Ask Almost-Doctor Dan: Cleaning Rusty Tools With Coke

As we mentioned a little while ago, we got to meet up with Almost-Doctor Dan on our recent whirlwind trip to New York and were once again able to pick his giant brain.

We asked him if he had any more home-related tips that might be of use to our readers and he thought for about a nano-second before spitting out this brilliant solution: cleaning old rusty tools with a common household item. That item, you ask? Well, it’s none other than some good ‘ol thirst-quenching Coca-Cola. Here’s what Almost Doctor Dan has to say on the subject:

To clean old rusty tools with Coke, submerge the tools in a tub or bowl of Coca-Cola overnight (not sure if Diet Coke or Pepsi will work – best to stick with original Coke). If you can still see rust, leave them for a few more days. Rinse them thoroughly, let them dry, and oil them if necessary to prevent future rusting. This works because Coca-Cola is loaded with phosphoric acid, which dissolves both iron and iron oxide (rust), but dissolves the iron oxide much more quickly. If you left the tools in there for months and months you would probably see significant dissolution (corrosion) of the steel, but for just a few days this isn’t a problem. For those who may be scared to drink Coca-Cola after learning this, just know that the contents of a healthy stomach are about 100 times more acidic than Coca-Cola. You aren’t harming your digestive system by ingesting Coke or any other dilute acid (i.e. vinegar, citrus juice), although they can be harmful to your teeth and esophagus. Of course Coke isn’t the healthiest beverage for those watching their waistline, so submerging your tools in it might just be the best way to use it.

So there you have it, a simple way to get rid of pesky rust and keep your tools in tip top shape. We know we’ll be breaking out some Coke whenever ours are looking a bit worse for wear, and you can’t beat the fifty-cents-a-can cost! And heck, it could also work for rusty metal candlesticks, vases and other decorative objects. Good to know. But what about you guys? Any other household items that you use to keep things clean or otherwise functional in your home sweet home? Do tell.

What makes Almost-Doctor Dan the smartest guy we know? Learn more about our resident braniac (and my little brother) right here.


  1. says

    I know this is going to sound insane but if you have old wooden furniture with waterspots grab a jar of mayo. Smear mayo across the furniture completely coated it and then place papertowels on top and pat them down. Leave it alone for 30 minutes and then come and wipe away the mayo. The paper towels will look orange. Clean it off and use a damp cloth to remove all mayo residue (it does have egg in it after all) You will be shocked with how beautiful your wood items look!

    • Betty819 says

      Jenni, there used to be a radio show celebrity here that had a late night show and he was telling us that he had a party one evening and somebody evidently sat a cold drink on his Baby Grand piano and he didn’t notice it till the party was over and it was too late then,as the ring was really noticeable..He talked about it the next evening on the air and some listener called in about the mayonaise solution that you gave and he tried it the next day and mentioned it on the air how it had worked..Even mentioned the lady’s name to Thank Her..

    • says

      Hey Valerie,

      I think you should just be good rinsing the Coke off afterwards and drying the sign thoroughly. No oil is needed since the sign doesn’t have moving parts that need to stay lubricated like some tools do. Hope it helps!


  2. says

    Years ago my mom tried to prove to us how terrible Coke was for you, by placing some screws into a two liter. The screws were supposed to be eaten away by the acid in the Coke. All that happened was that the screws came out ridiculously shiny! We would joke after that about our stomachs needing a good cleaning, so they would be all sparkly. Bring on the Coke!

  3. Erica R. says

    You can use a lemon to clean plastic cutting boards. Slice a lemon in half, squeeze onto the soiled surface, rub, and let sit for 20 minutes before rinsing. I like to clean my cutting boards after making lemon chicken, fish, or any other food item that doesn’t require the use of an entire lemon. It really gets all the stains off your cutting board and leaves them sparkly clean!

