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12 Unexpected Uses for Soda Around the House

Turns out, soda is for more than just drinking. Save a few cans from your next 12-pack for these tips.

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Cola drink is poured into a glass with icePhoto: Shutterstock/ nednapa

Soda consumption has been on the decline for more than a decade now as Americans become more conscious of their diets and overall health. However, cola has other numerous uses around the house that would certainly be reason enough to pick some up from the grocery store on your next trip.

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a slice of rich dark chocolate cakePhoto: Shutterstock/MSPhotographic

Bake a cake

Soda is responsible for one of the most moist and delicious chocolate cakes ever created. The beverage’s presence in this amazing cake contributes to a wonderful texture and tenderness, and the cola in the icing brings a special sweetness and flavor to a treat that will dazzle any chocolate lover.

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Housewife cleaning the toilet in the bathroom using a toilet brush and antibacterial detergent, close up view of the toilet bowlPhoto: Shutterstock/Viacheslav Nikolaenko

Clean the bathroom

If you find yourself out of toilet cleaner, simply pour a can of cola all around the bowl and let it sit at least an hour. The acids in the beverage will work their magic on stains, and when you flush the toilet, it will be undeniably cleaner. Repeat as needed until the whole bowl sparkles.

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Women's hands to polish burned potPhoto: Shutterstock/Purino

Get the gunk off your pans

Cola is a fantastic aid in removing burned bits from pots and pans. Let the cola sit and soak into the gunk; the soaking will render the mess much easier to remove, though some serious scrubbing may still be required. Keep that in mind the next time you make caramel and take it a bit too far.

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Compost bin in the gardenPhoto: Shutterstock/Evan Lorne

Go green

Composting gets a boost from the addition of cola. Use cola that has gone flat, and pour it over the compost pile. The cola’s sugar will attract and feed microorganisms that thrive in compost, and the mild acid will help break down the organic material that ultimately becomes the compost.

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Outdoor Barbecue Being Covered in SaucePhoto: Shutterstock/Chris Gunby

Master the BBQ

Soda makes a delicious ingredient in barbecue sauce. There’s no need to add sugar when a can of soda is involved. The complexity of the cola increases the complexity of the sauce, making it ideal for anything from ribs to wings to pulled pork. Just be sure to have some moist towelettes on hand!

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Cola with ice cubesPhoto: Shutterstock/successo images

Keep critters away

The overwhelming sweetness of soda makes it ideal for baiting pests of many kinds. In the garden, it draws slugs and snails away from plants. During a picnic, a cup of cola placed away from your blanket should keep bees and wasps out of your hair while you eat cheese and crackers!

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Frozen windshield wiper on carPhoto: Shutterstock/Jaroslav Moravcik

Care for your car

In the winter, a waterfall of soda will aid in defrosting an iced-over windshield. It can also be helpful in removing mud, bugs and other grime from the windshield or windows. Use a rag to apply it for more control—but just be sure to wipe it completely off, as any sticky residue will only make your problems worse!

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Woman holding a hot drinkPhoto: Shutterstock/Ahmet Misirligul

Ward off colds

Another winter-related benefit of soda: When those inevitable annoying colds and runny noses set in, one home remedy is to relieve congestion by boiling cola and drinking it hot. For the record, I believe I’d rather just have tea or perhaps even a hot toddy to make my stuffy nose a little more tolerable.

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soak dirty clothes in the basin black for clean Thailand washing clothes style ancient with detergentPhoto: Shutterstock/pramot

Clean your clothes

It’s commonly known that soaking soiled clothes in some soda before washing can help rid them of grease and milk stains. It’s even powerful enough to remove one of the most offensive smells of all—fish odor—from permeated napkins, kitchen towels or aprons. Who knew spilling soda on yourself could be a good thing?

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Disk break on a car (Selective focus) in the automobile shopPhoto: Shutterstock/PSW Photographer

Remove rust

Speaking of power, the acids in soda are capable of removing rust (when combined with some elbow grease) and can loosen bolts that have oxidized so much that they won’t budge. The carbonation helps the soda work its way into all the nooks and crannies so the acids can dissolve the buildup.

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Haircare, choosing best conditioner for tangled hairstyle concept. Blonde woman brushing her hair with combPhoto: Shutterstock/Voyagerix

Remove gum

The next time your child comes home with gummed-up hair, don’t reach for the scissors immediately. First try soaking the wad and the tangles in some soda for a few minutes; the gum should come out with minimal hair loss, and no funky, chunky, telltale haircut will be needed!

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Preparing raw meat for cookingPhoto: Shutterstock/Razmarinka

Boost your recipes

Last but certainly not least, soda does an amazing job tenderizing tough cuts of meat. Its acids work wonders at making the fibrous meat more palatable—and as a bonus, the soda flavors the meat and adds complexity and a touch of sweetness. Beef brisket never had it so good!

Grace Mannon
Grace is a full-time mom with a Master's degree in Food Science. She loves to experiment in the kitchen and writes about her hits (and misses) on her blog, A Southern Grace.