Does Coke Remove Limescale?

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Like vinegar and lemon juice, Coca-Cola is highly acidic, with a pH of 2.6-6.7 due to its phosphoric acid and carbonic acid content. That makes it an ideal natural cleaner, with a whole host of uses around your home.

But does Coke remove limescale? We’ve shared everything you need to know, including a few of our recommended Coke cleaning hacks, in this guide.

πŸ“Œ Key Takeaways:

  • Limescale is caused by hard water minerals and shows up as whitish-gray, chalky stains on the affected area.
  • Coke, or Coca-Cola, is a great cleaner for limescale because its mild acidity makes stains lift from surfaces so they can be easily removed.
  • Other Coke cleaning hacks include removing pen stains, oil, and rust, whitening grout, and controlling pests.

πŸ€” What Is Limescale?

First, a quick overview of limescale.

Limescale is the chalky, white deposits you’ll see around your faucets and on your showerheads if you have hard water.

It’s formed when dissolved calcium and magnesium minerals leave deposits on surfaces that come into contact with hard water.

Limescale isn’t dangerous, but it’s incredibly damaging and can’t be removed with standard cleaning products. The best way to remove hard water stains is with an acidic cleaner.

Showerhead with limescale buildup

🧐 Does Coca-Cola Remove Limescale?

Yes, Coca-Cola can remove limescale and is a great cleaning agent to consider using.

In fact, Cola is just as effective as some of the commercial cleaners for limescale, and has the advantage of being natural, chemical-free, and non-toxic.

Cola is useful to have on hand if you want a quick and easy solution to tackle toilet limescale, mineral deposits on your faucets and fixtures, limescale in your coffee pot or tea kettle, and hard water spots on your shower screens.

However, we don’t recommend using Coke too regularly to clean your toilet bowl and other fixtures because it might leave a sugary residue if used excessively. It’s better to only use Cola when you have a problem stain that needs addressing, not for regular cleaning.

πŸ”Ž How Does Cola Remove Limescale?

Cola removes limescale because it contains carbonic acid and phosphoric acid, which gradually eat through tough stains, melting them away.

The longer you can let the Coke sit on the stain, the more effectively it’ll remove the stain. You might still need to use some elbow grease when cleaning particularly tough stains, however.

Pouring coke in a glass

πŸ“– How To Remove Limescale With Cola

Below, we’ve shared three different ways to use Coca-Cola to remove limescale from various fixtures and appliances in your home.

How To Use Coke To Remove Limescale From Toilet Bowls

To clean limescale from a toilet bowl with Cola, follow these steps:

  1. Pour a can of Cola into your toilet bowl.
  2. Leave the Coke overnight if possible.
  3. Use a toilet brush to scrub around your toilet bowl.
  4. Flush the toilet and follow up with a disinfectant.

How To Use Coke To Remove Scale Deposits From Faucets & Shower Heads

To remove scale deposits from faucets and shower heads with Cola, follow these steps:

  1. Fill a bag with Coke and place it around your faucet or shower head.
  2. Tie the bag securely with a band or cable tie, and leave the fixture to soak for around 1 hour.
  3. Remove the bag and scrub the faucet or showerhead clean.

Tip: If your shower head is easy to remove, place it in a bucket of Coca-Cola to soak overnight.

How To Use Coke To Remove Limescale From A Tea Kettle

Here’s how to use Cola to remove limescale from a tea kettle:

  1. Pour a can of Cola into the kettle, then switch on the kettle to boil.
  2. Leave the soft drink in the kettle for 30 minutes.
  3. Rinse the kettle with warm water, then scrub with a sponge and rinse again.

πŸ“‹ Other Coke Cleaning Hacks

What else can Coca-Cola be used to clean? We recommend the following Coke cleaning hacks:

Removing Rust

Alongside its limescale cleaning abilities, Coca-Cola is also well-known for its ability to remove rust from surfaces and equipment.

Add the Cola to a spray bottle and spritz the rusted area, then scrub with aluminum foil before rinsing with water. If your tools are rusty, soak them in a Cola bath overnight and the rust should come away.

Removing Oil Stains

Coca-Cola is an effective natural cleaner for removing old oil stains. Pour a can of Coke over the staining, then let it sit overnight. The acid in the Cola should gradually eat away at the stain.

Cleaning Marker Stains

The carbonic acid in Cola dissolves pen ink and makes it easier to wash or remove these stains. Add a small amount of Cola to the stain, then scrub with a sponge and follow up with water and dish soap. If the stain is on an item of clothing, treat it with Cola before putting it on a hot wash.

Cleaning Your Toilet

You’ve probably seen the viral before-and-after videos of toilets cleaned by nothing more than Coca-Cola. Pour a can of Cola into your toilet bowl and let it sit for 1-2 hours. Scrub the bowl with a toilet brush, then flush. Finish with your usual bleach or disinfectant.

Controlling Pests

Anecdotal evidence says that Coca-Cola can be used to repel snails, slugs, ants, cockroaches, and other pests due to its high acidity and caffeine content.

Whitening Grout

Coca-Cola is a caustic substance, which means it’s an effective solution to whitening grout by dissolving the grime and dirt that accumulates over the years. Simply soak a cloth in some Cola and use it to wet the grout, then remove it with a clean cloth after a few minutes.

Treating Corroded Car Battery Terminals

Finally, you can use Cola to remove corrosion from car battery terminals. Just pour a can of Coke over the terminals and let it sit for a few minutes, then use a wire brush to clean away any corrosion around bolts or other difficult-to-access areas.

πŸ”‚ Alternatives To Cola For Removing Limescale

Don’t have any coca cola on hand?

You can use any other natural acidic cleaner to achieve similar results, including:

  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice

The high acidity of these solutions will have the same effect as Cola, breaking down hard water stains and making them easy to wipe away.

Vinegar and baking soda cleaning solution

πŸ“‘ Final Word

If you decide it’s time to tackle limescale in your home but you don’t have a more traditional cleaner, Coca-Cola will indeed act as an effective substitute.

Cola isn’t a miracle solution, however. It might struggle with particularly tough stains, and it won’t prevent limescale from returning in the future. Plus, excessively using Coke as a cleaner might cause staining or leave a sugar residue that’s an aesthetic issue in itself.

The only way to eliminate limescale in your home is to remove the minerals responsible for this staining.

If you have hard water and you’re fed up with dealing with the effects of excess calcium and magnesium, we recommend installing a water softener.

Water softeners remove hardness minerals from your water supply, preventing scale formation – so you’ll no longer have to stock up on Coca-Cola for any other purpose than drinking.

  • Laura Shallcross
    Senior Editor

    Laura is a passionate residential water treatment journalist who holds an undergraduate degree in Print Journalism and a master’s degree in Creative Writing. Over a span of 5 years she's written on a range of topics including water softening, well water treatment, and purification processes.

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