days later I found a pile of brownish crystals where the bottle had been, The bottle was a couple of feet away, split up the side and with cap still firmly in place. Frozen foam deposits were found on the front seats and footwells.

  15. Heather
    Heather says:

    Hi Steve! I put a can of Diet Coke in the freezer section of a small fridge at work to cool it down quickly to drink on my way home, but I accidentally forgot about it. In the morning when I returned to work, the soda bottle had exploded (the can was destroyed) and the force from the explosion had forced the door to the fridge open and of course there was soda and ice EVERYWHERE!!! Scientific explanation???

  16. Banana Man
    Banana Man says:

    That once happened to me when I was in the Marines. In the barracks we had mini fridges. One day I had a 2 liter of soda and a six pack from somewhere and suck it in the fridge. During chow I noticed the soda had frozen so I adjusted the temperature a little warmer and shut the door. After work I came home to find my barracks door open and and a my room mate and several Marines inside. They were surrounding a fridge with the door wide open. My six pack had been shattered and the shrapnel scattered all over along with water and some melting chunks of ice. Some of the shelves and a rail for one of the door shelves were smashed and tossed.
    I hypothesize that as the ice crystals formed, they purged the CO2. This CO2 remained trapped in the ice until I allowed it to melt and release the bubbles. The resulting pressure reached well over 100psi and ruptured the bottle causing my great sorrow over the beer.

  17. just now...
    just now... says:

    I took my 2 liter bottle of Ginger Ale i bought from Walmart out of the fridge, set it on the counter, and barely twisted the cab when it shot off like a gun, it was very loud. My ears are still ringing and my hand it stinging from getting hit by the cap. Then it looked as if there was smoke coming out of it, a fog of some sort.

    Hope its safe to drink, im thirsty..

  18. christmas explosion
    christmas explosion says:

    We had set a 2 liter of diet coke outside and forgot about it on christmas eve. The next day, when it was found frozen, we brought it into the house to “thaw”. We set it on the counter of our kitchen the temperature was about 72 degrees. Everything was fine for what I would say was about 10 minutes before there was an incredible blast. The diet coke exploded so violently that the frozen liquid caused lacerations on people in the nearby area. It also damaged the dry wall 20 feet away, not to mention the head/ear aches. Thank god the kids were in the other room. Just looked at the label and there was not one warning or store at temperature. I remember purposely freezing these as a kid for a frozen treat. I have never seen anything like this in my life, if I hadnt seen it with my own eyes I wouldnt believe it.

  19. Debra
    Debra says:

    Yesterday I went to a convenience store and was standing in line behind a women and her two children. She was buying some candy and couple of 2 liters. The clerk put the 2-2 liters in a plastic bag. When the woman picked up the bag..a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke dropped out of the bottom and hit the floor. When the bottle hit…it exploded and took off like a rocket..The bottle hit me in my upper left chest area…I didn’t even know what happened for a few minutes. The bottle wasn’t frozen but did explode upon impact. I saw stars. Before I even left the store I had a bruise forming on my collarbone. Today I am scared to be around 2 liter bottles. What luck huh ? Today I have a bruise almost 4 inches in diameter on my collarbone. These bottles are dangerous.

  20. mally
    mally says:

    Today at 2:10 on the am a 7up bottle just exploted inside the cabinets im a schock because its summer on Puerto Rico and the tempeture its not cold like to freeze or something its summer!!. Anyway i want to know what cause this.

  21. Ami
    Ami says:

    Came home from a short vacation to find a half full bottle of gingerale had exploded in our house. There was no drastic change in temperature or any other unusual conditions. We found shards of plastic 20 feet from where the bottle had been. What a mess! Will the fermenting smell ever go away?

  22. Susan Wells
    Susan Wells says:

    Yikes. That sounds like quite a mess. I’m unsure about the fermented smell coming from the ginger ale. I would make sure everything was cleaned up real good and baking soda may help with the smell.

  23. Zach Donaldson
    Zach Donaldson says:

    So… Crazy story. I went to open a bottle of coke that was previously open and the cap shot off like a bullet so powerfully that it put a dent in ceiling. Holy crap!

  24. adrian
    adrian says:

    This thing happened to me. I left a Coke diet in the fridge for about 8 hours then my fridge was filled with frozen ice and there was a big bang before that

  25. Michelle Honey
    Michelle Honey says:

    I had a glass bottle of unopened rootbeer in the backseat of my car that one of my children had forgotten. The outside temperature was 82 degrees and when I went out to my car after having worked all day, it had exploded w/enough force that it coated the inside of my car w/glass shrapnel and soda. I even found a pinky sized chunk stuck in the ceiling. I had never heard of that happening before.

  26. Thomas Plustwik
    Thomas Plustwik says:

    Bottle of Voss sparkling water spontaneously failed and exploded and the bottle neck and with lid attached struck me in the face. 2″ deep laceration above right cheekbone.
    I never touched the bottle, it came in contact with another bottle and exploded as I gently slid a partially open box whilst performing restocking duties at a fine dining restaurant.
    It is an uncommon but real occurrence and I need help from a bottle expert, product liability attorney and would like to hear from any victims of this phenomenon.
    Is there a precedent?
    Thank you.

  27. mary
    mary says:

    hi i am 11 years old and a fan of steve spangler.Today I found a bottle of frozen diet coke from the other day.Then accidentaly knocked it over and everyone heard it.My ears are still ringing.The plastic bottle landed about 12 feet away

  28. Brunner
    Brunner says:

    I once had a can of la croix lemon flavoured sparkling water that I forgot in the freezer. The next day I found that it had exploded in the freezer… the entire top of the soda can had been blown off and the rest of the can was turned into metal confetti! The freezer was coated with a snowy frost. Never heard the explosion but it must have been loud! This brand has more carbonation than a regular soda so im thinking this is what caused the unusual results.

