7 things you never knew you could do with Coca-Cola

Three Coca-Cola bottles on a wooden surface
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Coca-Cola has been at front and center of the soda market for decades. Originally released in 1886, this fizzy drink has a unique flavor which is globally adored, so much so that countless flavors have been released in the interim. There’s even a Coca-Cola rooftop beverage bar in Disney Springs, Florida, where you can sample from the 100 self-serve options.

But, Coca-Cola is much more than just a syrupy sweet beverage. Thanks to its carbonated nature it actually has its uses all over the home, from cleaning hacks to pest control. If you’re keen to learn how you can get the most from your Coca-Cola, we’ve listed 7 surprising uses here. You will never pour it down the drain again, unless it’s your toilet (read on to find out more)!

Before we begin, note that Coca-Cola does contain sugar, so it will likely leave items sticky where applied. Rinsing with soap and water will be necessary to remove this texture. Also note that Cola-Cola is designed for consumption, not for the following purposes, so proceed at your own risk.  

1. Clean your pots and pans  

Cleaning a dirty pan in the sink

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Whether you’re dealing with burnt residue or greasy stains on your pots and pans, Coca-Cola can help make cleaning up a little easier. Simply fill the cookware with a can of Coca-Cola (enough to cover the marks), and heat it on low on the stove until it starts to bubble. Then switch off the heat and leave it to cool completely — you can leave it to soak for a few hours for best effect. 

Once time is up, clean your cookware as usual using a scrubber or scouring pad, such as the EVERCLEAN Stainless Steel Scrubber ($4, Amazon). Just make sure whatever you’re using isn’t abrasive enough to scratch the surface. All traces of burnt food should come away with some effort. It’s difficult to heat Coca-Cola in something as shallow as a baking sheet, but you can still leave it to soak for a head start on stains. 

Here’s how to clean a baking sheet for more tips.

2. Clean your toilet 

A toilet next to cleaning products

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With everyday use, all kinds of gross stains can show up in our toilets — as well as things like limescale. If you’re short on bleach, Coca-Cola can act as a short term replacement while you restock. Simply pour a 2 litre bottle down the basin, being sure to coat all visible stains as you do. The acidity of Coca-Cola will help break down any grime, including limescale. 

Leave the Coca-Cola to sit for at least an hour — overnight, ideally. Then when time’s up, brush away the stains with your toilet brush before flushing. Bear in mind that Coca-Cola won’t disinfect though, so this is not a long-term solution. You will still need to learn how to clean a toilet for the proper procedure. 

3. Pest removal 

A wasp on top of a can of soda

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Coca-Cola has its uses in terms of pest control as well. If slugs and snails frequent your vegetable garden, leave out a shallow tray of the beverage. The sweet, sugary scent will lure these pests in, but they will ultimately drown in the acidic solution. 

Alternatively, if an ant hill plagues your backyard, pouring Coca-Cola directly on top is said to drown the ants and kill them from exposure to the acidity, although experiences with this method vary. For a sizable infestation, calling in a professional is always best. Here’s how to get rid of ants for some guidance. 

You will likely already know how attracted wasps can be to a sugary can of Coca-Cola as well. You can take advantage of this by leaving an open can out where wasps congregate. They will crawl in and drown in the liquid, much the same as slugs and snails. You could consider it a ready-made wash trap. Check out how to get rid of wasps for more methods. 

4. Remove greasy stains 

A white shirt with a yellow stain

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As well as the kitchen and bathroom, Coca-Cola can come in handy in the laundry room too. One area in which it excels is the removal of greasy stains from clothes. This is because it contains phosphoric acid. So if you’ve ordered in a fresh, greasy pizza which happens to drip on your favorite shirt, your fizzy drink might just come to the rescue.

Simply apply Coca-Cola directly to the stain prior to washing as a pre-treatment. Let it soak for a few minutes (the stain might change color), before moving the garment directly to the best washing machine. Then wash on the highest temperature setting the garment will allow and your greasy stain should be no more. Coca-Cola is also known to be good for shifting blood stains as well. 

Of course, if you’re dealing with expensive items or something which is precious, we recommend using a dedicated stain remover instead, such as Miss Mouth's Messy Eater Stain Treater Spray ($14, Amazon). Always follow the care label.          

5. Removing rust 

Rusty tools

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You read that right: Coca-Cola is strong enough to even strip rust from metals. That same phosphoric acid that removes stains from the toilet bowl can work its magic here too. For best effect, let the item soak in the beverage for several hours, or overnight. Then scrub away the rust with an abrasive brush come morning, followed by rinsing. 

This has all kinds of applications. If you’ve got a rusty bolt which won’t shift, exposing it to Coca-Cola for a short time can help loosen it. You can alternatively fill an empty spray bottle with Coca-Cola, then spritz it over small-scale metal surfaces, followed by scrubbing and rinsing to remove rust marks. 

Take care that the metal you’re cleaning won’t tarnish from exposure though. Tin, iron, steel and even chrome can take damage, so test on an inconspicuous area first. Or use a dedicated rust remover, such as Rust-Oleum 300112 Rust Dissolver Gel ($11, Amazon).  

6. Cook with Coca-Cola 

Coca-Cola chicken wings next to chopsticks

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Did you know that Coca-Cola can improve your food as well? There are countless recipes available online which involve using it as a marinade or a baste, to compliment the final flavor. It’s a handy ingredient to enhance sauces as well; for instance, it’s often combined with BBQ sauce, or even hot sauce. So if you love the flavor, why not see if it can make your meals all the more delicious?  

And its uses don’t stop there either — Coca-Cola is a popular ingredient for desserts too. It can be incorporated in cupcakes, cookies, brownies and even full blown cakes. 

7. Improve your compost 

Someone adding fresh produce to the compost heap

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You can take Coca-Cola into your backyard too. It can be particularly handy at supporting your compost heap because its sugary content attracts the relevant microorganisms which break down the matter. Add to that, the acidity will support the process as well. So ultimately, it’s a big plus point for your compost heap. 

Just keep in mind that the sugary content may well attract other nearby pests too, so make sure your compost heap is sealed and secured. You don’t want to be looking up how to get rid of raccoons as a consequence. 

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Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.