Coke–drink it? Or clean your battery with it?

sig-icon.jpgcoke3-pam-crooks.jpgNow that we’re winding down from the construction of our new kitchen, I’m in major de-clutter mode.  One of the rooms hard-hit with clutter was my office.  Since my daughter, Kristi, was coming over to help me with a Power Point presentation I’m doing at RT in a couple of weeks, I figured the least I could was spiff the place up a little. 

As I was cleaning off my desk, buried at the very bottom of a stack of papers was an email I’d printed out years ago.  I guess I thought the information contained within was so intriguing, it was worth keeping. 

But in that time, I’d gotten a little wiser.  And more skeptical.  So I did a little checking on the validity of that email–which made claims about Coca-Cola and all its, well, intriguing properties.

Now, I’m a Pepsi girl myself and can tell the difference between Pepsi and pepsi-pam-crooks.jpgCoke.   And after reading about the cola, I can’t help worrying if it was all true, that drinking a can of Diet Pepsi every day could eventually dissolve my bones.

Maybe you got this same email:

1. In many states (in the USA) the highway patrol carries two gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.

2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of coke and it will be gone in two days.

3. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and …….Let the “real thing” sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.

4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a crumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

5. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

6. To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

7. To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, And run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.


1. The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its Ph is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days.

2. To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the Hazardous material place cards reserved for Highly corrosive materials.

3. The distributors of coke have been using it to clean the engines of their trucks for about 20 years!

Still want to drink up?

Now, just so one of the big men in suits don’t stumble upon my little blog this morning and make me regret what we’re talking about, I went searching to see if Coca-Cola had any response to these claims.

They did.  (Don’t you just love the Internet?)coke1-pam-crooks.jpg

The company claimed to be unaware of officers using the soda to clean pavement, citing the cost as prohibitive and that water or vinegar would be equally effective.   Vinegar is naturally acidic and would soften an egg shell, yet it’s explained that vinegar ‘is completely safe as a food ingredient and enhances the flavor of many foods.’  They also go on to advise consumers to use the proper household products when cleaning or removing rust. 

They claim that the email was all myths.  Except the ham gravy part.  Coke makes delicious gravy, evidently.

Now I’d like to know if you tried any of these myths to see if they were true?  Ever use Coke in your laundry?  Dissolve a steak in it?  Clean your battery?

If so, do tell!

Do you use any other kinds of food to clean with?  Your mother?  Grandmother?

We’d love to know!

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Pam has written 30 romances, most of them historical westerns, but her newest releases are contemporary sweet romances featuring the Blackstone Ranch series published by Tule Publishing. Stay up on the latest at

45 thoughts on “Coke–drink it? Or clean your battery with it?”

  1. I too have heard these supposed “myths”. Sadly, they never stopped me from drinking my Pepsi! 🙂 No one can come between me and my Pepsi & Cowboy 🙂 🙂

  2. I do love diet Coke over diet Pepsi, but if I was drinking it with sugar I would choose the Pepsi. I have never used it to clean with though. Now vinegar is a different story, it is a good cleaner. It is good for cleaning windows. Also use it to clean water stains off of the sink,calicium build up. It also does well in the tolet. Vinegar is a great cleaner if you can get past the smell.

  3. OKAY, CONSPIRACY THEORY TIME. Not that I’m paranoid or anything but …….

    Don’t you just here stuff all the TIME about … especially diet Coke and Diet Pepsi.

    I think it’s a conspiracy. If ever their was a complete harmless indulgence in this world it’s drinking a can of Diet Coke.

    It’s like ‘THEY’ whoever THEY are, just can’t stand to see a human being enjoy some treat without guilt.

    I read last week that Diet Pop makes you fat.


    Coffee too, coffee gives you cancer, don’t drink it while you’re pregnant, what else? Another guilt free indulgance that THEY keep trying to scare us with.

    So…when my kids were little we tried the ‘Dissolve a Nail in Coke’ experiment. Nope.
    Nail was still there. I suspect the steak would be too, although just thinking about a steak floating for three days in a vat of Diet Coke on my kitchen counter top is enough to make me quite eating and drinking altogether.

    What’s that website?? Snopes? Or is there something called Myth Busters? That’s supposed to tell you if this stuff is true.

    I’m not giving up my Diet Coke…better I should try and skip the donuts and Doritoes, don’t you think?

