How To Clean a Dirty Toilet with Coca-Cola

Hint: You can "taste the feeling" and also clean with it.

As if Southerners needed another reason to love Coca-Cola—we just discovered the bubbly and refreshing beverage also pulls double duty as a cleaning agent.

The Atlanta-based drink and go-to snack companion with peanuts is not just good for gulping down or dredging and coating slices of ham. No, you can actually get more mileage out of a six pack of Coke bottles by using it to clean your toilet.

Probably the grossest place to clean in the home is the bathroom, particularly the toilet. And, if you share a bathroom with your husband or younger boys, keeping the toilet spotless can be even more of a challenge. So instead of purchasing those expensive fizzies or abrasive toilet bowl cleaners, head to the fridge and let the carbonation of Coke work its magic on filthy rings, lime buildup, and water stains. Because Coca-Cola contains carbonic, citric, and phosphoric acids, it's great for tough stains and dissolving rust. How's that for a homemade fizzy toilet bomb?

Sparkling Clean Toilet with Seat Lifted
Getty/Peter Dazeley

How Often to Clean Your Toilet

Toilets really are a germ magnet, especially if you have a large household. At a minimum, clean and disinfect your toilet once a week. A regular scrub can help prevent stains from starting in the first place.

Considerations Before Getting Started

Of course, we don't recommend using Coca-Cola every time your toilet needs a good scrubbing, as the dark color of the carbonated soda can actually stain the bowl and leave a sugary residue when used excessively. Those sugars can create an unsanitary condition by feeding some types of bacteria. Use Coke specifically when you need to remove problem stains like limescale or rust.

If you want to avoid the risk of tinting your toilet with Coke, a light-colored carbonated soft drink such as 7UP or tonic water will also suffice. Light-colored sodas are typically less acidic, though, meaning they have less power to dissolve stains. Whichever mixture you use, the key is to let it sit as long as possible in the toilet.

How to Clean Your Toilet With Coke

Follow these two simple steps below to ensure your porcelain throne sparkles:

  1. Pour Coca-Cola along the edges of the toilet bowl and leave it, preferably overnight.
  2. In the morning, flush and give it a whirl.
Woman Scrubbing Toilet
vladans/Getty Images

Alternative Options for Cleaning Your Toilet

No extra Coca-Cola on hand? Another natural concoction made up of ingredients taken straight from the kitchen: equal parts baking soda and white vinegar mixed with essential oils (think: peppermint or tea tree oil). This combination will clean the bowl and neutralize disgusting odors. And, if you're willing to get your hands dirty, sliced grapefruit covered in salt is also an effective scrubber that can be used in the place of a toilet brush.

Tips to Keep Your Toilet Clean Longer

Some people use an automatic toilet bowl cleaner or use a drop-in toilet bowl cleaner every day or two to keep it fresh and stain-free. However, many products contain bleach, which can damage rubber seals and corrode metal over time. Leaving those products in water overnight can also release fumes into your bathroom. The aforementioned baking soda and vinegar is a safer alternative for keeping your toilet bowl sparkling. You can add them to the toilet bowl at the end of the night for a good, cleansing soak until morning.

Then you can take on the next project: cleaning out your drains and unclogging your showerhead with baking soda.

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