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The city of Atlanta is a wonderful place to live. It’s got theatre (the Fabulous Fox is my favorite), art (High Museum), concerts, attractions (like the world’s largest aquarium), and keeps folks like me from getting too bored. Atlanta is also home to some of the most recognizable brands, including Delta, Home Depot, and of course, Coca-Cola.
In the south, there simply isn’t anything other than coke. No soda, no pop, just coke. If you are in a restaurant, and ask for a coke, people will typically ask you right back: “What kind?”, because around here, coke is the term used for describing any type of carbonated beverage. And people will certainly clarify when all they have are Pepsi products.
Scott and I visited the new World of Coke earlier this year as the weather warmed up, which is a museum all about the history of the world’s most recognizable brand. As we wandered through the building, I came across a “Did You Know?” factoid list that had me fascinated (and I’ve also seen these on a LOT of websites). While drinking the beverage may be the most popular reason for purchasing, there are many uses for coke, including some that are helpful for us DIY folks!
Around the House
- Add Coke to your laundry to remove bad smells – this is apparently most effective with fish.
- Coke also removes blood and grease stains from clothing and other fabrics.
- Coke and aluminum foil will bring chrome to a high shine.
- Use it to strip paint off of metal furniture by soaking a towel in Coke and wrapping it around the surface (this takes days though, so you’re probably better off using a chemical stripper unless you would rather go non-toxic).
- Pour it around your toilet bowl, let it sit, and flush to clean stains off. This also works the same way on tile grout and vitreous china.
- Remove marker stains from your carpet. Apply, scrub, then clean with soapy water.
- The acid in Coke makes it an extremely effective rust remover (I’ve seen this myself on rusty nails). By using this on rusty bolts, it loosens them. Soak pennies in Coke to remove the tarnish as well.
- Clean up oil stains from your garage floor. Let the stain soak, then hose it off.
- Got a rusty pool? Add a two-liter bottle to clear up rusty water.
- Coke removes crud from windshields and bumpers (shake up the can, aim and pour!)
- Coke distributors have been using it to clean their engines for decades.
- Car battery terminals can be cleaned using a small amount of coke poured over each one.
- Coke will defrost a frozen windshield (I haven’t used this one myself, but I’m certainly going to try it!)
- Kill slugs and snails with a small bowl of Coke in your garden; the sugar attracts them, the acid kills them.
- Help a lawn become lush and green using this mixture: 1 can of cola (NOT diet), 1 can of regular beer (NOT light), 1/2 cup of dishwashing liquid (NOT anti-bacterial), 1/2 cup household ammonia, 1/2 cup mouthwash. Pour into a 10-gallon sprayer, hook it to the end of your hose, and apply once a month. I believe both the coke and beer can be flat; I think it’s mostly the sugars that make this mixture work.
- Pour a small cup of Coke and sit it outside away from your picnic area; bees and wasps will be attracted there instead of to your food!
- Make a better compost; it increases acidity, feeds microorganisms, and adds sugars.
In the Kitchen
- Coke tenderizes meat; add it to your pot roast or mix with Italian seasonings and soak a tough steak in it.
- Bastign a ham with Coke will caramelize the sugars and help moisten the meat.
- Mix a can of Coke with ketchup for a sweet BBQ sauce.
- Clean burnt pans or descale a kettle by soaking them in Coke.
- Pour flat Coke on your hair; rinse off after a few minutes. It’s now curly!
- Diet Coke helps fade your bad dye job.
- To remove gum from your hair, dip the spot into a small bowl of Coke and leave for a few minutes. The gum will wipe off. (Again, not something I’ve tried, but I don’t plan on testing this one out myself!)
- Want a deep tan? Apply regular coke (not diet or cherry) to skin, sunbathe, and admire your tan. It is supposed to also work in tanning beds (and does not attract bugs like one would think).
- Mix a spoonful of regular Coke with unscented lotion for ultra-smooth skin.
As scary as it sounds to ingest Coke after reading all of these tips (they market rust remover as a drink?), Coca-Cola was originally sold as a health tonic. As it turns out, some of the original claims actually work, though I don’t think these are enough of an argument to make Coke a “healthy” drink:
- The caffeine in two 12-oz. cans can prevent the onset of an asthma attack (one could argue that ANY caffeinated beverage would work)
- Neutralize a jellyfish sting by pouring a can over the spot (in my opinion, this is a much better alternative than letting someone pee on it).
- Flat Coke can help relieve an upset stomach (and apparently women who are pregnant really like this tip; as long as you drink decaf or keep the intake to a small amount).
- Gargle with ice-cold Coke to get rid of hiccups.
Also, there are a few rumors floating around the internet that Coca-Cola would like to clear up:
- Coke is not used by the authorities to clean blood from the roads after accidents.
- Coke will not dissolve teeth or nails overnight; it takes a long time.
- The acids in Coke do not make it dangerous to drink (your own stomach acids are much stronger).
- Too much Coke will not cause you to die from CO2 poisoning.
- Coke DID contain actual cocaine a long time ago; it doesn’t now.
I haven’t tried most of these tips, but a handful of them are on my next to-do list. Do any of you find this as fascinating as I did? Have any of you tried any of the above tips? If you try one, please let me know how it went!