Coca Cola was originally introduced to the world in Atlanta, Georgia in 1886, and it quickly spread as a “health drink.” The drink has come quite a way since then, and it has become one of the biggest and more recognized brands in the world today. Over time, an old wives’ tale arose, claiming that Coca Cola can be used as a cleaning product. Numerous videos have even popped up on social media in support of this claim, but how true is this claim? Does Coca Cola actually work as a cleaning product, or are you more likely to end up with a sticky mess?
What Are the Rumors?
Before addressing the truth and the lies, it is important to know what the public has claimed that Coca Cola can be used for. Despite the trends in green cleaning, there are many websites that state that the soft drink can be used for cleaning coins, removing toilet bowl stains, eliminating rust, and even removing grease from clothing, but why?
Part of the reason for these rumors has to do with the low pH levels, as well as carbonation. Furthermore, cleaning companies have consistently stated that citric acid is a helpful stain remover, which Coca Cola possesses. Phosphoric acid is known for removing rust, and it is also a Coca Cola ingredient. For that reason, it is not surprising that consumers believe those effects.
How Coca Cola Doesn’t Measure Up
Even with these ingredients, there are a few issues with the use of Coca Cola as a cleaner. Most notably is the fact that soda is made of sugary syrup. Even if it manages to break down any residue, you basically are left with a sticky mess in place of it. Furthermore, the actual breakdown of the chemicals with Coca Cola can take hours or even days to get clean, and most people don’t want to leave this amount of sugar exposed on a surface for so long. However, if you want to add it to a marinade or a barbecue sauce, then the soda is a nice choice.
Even though the chemicals and other ingredients in Coca Cola manage to help remove stains and buildup on some metals, it still poses the threat of corrosion. If you are looking for products that effectively clean with citric acid, carbonic acid, and other ingredients, the market is filled with more effective and faster acting solutions that don’t require leaving a soft drink out for hours or even a night. In applications that don’t just leave the drink to sit, like removing stains from clothing that is being washed anyway or pulling pots apart, it is still worth a shot.
To add to this argument, Coca Cola even specifically has stated that they “don’t make any claims relating to other uses” beyond drinking it as a beverage. Instead, they advise consumers to use “products specifically designed for cleaning or rust removal.” Despite being one of the most popular rumors about Coca Cola, using this drink as a cleaning solution only feeds into a myth that has long-remained unproven and unsupported.