  29. Truman Bradshaw
    Truman Bradshaw says:

    I had a 2liter bottle of Coke explode sitting on my table. It was not opened,nor was it shakened. It had never been refrigerated. It exploded during the night nobody around it. The plastic lid was found in several pieces, the bottle was found about 1/4th full laying on the floor. My house stays about 78 degrees all the time. It ruined the paint on walls and ceiling and made a terrible sticky mess. Coca COLA won’t even call me back about this. I’m disabled and still cant clean it all up. Please send Me Any thoughts you might have about the cause.

  30. Adam
    Adam says:

    Hey everyone about a year ago the same thing happened to me but there were some differences. I had a bottle of diet coke in the car left it for a couple days in there. One day I was thirsty and remembered the bottle in my car . When I got it it was rock solid so I put it about ten feet away from my wood stove . Within 5 min the bottle exploded leaving almost nothing but chunks of plastic and chunks of ice thrown up to 15 feet into the next room. My theory is carbonation expanding in the sealed ice and exploding from pressure buildup within the ice idk just my guess. But also I have frozen maybe 15-20 bottles and defrosted them the same way and never had it happened again

  31. Diva4Jesus
    Diva4Jesus says:

    I’ve experienced two freakish explosions in my life related to food or drink. The first one was an egg that I had put on the stove and started to boil it. Then I walked away and forgot all about it. Suddenly my Mom and I heard a big bang. That egg had exploded and egg yolk and egg white were all over the kitchen, including the ceiling! The second crazy big bang was when my friend encouraged me to place my bottle of carbonated drink in the freezer so that it would get cold faster. We both forgot about it and went into another room and started watching TV. Suddenly, BANG! We ran into the kitchen. My drink and the broken glass bottle were what greeted us when we opened the freezer door.

  32. Disna
    Disna says:

    No temp involved; personal injury occurred

    On vacation, my cousin was purchasing a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke at a WalMart in Hawaii.

    When the belt moved, the bottle fell, the lid hit the floor and the bottom of the “rocket missile” hit me in the jaw, cheek and nose. The bottle deflected and flew two aisles over. I sustained a closed head injury, ruining a vacation that took 40 years to happen.

    After reading all of the above, I’m going to avoid that aisle in the store … And any other location of these bottle-rockets!

  33. Steve Mcmanaman
    Steve Mcmanaman says:

    Just happened to me 20 mins ago. I’ve had 3 special edition coca cola cans that friends gave me 9-10 years ago when I used to drink a lot of that poison and was a fan.
    It’s been part of my room decoration since then and today out of nowhere the smallest one just blew open but thankfully caused no mess at all.
    I was in the room at the time, the bang was quite loud. Dangerous stuff, just threw the other cans away.

  34. C.S.
    C.S. says:

    We have a wine cooler that we keep stocked with bottles of beer, wine, champagne, cans of coca-cola and of la croix fizzy water. Twice now we have found a puddle on the floor and and exploded can of grapefruit la croix… The empty cans do not have any apparent openings, but the tops and bottoms have been pushed in the opposite direction (outward) – a symptom of high pressure coming from the inside of the can. The temperature would be about 52°, and rarely disturbed (often ignored and forgotten about). The cooler is in a climate controlled basement in a north Florida home – never extreme temperatures.

  35. Sarah Logan
    Sarah Logan says:

    We had a 2 lt Coke explode in the utility room last night! It was 77 outside and approximately 74 inside so it wasn’t related to freezing or being too warm. Coke was all over the wall and the top was still on it- it was the bottom that had blown out!!

  36. Lydia
    Lydia says:

    I had done the groceries and put four plastic bottles of 7up on the counter. At 4:00am we heard a loud sound and looked around and couldn’t find the reason, only that the curtain rod of the kitchen had fallen down. When we woke up at 7:00am to start the day, I found the kitchen floor wet and as we followed the “water” it lead to the counter where the bottles were. But we still didn’t understand where it came from. Finally my husband looked up and found the exploded bottle on top of the upper cabinet. The cap was on, and the bottom of the bottle was broken. We live in Puerto Rico, its a very hot summer, but, can’t understand what happened,( other that it exploded of course). Not sure if I should stop drinking soda in the first place. Maybe its time to stop.

  37. margrette young
    margrette young says:

    1 glass bottle of schweppes tonic water 300 ml exploded like a bomb into hundreds of fragments and hit me directly in the eye with the force of a rocket.
    Lots of blood later, i was admitted to emergency. a glass fragment had penetrated right through my eyeball and vitreous fluid was leaking out.
    i had to have an emergency operation to sew up the penetrating slash to my eyeball. my eyesight is damaged permanently.
    watch out for carbonated drinks. treat with utmost caution.

  38. HP
    HP says:

    At least 5 of our glass bottles of tonic water (Schweppes 300ml Indian Tonic Water) have exploded at rest over the past few hours. Three in the cupboard where they had been sitting motionless for days, two more after I moved the remainder to a containment facility (plastic tub with a lid) wearing gardening gloves, long sleeves and eye protection. None of them went off while being handled, no injuries, but they went off with quite a bang and threw glass shards around. Since it is 5 separate bottles going off within a short time window, flaws in the glass seem unlikely. It has been hot for the past few days (southern hemisphere), my first guess is sugar fermenting in the heat and pushing the internal pressure beyond the tolerance of the bottle.
    Just contributing to the thread, since this seems to be the premier source of info on exploding carbonated beverages on the web…


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