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8 Things You Really Should Be Cleaning with Soda

Who knew that your favorite carbonated beverages are like kryptonite for stains?

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Close-Up Of Drink Pouring In Drinking Glass Against Black BackgroundPornchai Jaito / EyeEm/Getty Images

Your new secret weapon

You’ve probably got a closet somewhere brimming with colorful containers of cleaning goos, sprays, and powders. Those products are all great, but there’s another surprising cleaning agent lurking in a different corner of your house—your fridge or pantry—that can cut through the worst messes, too. We’re talking about soda, believe it or not. From club soda to Coca-Cola, this unassuming carbonated beverage can tackle all sorts of gunk and grime throughout your house. Once you learn everything that soda can do, check out these other cleaning tricks for hard-to-clean household objects.

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Your driveway

Oil leaks aren’t just a problem for your car—they can also ruin the look of your driveway. Though getting rid of these unsightly stains may seem like an overwhelming chore, soda can make the job exponentially easier. That’s because soda contains phosphoric acid, which has the ability to cut through grease and lift it away. All you have to do? “Pour soda directly over the stain, scrub with a large scrub brush, and then rinse with water,” says cleaning expert Kadi Dulude, founder of Wizard of Homes. You could also try rinsing the area with a hose on a power setting. Repeat as necessary. For more easy fixes, check out these 40 home repairs anyone can do.

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Fabrics stained with grease and oil

In the same way that soda can bust through old oil and grease on your driveway, it can also remove fresh and set-in stains on your clothing. This includes cooking oils, beauty oils, WD-40, and more. You can pour the soda directly onto the stain, or pour an entire can of soda into the washing machine, then run through a regular cycle with laundry detergent. “For this, the soda needs to be clear and unflavored, like club soda, so it doesn’t stain the fabric,” notes Becky Rapinchuk, owner of Clean Mama. Here are some other weird things that can remove stains.

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Blood stains

Whether you took a spill, got a bloody nose, or had a minor kitchen accident, blood happens—and stubborn stains often result, adding insult to injury. But the acids and carbonation power of soda can cut through both old and new blood stains on clothing, furniture, and hard surfaces. For clothing, Rapinchuk says to use the same technique outlined above for grease stains, making sure to use clear and unflavored soda. It’s also best to let your item soak overnight so the soda can work its magic.

For furniture, use a soda-soaked sponge to spot-treat, then follow up with a traditional cleaner. (If possible, remove the affected upholstery before cleaning.) For hard surfaces, pour the soda onto the affected area, let it set for three or more hours, then rinse with water. These other everyday items can remove blood stains, too.

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Rusty metals

Metals get rusty over time, especially if they’ve been exposed to the elements. Maybe you’ve got some old tools that look less than beautiful, your golf clubs sat in the garage for too long, or your bike could use a mini makeover. The citric acid in soda cuts through rust to reveal the shiny metal underneath, says Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at the Cleaning Authority. “Fill a container with cola and soak the rusted item for 24 hours,” she advises. “After soaking, begin scrubbing the rust with a scrubbing pad. Rinse off the remaining residue and syrup before letting the items air-dry.” Another alternative, notes Apartment Therapy, is to soak an abrasive sponge in soda and then scrub. This is ideal for items you can’t soak, such faucet handles or bicycle wheels. Discover another 13 clever cleaning hacks from professional house cleaners.

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Toilet bowls


Remove the stubborn ring in your toilet—along with all the other unpleasant grime—with soda’s acidity and carbonation. “The theory is that you pour a whole can into the toilet, let it stand for an hour, and then scrub before flushing,” says Dulude. You can follow up with an additional toilet bowl cleaner to remove any residual soda. Don’t miss these other ways to clean your bathroom in 5 minutes or less.

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Grout

One of the most tedious household chores is cleaning tile grout, which dirties quickly and can take hours to clean. Soda to the rescue! “Simply pour a little bit of cola on the grout area, let it sit for five to 10 minutes, and then wipe up,” says Stapf. “For some of the tougher stains, use a toothbrush to scrub the area. The acidic nature of the cola will eat away at the grime.” If you’re working with vertical grout, soak an abrasive sponge in soda and scrub. You can use a toothbrush there, as well. For more ways to tackle grout and tricky spots, try these 17 products that will clean your house in less than an hour.

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Jewelry


The citric acid found in soda, along with its carbonation, can help polish sterling-silver jewelry that’s become dull. “Pour soda in a small bowl, put your jewelry in the bowl, and then gently scrub with an old toothbrush,” advises Dulude. “After, rinse the jewelry very well.” A clear soda is best, such as club soda, Sprite, or 7UP. Once clean, make sure you store your jewelry properly in order to protect it.

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Pots and pans


It makes sense that you use your cherished pots and pans regularly, but this makes them susceptible to grease and grime accumulation. Luckily, soda will cut through even the oldest, most baked-on grease stains. Dulude says, “Pour soda in a bowl and dip your brush in it, then scrub the bottoms of pots and pans before rinsing.” For extra stubborn stains, CNET recommends pouring soda into the pot or pan and then cooking on low heat for 30 minutes. (For baking dishes, pop them into the oven with the soda on 250 for 30 minutes). Remove from the heat, allow time to cool, and then scrub at the stains with a scouring pad. These tricks might make you think twice about picking up an old and stained (but otherwise perfect) piece at the thrift store, too. However, if the dishes are really bad, it might be time to toss them.

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Wendy Rose Gould
Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance lifestyle reporter covering pets for Reader's Digest, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Rescue Pop. She's also a regular contributor to NBC, Real Simple, Brides, Business Insider, and other outlets. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, by way of the Indiana countryside, Wendy holds a journalism degree from the Franklin College Pulliam School of Journalism and another bachelor's degree in Philosophy. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @wendyrgould.