18 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do with Coca-Cola

The world’s most popular soda is a bubbly, caramel-tasting beverage enjoyed by millions of people around the globe. It was first produced in 1886 and sold only nine drinks per day in its first year of sales! But did you know this fizzy drink can do much more than just quench your thirst? This article reveals 18 unexpected ways you can put Coke to use.

Clean Sticky Stains

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The phosphoric acid in Coca-Cola can be great for dissolving sticky messes, like candy residue or chewing gum that has become stuck to carpets, linens, or clothing. Pour some Coke directly on the stain, let it sit for 15–30 minutes, then blot or scrub with a clean cloth. Rinse it thoroughly with warm water afterward, and always patch-test it first.

Loosen Rusty Bolts

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The rust surrounding ‘hard to shift’ bolts and nuts can be dissolved by the carbonic acid found in Coke. Thrifty Fun recommends soaking the rusted parts in a container of Coke for several hours or even overnight for stubborn rust. The gentle acidity breaks down the rust slowly, making the bolt more straightforward to remove with a wrench.

Tenderize Meat

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A Coca-Cola marinade adds caramelized sweetness to meats while tenderizing them at the same time. Combine Coke with soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and your favorite spices to create a marinade for steaks, ribs, or even chicken. For best results, allow the meat to marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking it thoroughly.

Defrost a Windshield

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Although less effective than commercial de-icers, Coca-Cola can be used to defrost a frozen windshield in a pinch! Pour a small amount of Coke directly onto the ice and slush, taking care not to pour it onto hot glass (if you already tried boiling water). Let the Coke sit for a few minutes, then use your windshield wipers to clear away the melted ice.

Clean Burnt Pans

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Squeaky Cleaning claims you can use Coke to clean stubborn, burnt-on residues from pots and pans. Pour some Coke into the burnt pan and bring it to a boil on the stovetop. The fizzing and the acidity will help dissolve the burnt-on food and loosen it. After the pan has cooled, scrub it with a sponge or scourer—the residue should now be easy to remove.

Remove Ketchup Stains

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Pouring Coca-Cola on your favorite shirt can seem counterintuitive, but it’s a great way to remove tomato-based stains like spilled ketchup. You need to pre-treat the stain with Coke as soon as possible by pouring a little onto the area and leaving it for 10–15 minutes before washing it as usual. The phosphoric acid can help break down the tomato stains.

Revive Wilted Flowers

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Cut flowers can lose their vibrancy after a few days, but Coca-Cola can give them a brief pick-me-up and keep them looking fresh for longer. Mix a small amount of Coke (about ¼ cup) in a vase full of fresh water and place the flowers in it. The dissolved sugar in the Coke is easily absorbed by the cut stems, providing a final burst of energy.

Accelerate Composting

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Coca-Cola can help speed up the composting process due to its high sugar content and mild acidity. Express says the sugar helps feed the microorganisms in the compost pile, which break down organic materials faster, while the acids dissolve larger particles, making them more readily available to microbes. Add a small can of Coke to your compost bin every few weeks.

Remove Permanent Marker Stains

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So long as the marker stain is on a non-porous surface (like a whiteboard, fridge door, or countertop), Coca-Cola can be surprisingly effective at removing it. Dampen a cloth with Coke and scrub the stained area. The solvents in the soda can help lift the ink, but ensure you test on an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the surface.

Clean Battery Terminals

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The corrosion that builds up on battery terminals can prevent your car from starting. Do not fear—Coke is here to save the day once again! Pour a small amount on a rag and use it to clean the corrosion off the terminals. The phosphoric acid in Coke is corrosive and ‘eats’ through the build-up. Just make sure you disconnect the battery first.

Trap Garden Pests

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A shallow dish filled with Coca-Cola can be an effective trap for slugs and snails munching on your beloved garden plants. The sugar in the soda attracts the pests, while the sticky liquid traps them. Empty and refill the trap every few days, and cease using it if other beneficial insects (like spiders, bees, and ladybugs) are becoming victims.

Clean Grout

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Grimy grout between kitchen, bathroom, and floor tiles can be easily cleaned with Coca-Cola because it contains phosphoric acid. Pour some Coke directly onto the grout, let it sit for 15–20 minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush before rinsing. The acidity helps loosen dirt and grime, making it easier to clean. Don’t use this method on natural stones like marble or granite.

Remove Chewing Gum from Hair

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Getting chewing gum stuck in your hair can be incredibly frustrating because harsh cleaners aren’t safe to use on people and would destroy your hair anyway! Coca-Cola can help you remove it without having to cut your hair. Pour some Coke onto a cloth and dab it on the gum. The syrup in the soda can help soften the gum, making it easier to peel off.

Clean Fireplace Glass

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As with burned pans, soot and smoke stains on your fireplace glass can also be improved with Coke. Apartment Therapy recommends scrubbing the glass with newspaper dipped in Coke. The acidity helps loosen the grime, leaving your fireplace glass sparkling clean. Just make sure your fireplace is totally cool before you start.

Unclog a Drain

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Coke won’t be sufficient for major blockages, but it can be a quick fix for minor clogs in your kitchen or bathroom drains. Pour a can of Coke down the drain and let it sit for 15–30 minutes without using the sink. The carbonation and acidity can help break down some clogs caused by grease or soap scum. Give it a good flush with boiling water afterward.

Remove Carpet Stains

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Carpets can be especially difficult to clean effectively because they cannot be thrown in the washer. Pre-treat stains with Coca-Cola for 10–15 minutes before rinsing, scrubbing, and drying the area. For best results, follow up with a carpet cleaning solution, and always test on an inconspicuous area of the carpet first to check for discoloration.

De-Ice a Sidewalk

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If you’re desperate, Coca-Cola can even be used as a temporary de-icer on small walkways. Pour a can or two of Coke onto the icy patch and spread it around with a broom. The sugar in the soda will lower the freezing point of the ice, causing it to melt faster. It’s important to note that this is a temporary solution, not a substitute for commercial de-icers.

Clean Jewelry

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Small and delicate jewelry, like silver chains and silver-plated pendants, can be easily cleaned by soaking them in Coca-Cola for an hour or more. Once again, the acidity and carbonation work their magic and dissolve the tarnishing that makes silver look dull over time. After rinsing with water and drying, your jewelry will look shiny and new!

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