  4. Pam I am definatley a Pepsi girl always have been it just taste cleaner i have always been able to tell the difference if they bring me Coke in a resturant instead of the Pepsi i ordered and then they’ll say we have Coke products then i’ll kindly ask for sweet Tea.
    A cleaning food i use is a lemon cut open to clean my hands with after cutting up garlic, takes the odor out of your hands. Clean out the coffee maker with vinigar but with the sounds of things i could just invest in a handy dandy can of coke for my cleaning issues LOL

  5. Hi Pam – I’ve heard these myths from time to time and I still have an occasional Coke or Pepsi. I know it can aggravate an ulcer if you drink it heavily and daily, and my father loved Coke as a boy and claims that it caused his stomach ruin. But everything in moderation, I say. And no I haven’t tried cleaning my toilet with it, but it’s definitely a thought!

  6. Hi, Andrea and Virginia! Thanks for stopping by.

    Andrea, water is really good for the body. Whoever invented bottled water sure had a good gimmick going, didn’t they?

    Virginia, I’ve never tried vinegar for cleaning the toilet, but it makes sense with that acid, doesn’t it?

  7. Kool Aid is also used to clean perculator coffee pots. Wonder what it is made of. By the way it is a Nebraska product.

  8. Hi, Lori! Lemon is another food that has multiple uses for its acidic value.

    When I was in high school, we used to rinse our hair with vinegar to get all the shampoo out. I can’t imagine doing that for a long time, tho. It’d dry our hair out!

  9. You blog is so fun, Pam. All I can say is, I’ve been a Diet Coke addict for several decades, and I’m still alive and have most of my teeth. Thanks for the smile.

    Oh–and if Sally Morgan is reading this, I tried to reply to your nice email several times, Sally, but the reply wouldn’t send. Just wanted to say thanks.

  10. Well, the nail got wet and sticky and we had to come up with a better science fair project. We were pretty sure showing the judge the nail sunk in a glass of coke and saying, “Nuthin’ happened,” wasn’t gonna be a winner.

    My mom makes a Christmas cider in her large coffee maker and she always percolates a batch of Kool-Aid through it first. That Kool-aid just turns the most ghastly black color so you KNOW that helps.

    And, if you slice onions and your hands won’t quite smelling like onions, soak your fingers in lemon juice for a bit, or rub a lemon over them. It must cut the … ? acid? what? in the onion that won’t come out with soap and water, because it works.

    And….okay, I’m hyper today…had a weird experience but that’s not the point…if chopping onions makes you cry, wear sunglasses or real glasses if you have them, to protect your eyes.

    That has NOTHING to do with Pam’s post.

    I prefer Diet Coke.

  11. I drank Diet Pepsi for years but decided recently I liked Diet Coke better.

    Here’s the deal, I think I have an underdog reflex.

    I always root for the second banana, you know Burger King over McDonalds, Pepsi Over Coke, Hoss over Little Joe…stuff like that.

    So a while back I realized I’d been drinking Pepsi all these years out of my ‘root for the underdog’ reflex but I actually liked Diet Coke better, so now I drink it.

    But I feel guilty.

  12. Pam, this is so intriguing. I’ve always wondered about those claims and whether they’re true or not. It doesn’t stop me from enjoying one can of diet Coke a day. It’s my sinful indulgence. They’ll never take it away.l..unless the powers that be raise the price to what a gallon of gas is. Then I might consider it. lol

    As for using Coke for other things, my mother used to pour a cupful of it in a pot of red beans while she was cooking them. It really worked well in removing the gas from them. And it didn’t affect the taste any.

    I recently heard about using ketsup to clean jewelry with although I haven’t tried it yet. I’ve been meaning to though to see if it works.

    Great post, Pepsi Girl!! 🙂

  13. Which makes me think of something else…along the science fair line of commenting

    I was pretty good at the science fair at one time. My kids took stuff EVERYYEAR, wow, what a project that was.

    I advice researching Monocot and Dycot seeds if you want a winner…we did great. Best suggestion, the winners all seemed to have at least one word in the title that no one had ever heard of. I think Judges are kinda shallow and they just think, ‘Wow, cool, kid used a big word’
    They also seemed to like it if you grew plants, I guess they figure that’s a committment.

    So, once my sister, too lazy to walk upstairs to get cream to put in her Kalua, poured Sprite into it.
    Have you ever heard of a Cement Mixer?

