12 Surprising Uses for Coca-Cola

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12 Surprising Uses for Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola has been the most popular soda brand around the world for decades, a crown it still wears with pride, despite the fact that we know it's terrible for your health. What's the secret to Coke's success? The ingredients that make Coke taste oh-so-good, that experts say are oh-so-bad? They're actually best at accomplishing a surprisingly long list of other things. Here are some of our favorite unexpected uses for Coca-Cola, whether you still drink it or not.


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1. Clear a clogged drain. Coca-Cola gets its signature tang from phosphoric acid, but the ingredient's real purpose is to prevent mold and bacteria growth. These same chemical properties can also break down existing natural substances, like the stuff that's clogging your pipes. Pour a bottle of room temperature Coke — straight out of the fridge won't have the same effect — down the drain, let it sit overnight, then flush with boiling hot water.

2. Clean the toilet. A bottle of Coke will not only clear a clogged toilet, but it'll clean the filth inside the bowl at the same time. Pour the soda directly into the bowl and let it sit for an hour, so the acidity can eat away all those nasty stains. Give it a quick scrub with a toilet brush and then flush!

3. Get rid of rust. Rust build up causes all sorts of problems — it makes doors squeak, drawers stick and can leave tools totally unusable. Worst of all, it's really hard to remove. Coca-Cola to the rescue! The soda's enzymes cause rust to loosen its grip, making it much easer to scrub away. Soak rusty objects in Coca-Cola overnight for the best results, and treat rusty hinges, nuts, bolts and other hardware by filling a spray bottle with soda and spritzing away!

4. Soothe stings. The next time you step on a jellyfish, don't ask your friend with the fullest bladder to relieve the sting; pour a can of Coke on it instead — it does the same thing!

5. Neutralize skunk smell. Being on the losing end of a skunk encounter can really, really stink. Thankfully, a nice cold Coca-Cola shower will neutralize the smell — and leave you very, very sticky, so don't forget to rinse!

6. Use Coke to cook. Marinate meat in Coca-Cola before cooking, glaze chicken wings, even use it in pecan pie.


7. Defrost an icy windshield. Chipping away at a frozen windshield can really slow down your morning commute; but if you pour a can of Coke on the ice and let it sit for a minute, it'll turn to slush and be that much easier to remove!

8. Clean your car's inner parts. Coke is a very effective grease remover, including under the hood. Soak an old towel in Coca-Cola, lay it on top of your car's filthy engine, and let it sit for an hour or two. While you wait, pour a little bit of the soda on the battery terminals and then scrub them clean with a toothbrush. Remove the Coke-soaked towel from the engine and wipe clean with a fresh towel and some water.

9. Fertilize flowers. Certain flowering plants, like gardenias and azaleas love a splash of Coke in their soil. The sugar fuels the microorganisms and boosts the soil's acidity, making the plant's blossoms even more lush.

10. Give compost a boost. If your compost pile isn't breaking down refuse as quickly and thoroughly as you'd like, it might need a little extra fuel. The sugar in Coke attracts microorganisms and increases acidity in compost, just as it does in soil, but the effect speeds up decomposition.

11. Restore tarnished copper. Make your old set of copper pots look good as new by soaking them in Coke. Let the soda do its thing for at least 30 minutes, then wash and rinse as usual — they'll shine like they've never even been used.

12. Give your hair volume. If you had a subscription to Seventeen back in the day, you may have heard this one — rinsing your hair in flat Coca-Cola apparently will make your hair look fuller and shinier. Just make sure to end with a final rinse with regular H20, or the results will be sticky instead of stylish.


I'm a freelance writer and reporter for outlets like Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, BUST, Nylon, Woolly, and the Appeal, a podcast host for Undisclosed, and once upon a time, I was the founding editor of The Frisky.