Can Bottles of Kombucha Blow up in the Fridge? It’s Possible, but Rare, Doctor Says

A commenter on TikTok wrote: "This is why it's actually illegal for businesses to sell kombucha past their expiration date because of the fermentation pressure buildup that can happen plus the alcohol content lol."

Mustafa Gatollari - Author

Feb. 28 2024, Published 3:43 p.m. ET

Can Kombucha Blow up in Fridge?
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Many nutritionists say that kombucha can benefit your gut health — that is, if it's prepared properly. Otherwise, you might end up like this Redditor who believes that floating, moving tiny organisms in his stool were somehow caused by imbibing the fermented carbonated beverage.

And while there can be some explosive side-effects of imbibing kombucha when it comes to visiting the toilet, there are some people who say the beverage can also blow up in the fridge as well.

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Can kombucha blow up in the fridge?

Kombucha doesn't need to be carbonated — many popular brands that serve the fermented tea may sell fizzy versions of it, but there are indeed bubble-less variants of the beverage available.

However, like many types of carbonated drinks, there is a slight chance the containers in which said carbonated beverages are being stored can explode. When it comes to soda cans, this usually occurs whenever they are frozen.

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Can Kombucha Blow up in Fridge? Close-up shot of kombucha
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According to an article published by The Daily Meal, which delineates steps folks can take in order to "stop a frozen soda can from exploding," the article describes the following phenomenon per Live Science: "Once [carbon dioxide] has been forced out of the water as water crystallizes, the carbon dioxide accumulates in the small remaining space in the can and the pressure of that gas skyrockets," as physicist Louis Bloomfield told Live Science.

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The Daily Meal adds, "This is what can cause your can to rupture when it's frozen instead of nicely chilled," before delving into the explosive can phenomena: "Still, that's not to say that water doesn't play a part in helping that icy soda become a bomb. When water freezes, it can swell with tremendous strength..."

woman holds kombucha bottle
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According to the outlet, "This can also cause the can to explode. Thus, bringing the can back to a normal temperature can help reduce the risk of explosion. Nevertheless, there are a few hurdles to watch out for when attempting this hack."

But what about kombucha? Well, TikToker Morgan Bailey urged her followers to stay away from any bottles of the drink they may have fermenting in their fridge, or just left in there for a while, warning them that the contents, if unsettled, may cause the glass to shatter in their face.

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"This is a friendly reminder that if you have kombucha in your refrigerator and it's been kind of a long time ... don't touch it. Get some oven mitts and maybe some, I don't know, protective eye goggles, it will blow up," she says, showing off her arm, which is covered in bandages. She gives a thumbs-up to the camera before the video ends.

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She adds in a caption for the video: "Not sure what kombucha has against me but... my wedding saved my finger though."

Self spoke with Dr. Katherine Thompson-Witrick, PhD, assistant professor of food science at the University of Florida, about the possibility of refrigerated kombucha cans assaulting unsuspecting probiotic lovers anytime soon; she said that this outcome is rare.

kombucha bottles on grocery store shelves
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A kombucha "bomb" is “extremely rare,” Dr. Thompson-Witrick told the mag, noting that it's more likely to occur if the kombucha is homemade and therefore likely not fermented properly. She said in the TikToker's case, it's possible that there was a "weak spot in the package itself," like in the seal or the bottle structure.

As Self sums it up, you likely don't have to worry about properly packaged, store-bought, refrigerated kombucha being a danger, as "fermentation slows down significantly at and below refrigeration temperatures,” per Dr. Thompson-Witrick. But the doctor says it may be wise to "burp" your kombucha bottles every other day by unscrewing the cap a little to release some pressure. And, of course, it's best to always open any carbonated products away from your face.

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