    If you pour 7-Up or Sprite in Kalua, it has some insane chemical reaction and turned into this thich weird sludgy concoction that, my college kids now tell me, is a guaranteed Barf drink and college students are always daring each other to have a Cement Mixer…Kalua and Sprite.

    So my sister accidentally ‘invented’ this drink in her basement. 🙂

    So when she told me this, and the kids were giving her grief about it, I said, “Well, that’s a really cool thing. I wonder what is in those two things that has that chemical reaction? You ought to research it and when your son, Nick, has the next Science Fair he could do this and explain why Kahlua and Sprite becomes this weird liquid cement thingy.

    Then my sister starts laughing about her son wearing a tiny tuxedo and bow tie and making mixed drinks in the fifth grade science fair and how he’d get busted, get MIP at the Science Fair, or how the judges would keep coming back to ‘learn more’ and he’d be standing there, with his tux and a towel over his arm, and maybe a cocktail shaker, ‘telling’ them about his project. And maybe he’d have a tip jar.

    Guaranteed winner…if he didn’t get arrested.

  14. I’ve also rubbed table salt over my wet hands after cutting up an onion and that works wonderfully if you don’t have any lemons handy. I’ve never heard of running Kool-Aid through a coffee maker to clean it but I have used vinegar. That cleans really well.

  15. I love the flavored diet pepsi products…WOW I have heard some of the myths, but others are very very interesting… WOW!!!

  16. Charlene, yes, everything in moderation. But the Coke folks say that stomach acid is stronger than the acid in the drink, so it’s unlikely it will erode the enamel on teeth or harm our stomachs. Unless it was ingested full strength or something, I suppose.

  17. Sue, well, you taught me something today. I’ve never heard of using Kool-aid to clean a coffee pot.

    How do you do it? Just pour it in with the water? I wouldn’t think it’d be very strong that way.

  18. Elizabeth,

    Eroding teeth was also one of those urban legends about Coke, but I was surprised it wasn’t on my list. Glad to know you still have yours–most of them, at least. Hee!

  19. Mary, would you believe I buy those loose bananas that people pull off the bunches? They always look so lonely and abandoned.

    So I have an underdog complex, too.

  20. Linda, great tips! Coke in beans–I’d think it’d sweeten them up a bit, too. And ketchup to clean jewelry–well, there’s less messy ways, I think, don’t you?

  21. I love singleton bananas…they can ripen at different times and the different sizes makes for good variety.

    I am definitely a Pepsi girl. I participated in a blind-fold contest between it and Coke at the county fair and I got it right.

    My kids and DIL however, are all Diet Coke fanatics.

    I’ve heard a lot of these urban legends too. Very enjoyable post today! 🙂

  22. I mix vinegar with water when I don’t have Windex on hand. An old toothbrush and toothpaste to clean rings and jewelry- makes ’em shiny and sparkly again.

    I don’t think I’ve used Coke for any of the above mentioned myths though. Since having my gallbladder removed about 5 years ago, I can’t drink fizzy soda anymore. I loved Dr. Pepper and Cherry Coke and A&W Cream Soda, but can’t drink any of it anymore for some reason that is associated with the lack of gallbladder. It tears my stomach to pieces now. I used to drink diet drinks from time to time but came to discover that all the artifical sweeteners, especially Aspartame, make me deathly ill- headaches, nausea, stomach cramps that last for a few days if I ingest it…I can’t even chew Eclipse gum without feeling bad for several days after.

    I have put a couple of Alka-Selters in the commode before cleaning it. I’ve used lemon juice, vinegar or salt to get the onion smell from my hands after cutting, but I wear glasses all the time and I still tear up over cutting an onion…but I usually get Vidalias or Sweet Mayan onions, which cuts out the tears.

    Baking Soda in the laundry or dish water to soften it and it makes things cleaner.

  23. I the interest of heading off disaster!!!!!

    My mom uses kool-aid to clean her 30-cup coffee pot, not a normal Mr. Coffee. It strips all the oily coffee remains from inside the percolator … what do you call it? That center pipe that sucks the water up and pours it over the grounds basket. Otherwise all that coffee coating is in her cider…very icky.

    I don’t know what might happen if you used Kool-aid on a Mr. Coffee….FIRE MAYBE????

    Wow, too bad Pam’s post caused someone to burn down their house…bad girl, Pam.

