Get Rid of Hard Water Stains and Limescale on Your Toilet with Coke

Can you clean a toilet with Coca Cola? It sounds crazy but yes it’s true. This hack for cleaning your commode will leave your bowl sparkling clean. Run to the pantry and grab a can of coke and you can finally be rid of rust stains or limescale buildup on your toilet. 

Dirty toilet bowl to be cleaned with coke

Can You Really Clean Hard Water Stains with Coke?

Can you really clean toilet stains with soda? This seems like one of those old wives tales that doesn’t actually work. But just like cleaning your toilet with WD-40 this hack really works.  When it comes to removing limescale and rust build up Coca-Cola is your secret weapon.

Is Coca-Cola Good for Cleaning Toilets?

Coke works really well for cleaning a variety of household items, however today we are focusing on the toilet.

Depending on how hard or soft your water is and what kind of minerals are in the water supply you may be more likely to have stubborn rust or limescale stains that are difficult to scrub off.

Soda works to clean your toilet because three ingredients, citric, carbonic and phosphoric acids.

  • Phosphoric acid is a colorless, odorless crystalline liquid. It gives soft drinks a tangy flavor and prevents the growth of mold and bacteria, which can multiply easily in a sugary solution. Most of soda’s acidity also comes from phosphoric acid.
  • Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits, especially lemons and limes. A manufactured form of citric acid is commonly used as an additive in food, cleaning agents, and nutritional supplements.  Note: Coca-Cola doesn’t contain citric acid but other citrus flavored soda does. Pepsi usually contains a small amount of citric acid.
  • Carbonic acid is a chemical compound with the chemical formula H2CO3 . It is also a name sometimes given to solutions of carbon dioxide in water (carbonated water), because such solutions contain small amounts of H2CO3.

Will Diet Coke Work?

Yes Diet Coke works just a well as regular Coke for cleaning. The reason it works so well to clean your toilet because of the gentle carbonic and phosphoric acid it contains. These chemicals come from the carbonation, not the flavor in soda, This also means that club soda and many other carbonated beverages can be substituted for Coke. Buy whatever is cheapest. You can usually buy 3 liter bottles of generic brand cola for $1 at the dollar store.

Coke is suitable for most of the mineral deposits and rings that commonly occur in toilets. However, it won’t always work for other stains which we will go over in a moment.

What Shouldn’t You Clean With Coke?

  • Coke isn’t great for removing oil, fat, or grease-based stains. For these, you’re better off using dish soap, detergent, or a stronger acid like vinegar.
  • Coke isn’t great at killing germs. In fact, the sugary residue left behind by regular Coke can actually feed certain types of bacteria. Stick to soap, a commercial cleaning solution, or an alcohol-based sanitizer to kill microorganisms.
  • Coke won’t remove stains caused by inks, dyes, or pigments. Rubbing alcohol and other chemical solvents are better cleaning solutions.
A can of coke being poured into a toilet bowl.

Supplies

  • 1 can of Coke or other carbonated soft drink
  • Toilet brush
  • Empty bucket
  • Gloves

Time needed: 2 hours.

How to Clean a Toilet Bowl with Coke

  1. Empty water from the toilet bowl

    Turn the knob on the side of the tank to turn off the water flow and then flush the toilet or fill a large bucket with water and dump it quickly into the toilet. This will force the toilet to empty.

  2. Pour Coke into the bowl

    Open a can of coke and pour it into the bowl. Try to get it under the rim and focus on any stubborn stains.

  3. Wait

    Wait at least 2 hours for the coke to work its magic.

  4. Scrub

    After the time is up flush the toilet and use a toilet brush to scrub any remaining stains.

  5. Flush

    Flush the toilet one last time to get rid of any remaining Coke in the bowl.

A toilet brush cleaning the inside of the toilet bowl with has been coated with Coca Cola.
Do you have to remove the water from the toilet for the coke to be effective?

No, but it will work better if you do. Extra water will dilute the soda and possibly make it less effective.

Is Coke safe for septic tanks?

Yes, you are only using a small amount so it will not harm your septic tank.

How long do you need to leave the Coke in the toilet?

About 2 hours. You can pour it in before bed and leave it overnight. In the morning it will be ready to scrub clean.

How do I make it work even better?

Heating the Coke in the microwave will make it more effective because heat makes chemical reactions work faster. Pour soda in a heat safe bowl and microwave it for one minute. Be careful it isn’t too hot because pouring really hot liquid into a cold toilet bowl can cause the porcelain to crack.

Clean toilet bowl with a can of coke on top of the tank.
Adrienne Carrie Hubbard
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