Home & Living
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.
Photo: 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.
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.
Photo: 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.
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.
Photo: Shutterstock/Evan Lorne
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.
Photo: 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!
Photo: 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!
Photo: 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!
Photo: 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.
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?
Photo: Shutterstock/PSW Photographer
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.
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!
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!