  24. I remember reading all those things, too. If it was that easy to clean the toilet, why would we have to spend all that $$ on saniflush and scrubbers?

    I’m the odd girl out as usual, since I don’t drink any soda or caffeine and haven’t for years. I have an occasional root beer with a slice of pizza just to walk on the wild side. LOL

    I always have a hot cup of tea or a bottle of water on my desk.

    I do know colas and any soda are hard on the teeth because of the sugar.

  25. I’m with Taryn. Glasses don’t help with the onion. I’ve heard that putting it in the fridge before you cut it cuts back the tears but I can’t swear by that one either.

    The only thing that’s 100% effective:
    Get someone else to cut the onion.

  26. Onions – Martha Stewarts says to burn a candle near the onion and it absorbs the strong odor which makes us tear up. Also, it’s better if the onion was refrigerated.

  27. Okay, I have to admit that I tried the Coke in a toilet. We used to have well water (translation-lots of ugly red iron stains) and I read the email about cleaning with the Coke. I can’t remember if it worked or not-I just remember the kids screaming because I poured an entire can of Coke in the toilet.

    My cousin uses it to clean the bugs off of his windsheild and car grill. It does work for that.

    I am a die hard water and white (not apple cider!) vinegar to clean the windows with. Very clean and sparkly. Along the vinegar line, if you burn something in the oven or microwave (burnt popcorn and the noxious smell,anyone), place a bowl of white vinegar inside and leave overnight-it absorbs the odor.

  28. None of these myths will stop me from drinking Diet Pepsi.
    Pepsi cleans battery terminals very nicely.

  29. Tanya, so you’re another banana sympathizer, eh? I thought I was the only odd one. Thanks for stopping by.

    Hey, Taryn! I’m intrigued with the baking soda in the dishwater tip. I’m going to try it!

  30. Cheryl, there’s an argument against saying colas are hard on teeth because it’s swallowed so quickly. But mothers who prop bottles when they put babies to bed with juice or Kool-Aid to fall asleep with (back in my day, some mothers did this. Sheesh!) then the sweet liquid would pool in their mouth and cause tooth decay.

  31. Hi, Terry! I’d be curious to know if the coke worked in the toilet, and cleaning bugs off a car with Coke is amazing. Does your cousin use the foil?

  32. I’m with you, Estella. Diet Pepsi is my mainstay. I give it up for Lent every year–and when it’s that time of day, dang, it’s good penance!

  33. Wow… fascinating, Pam! I used to be a hardcore Pepsi drinker, but I’ve tapered way back on caffeinated stuff (and the non-caffeine versions don’t quite taste the same somehow)… I have NOT tried using Coke or Pepsi to clean anything…

    And nope, glasses won’t help with the cutting onions thing–mine just get blurry because of all the tears 😉

  34. I agree with Fedora on the blurry glasses, you can’t see the onion to slice it! Years ago, I tried the potty cleaning with Coke and didn’t see any real improvement on the cleaning! I went back to my regular cleaner. Lemons and vinegar always work in cleaning and deodorizing projects. I keep an old toothbrush to use with toothpaste on jewelry. My husband has used Coke to remove corrosion from the car’s battery on a couple of occasions. Any of the other claims we haven’t tried out.

    Pat Cochran

  35. I remember my mother telling me 57 years ago that when they built their new house they were told to clean the bathtub which was a mess from the workers with Coke and it worked.

    And of course there’s always baking soda! It’s great for cleaning and if you put it in a clogged drain with vinegar it usually opens up the plug.

  36. Hi, Fedora!

    You know, I need to cut back on the caffeine, too. I’m not having any adverse reactions to it or anything–but I *am* craving more of it. I use to be a one-cup of coffee girl, and now I’m up to three. With sometimes a fourth in the middle of the afternoon.

  37. What a fun topic this is! My dad drinks a 4-litre bottle of Coke every day (don’t know what that translates to in the States), but he’ll only drink Coke Classic. If you even bring up “new” Coke, it sends him over the edge. Do they even make “new” Coke anymore?? I don’t drink it unless it’s mixed with a little rum.. . . 🙂
    And remember Laverne (from Laverne and Shirley) used to drink milk and Pepsi? Gross!!

  38. Mary cleared up the kool aid/coffee pot question.
    It is just for perculators. Also another trick, newspapers are great for cleaning windows. Just wear rubber gloves because your hands will turn black from the newsprint
    I’m a Diet Coke drinker.

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