7 Surprising Ways To Use Soda (Besides Drinking It)

Apparently, there’s dozens of better uses for soda pop, other than drinking it. I decided to put it to the test and ended up with a grease-free stove, cleaner toilet bowl and stain-free baking pan. And there’s so much more you can do with soda — other than dissolving your teeth and bones and gaining weight.  

Pest control

Pepsi and Coca-Cola discourage the use of their products in this way, but farmers believe they are effective when used as a pesticide. Rice farmers in India, for instance, successfully use Pepsi and Coke to protect their plantations against pests.

The soft drink trend is seen across India and apparently works with other brands of soda as well. Pesticides are about 10 times more expensive than soft drinks, so it’s understandable that farmers would give it a try.

Closer to home, some people poison garden slugs with Coke. Just fill a low bowl with Coca-Cola and place it in the garden overnight. The sugars from the soda will entice the slugs and then those poor little suckers will drown in the acid. Barbaric, yet effective.

Toilet bowl cleaner

No one enjoys cleaning the toilet but eventually we have to do it. If you can get the job done in less time and with less scrubbing, all the better right? That’s where Coke comes to the rescue. Pour one can of Coke into the toilet bowl, clean with a toilet brush and flush.

Hard water can be a real pain. While safe to drink, it can leave yellowing rust and scale in tubs and sinks and clog shower heads. So, I decided to try a little Coke in my toilet. The scrubbing was painless thanks to phosphoric acid in coke. And the result — a sparkling clean bowl! It may not be good for the enamel in your teeth, but it works wonders on the enamel in your toilet.

Gum removal

Soda pop is great for removing sticky gum from hair. Place gummy hair in a cup filled with soft drink. Let it sit for a few minutes and the gum will come away from the hair fairly easily and without having to cut it out. The acid in the drink weakens the keratin in hair and hardens the gum, making it easier to remove.

Hair thickener

If your hair is limp and lifeless, rinsing it with Coke and then hot water will give it bounce and body. When Seventeen magazine asked English actress Suki Waterhouse how she kept her hair looking so good, she said she rinses her hair with Coca-Cola.

“I don’t like my hair when it’s washed — it’s fine and limp — but Coca-Cola makes it tousled, like I’ve gone through the Amazon or something,” Waterhouse said.

Be careful. Although soda gives your hair body, it can strip away color. That’s great, however, if you’re looking to lighten up. The phosphoric acid in the Coke tightens hair cuticles, which makes your strands look smoother. It even makes curls look more defined. The body apparently comes from all of that added sugar.

Grease remover

Syrupy coke may be the last thing you think of when it comes to cleaning pans. But pouring a little on your baking sheet and letting it sit for a few minutes acts as a wonderful grime dissolver. While it doesn’t remove all of the dirt, it does lift it enough to help you clean more easily.

I decided to try this on a greasy ceramic stove top after frying hamburgers. I was surprised at how easily the grease came off with one wipe. I followed up with a spray of light (green) counter-cleaner so that no sugar would remain and bake on later.

Clean car battery terminals

Now if this doesn’t scare you away from soda pop, nothing will. Car battery terminals corrode over time, making it difficult to start your car. To clean them, make sure your car is not running and has cooled down. Then pour a little soda pop over the battery terminals and let it sit for a while. Grab an old toothbrush and throw on some gloves. Brush gently and wipe off the residue with a wet cloth.

Remove skunk spray

Forget tomato juice, coke works much better for getting rid of a foul skunk odor. If a skunk sprays you or a pet, pour coke over your body (or the pet). Wait a few minutes and then rinse. Coke even works great to neutralize those stinky odors in your clothes. Pour a can into the wash cycle along with the detergent. Odors will be neutralized and clothes will be fresher.

This is just the beginning of what you can do with highly acidic soda. If you’ve got any more suggestions, let us know.

—Katherine Marko   

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