Real household uses for Coke

Ever wonder whether the soda can really clean a toilet bowl or remove grease stains? A blogger puts it to the test.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 22, 2011 4:17PM

This guest post comes from Casey Slide at Money Crashers.


Since I enjoy using grocery coupons, I usually end up with a surplus of Coca-Cola in my home. While I'm usually brand-blind when it comes to carbonated beverages and usually buy generics, some would argue that Coca-Cola is the ultimate brand. And since I live in Atlanta, it's basically a sin to buy anything other than Coke.


I get it at a decent price, and it is by far my husband's favorite beverage, so I stock up when I see deals. But I don't drink a lot of soda, so I'm in search of some practical uses for Coca-Cola so I can get a little more value out of my purchase.


You've probably seen the popular email that lists the crazy things you can do with Coke, like dissolve a T-bone steak in just four days. I'm not really sure why anyone would want to do that, but plenty of the other tips on the list look very useful, if they really work.


Coke is a lot cheaper than a lot of cleaners and other home remedies, so these tips could be money-savers too. To save you the time and expense of experimenting and learning which ideas are flops and which are not, I put some of these so-called uses for Coke to the test.


Curling your hair. I was the most excited about this possibility, simply because I have stick-straight hair that even a curling iron can't curl. So before washing my hair, I drenched it with two cans of flat Coke. I let it sit for a few minutes, then I washed my hair. While drying my hair with a towel, I tried to crunch my hair to get it curly. At first, it looked like this method of curling my hair might actually work! But by the time my hair started to air dry, the kinks were all gone.

Removing gum from hair. My poor hair went through even more abuse. Yes, I really did stick gum in my hair. For the sake of this test, I stuck a chewed piece of gum right into my hair and squished it into the strands. To remove it, I dipped that part of my hair in a glass of Coke and left it there for a few minutes. Although it wasn't pretty, the gum came free with minimal hair loss. If I ever accidentally got gum in my hair, I would try Coke again. (But I'm glad I don't dye my hair so that I don't have to find out if it will strip hair dye or not.)


Removing grease stains. I have this shirt that has had a grease stain on it for over a year. I love this shirt. It's my Florida Gator polo shirt that I used to wear on game days, and I want my lucky shirt back. I've tried many different laundry detergents and cleaning products to get it out, but nothing has worked. I wasn't too thrilled about pouring a can of Coke on my shirt because I thought, if anything, I'd have a Coke stain and a grease stain, but at this point, I had nothing to lose.

To my surprise, it actually worked! I poured Coke right on top of the stain and let it soak. I immediately noticed that the grease stain was slightly discolored. Then I threw the shirt in the wash, and it came out clean. Game day shirt is back!


Removing blood stains. I was hoping this test would go as well as the grease stain experiment, but I had no such luck. I followed the same process, but the blood stain remains.


Cleaning tile grout. Grout is tough to clean, and Coke could have been a surprisingly big help on a stubborn stain in the grout in our laundry room. I poured some Coke on the spot and left it there for about 10 minutes. When I wiped it up, the stain was still there, but luckily, I had no problems wiping up the Coke. Perhaps this one works differently depending on the stain and if there is sealer on the grout.


Cleaning a toilet. Coke lovers of the world, hate me if you must, but I just poured a can of Coke down the toilet. Literally. I poured the contents of the can in, and I let it sit there for an hour. The toilet now looks clean, but I'm not convinced that germs and grime are really gone. I think I'll stick with my other homemade household cleaners, like vinegar and baking soda.


Perking up gardenias. I need to wait a little longer for final results on this one, but I'm intrigued by the idea that Coca-Cola can perk up gardenias. I have two gardenia bushes in my backyard that look as though they could use a little life in them, so I decided to give it a try. It has been a few days, and nothing has happened yet. I'm not going to get my hopes up, but maybe I'll see a change after a little more time. Anyone have a guess on what the result will be?

Cleaning a coffee pot. I get quite a lot of use out of my peculator. I love to make gourmet coffee drink recipes at home in addition to my regular cup of joe every morning. With all that use, I have a bit of a build-up in the pot, so I poured in a can of Coke and let it sit for 24 hours to see if it would clean off the residue. While it did clean out the pot a little bit, it did not work as well as I was hoping it would.


Cooking a roast. After several days of experimenting with Coke, I finally found my favorite use -- cooking a Coke roast. It is very simple and delicious and is a great slow cooker recipe as well. Put a 3-pound roast in your slow cooker, and pour a packet of onion soup and dip mix and two cans of Coke over the meat. Let it cook on low for about eight hours. Enjoy!


