We’ve all heard that Coca-Cola is bad for you. Not just because of the high sugar content, but because it can do things like dissolve a T-bone steak in two days or clean tractor trailer truck engines. News flash: it won’t, and it can’t. We’ve put together a list of myths about the soda – and debunked them.
Now, Coca-Cola is by no means a health food, and any doctor will tell you to limit your sugary soda consumption. This article simply aims to show that Coca-Cola won’t kill you after one can.
Many of the myths surrounding the world’s favorite soda derive from Joey Green’s 1995 book, Polish Your Furniture with Panty Hose, and, later, his website. According to Green, cleaning and cooking with Coke works like a miracle, in some cases outperforming actual cleaning products. Here’s a list of myths people genuinely believe:
Myths About the Cleaning Power of Coke
- Highway patrol troopers carry two gallons of Coke in the truck to remove blood from the highway after a car accident in many states
- To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet. Let the soda set and soak in for one hour, then flush to clean.
- Coke contains enough citric acid to remove stains from vitreous china.
- Got rust spots on your car’s chrome bumpers? Rub the bumper with a piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.
- Similarly, if you want to remove corrosive rust from your car’s battery terminals, pour a can of Coca-Cola over them to bubble it away.
- Mechanics: if you remove grease from your clothes, empty a can of Coke into your washer with clothes and add detergent, and run your washer through a regular cycle, the Coca-Cola will help remove grease stains. (Author’s note: It will also stain your white socks and undershirts forever.)
Myths About Coke Used as a Powerful Solvent
- Another rust removal idea: pour Coke over a rusty bolt to loosen it.
- Coca-Cola’s active ingredient is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in four days.
- Commercial trucks must use a hazardous material place cards reserved for highly corrosive materials when carrying Coca-Cola concentrate.
- Coke’s distributors have been cleaning their truck engines with the concentrate for over 20 years.
- If you leave a tooth in a can of Coca-Cola, it will dissolve in a day or two.
- T-bone steaks will dissolve in Coke in two days.
One Myth that Goes Against the “Coke is Evil” Grain
All of those other myths make “The Real Thing” seem like sulfuric acid from Venus. But this one actually encourages people to consume it:
- If you want your baked ham to be moist, empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan. Wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing the drippings to mix with the Coke for great-tasting brown gravy. (Author’s note: That sounds kinda gross if you ask me.)
While these claims may seem legit, most of them are crap. Green’s book did have some truths, but, for the most part, the fact that Coke made those things happen is irrelevant.
Almost every soda contains carbonic acid, which is formed when carbon dioxide is dissolved in water – like when you add the fizz to soda. Carbonic acid is very weak and won’t easily dissolve your organs, your teeth, a steak, etc. It can be used for tasks such as removing rust deposits and cleaning up rust stains. In fact, plain club soda, a staple ingredient in many home cleaning tricks, works much better for most of those purposes, and doesn’t leave a sticky, sugary mess behind.
Coke does have small amounts of both citric and phosphoric acid; however, it would need to contain a lot more to be dangerous. In fact, Coca-Cola contains less citric acid than orange juice, as it has about 12 grams per an entire gallon of concentrate. Not per gallon of the soda itself, but per gallon of concentrate. That means that the concentrate only has about 0.25 percent of the acid necessary to dissolve steak, teeth or nails in a day or two. (Those items will dissolve if given enough time, but even water will do that eventually. High school chemistry FTW.) Your own stomach acid is way, way stronger than anything you’ll find in Coke.