Final word

While I was very impressed that Coca-Cola did get out grease stains from a shirt and gum from my hair, I was disappointed that it did not clean up my grout or coffee pot. And I am not sure that my husband appreciated me pouring perfectly drinkable cans of Coke down the toilet and into the yard. Perhaps the best way to enjoy a Coke is to simply drink it.


Have you ever used Coke for anything other than for drinking?


More from Money Crashers and MSN Money:


Mar 22, 2011 11:43PM

Pepsi is also great on windshields (I was a Pepsi drinker, of course). But I would rather waste a Coke on the windshield. :) Just funnin' around. Hope Coke lovers don't take this in a bad way.


'Pepsi drinkers never die, they just run out of Pep, si?'

Mar 22, 2011 11:09PM
it is excellent at cleaning any acid corrosion from battery nodes and connections. I learned this trick from my ex-boyfriend who has been a mechanic for over 20 years.
Mar 23, 2011 4:19AM
I believe you are thinking about another kind of coke.
Mar 23, 2011 12:22AM

Next time you have your sink is clogged, just pour some coke down your drain and

wait about 30 minutes than rinse with hot water.

P.S. as for the coffee pot stains use  tablespoon of salt and 3 ice cubes ,just swirl around and watch the stains disappear.

Mar 22, 2011 11:40PM
When baking a honey ham I pour a can of coke over the ham and into the pan along with other ingredients including pineapple juice, honey, and brown sugar. Tastes WONDERFUL!!

Ever drain your oil and spill some oil on the garage floor or in the driveway. Try next time a whole two litre bottle and watch the stain disapear. 

Mar 22, 2011 11:08PM
Coke is a fine rust remover.  Soak a rusty nail in coke for a couple days, the rust will be gone.
Mar 22, 2011 11:18PM
coke makes an effective rodent controle granddad kept a pan of coke in the barn it seems rodents can't pass gas. it seems to have worked
Mar 23, 2011 1:23AM
I used coke all the time when i was a concrete pour a 2 liter into a pump sprayer,spray a light mist on freshly trowled out exposed aggregate.the coke keeps the surface of the concrete from hardening.wait a couple hours then spray the coke off the the surface and you will get a great exposed aggregate finnish.and yes i use it all the time for battery terminals.
Mar 22, 2011 11:25PM
I've used Coke to clean a dirty windshield. Works great!
Mar 22, 2011 11:48PM
My dad used to use it to remove rust from almost anything, mostly bicycle chains.  Worked great.  Had to soak the rusty item in a small container to not waste too much Coke.
Mar 23, 2011 12:31AM

soak a penny in a cap of coke and you have a new penny.  It's a wonderful product, too bad I can't drink it anymore.

Mar 23, 2011 9:52AM

I have a silver charm bracelet that my mother has been adding charms to since I was a small child. I don't wear it very often, but it has sentimental value to me, and I take it out from time to time to reminisce about what each charm meant to me at one time or another in my life.


That being said, it has tarnished quite a bit over the years, and with many small nooks and crannies not only in the bracelet but also in all of the charms, cleaning it seemed like a daunting task. So, I soaked it in a bowl of Coca-Cola, and it came out bright and shiny without any scrubbing. Open-mouthed

Mar 23, 2011 3:17AM
All sorts of stains on conctete, rust, oil, battery acid, tire marks, etc. Just put plastic wrap (visqueen) over the coke so that it wont just dry out. One hour, no more stains.
Mar 23, 2011 12:06AM
Back on the farm some forty years ago,we put coke on the plow molboards to remove the rust that came on after fall plowing.So when we did spring plowing,if we didnt remove the rust the dirt wouldnt fallow,or it would be all clumped up.So yes,coke removes rust for sure.
Mar 23, 2011 8:25AM
I read years ago where women used to douche with Coca-Cola after sexual intercourse; supposedly the ingredients in Coke acted as a spermicide, and prevented pregnancy.  However, medical evidence proved that fact wrong.
Mar 23, 2011 12:18AM
i did a science experiment in school way back with coke and it actually does help with your plants so this lady's gardenias should be fine.
Mar 23, 2011 9:44AM

It also works on car batteries to remove the white acid buildup on your battery cables.  Just poor onto the cables and wipe it off.  I have always been told if it does this to battery acid what could it be doing to our stomach?

Mar 23, 2011 7:53AM
for your plants you could just try good ol' coffee grounds btw.  It's the caffiene that does the perking up.
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