    Another good tip I learned it to use cooking oil to remove Removing adhesive from glasses. I hate when I buy new houseware items and I have to struggle to get the price tags off. Just apply cooking oil to the sticker using a paper towel or a soft cloth, rub firmly, then rinse with warm, soapy water. I love that its one less product to buy and I no longer have to keep my house stocked with Goo Gone.

  4. Christin says

    Great post. Have definitely done the whole clean-a-penny-in-a-glass-of-coke thing before. Another good household item tip is to clean jewelry with toothpaste. I have a jewelry cleaner, but honestly, sometimes toothpaste works better! Just dabbing a little toothpaste on a toothbrush (I keep a separate toothbrush set aside just for this purpose) an little scrubadubdub – and my wedding rings or various earrings, etc. are all sparkly and good as new!

  5. Erica says

    Hi again Sherry,

    When I saw the picture in your post it reminded me of a silly cleaning-related question that I have for you about the rug in your kitchen.

    I’d like to put a rug in our kitchen but I’m wondering whether or not it might hinder my kitchen cleaning. Do you vacuum your rug and just swiffer around where the hardwood is? Also, do you have a rug mat or something underneath to keep it from sliding out from underneath you? (I can just picture myself taking something out of the oven and tripping over the carpet, eek!)

    • says

      Hey Erica,

      We do have one of those rug pads under our little jute rug in the kitchen. Definitely helps! As for cleaning, I usually use my beloved Kurv to get under the cabinets and around the wood part of the floor and either vacuum or shake the rug outside to de-crumb it, depending on my mood. Gotta love easy everything-bounces-right-out jute rugs!


  6. says

    My dad uses Coke for its cleaning power, and as a result we have cans that are way out of date – they still work for cleaning. We don’t tend to drink it, but we always have to make sure that guests know it’s there as a tool rather than a beverage! A friend who worked in a restaurant where they had fresh flowers learned to put sparkling water in with regular water (they said the bubbles helped the stems stay firm), so based on what Jenny is saying above it sounds like any carbonated beverage would do.

  7. Donita says

    THANKS!!! I can’t wait to tell my hubby *who has MANY greasy, rusty tools LOL*.

    1. Use straight ammonia on greasy *motor oil greasy* work clothes, then add a cup of ammonia to your load of work clothes, let set for an hour or so……wash. It works amazingly. My husband is a millwright, comes home like a grease monkey every night. The ammonia also cleans your washer at the same time, while washing those grimey clothes. ;-)

    2. We use liquid Lysol to clean jewelry with, it makes it shine shine shine. We have also used toothpaste in the past, but have found Lysol *a jeweler told my daughter the trick* to make them shine even more.

    3. Use staight lemon juice *real lemon in a bottle works* and a little sugar to get pitch, grease, off hands. We put the sugar and lemon juice on dry hands, rub around, then wash off. This will also remove stains on counters etc.

    4. To get the onion garlic smell off your hands, just rub them on your kitchen faucet *I use the water spout itself*, this will take away all the odors. You can buy an egg shaped metal ball for removing odors, but WHY waste the money. :-D

    5. To get chewing gum off clothes, furniture, carseats, put an ice cube on it, wait for it to get hard, then gently scrape off with a knife.

    6. You can remove MOST ink stains by spraying *aerosol can only* hairspray on them……..they will come right out… can see MOST of the ink stains fade right before your eyes. ;-)


  8. says

    Oddly enough, the other day while eating dinner, my boyfriend dropped A-1 on our copper coffee table. When he wiped it away, it looked a new, shiny copper penny! I have no idea what’s in A-1, but I was thrilled. Though I’ve yet to pour an entire bottle of steak sauce on it….

  9. Julie K says

    I think my favorite thing about this post is that you REALLY do illustrate the fact that you two are serious DIY-ers. I don’t think I could give up precious drawer space in my kitchen, especially right next to the stove for tool storage!

  10. Donita says

    ONE MORE: MY FAVORITE THING…..washable, reusable swiffer duster pads. I bought microfiber dishtowels from Grocery Outlet stores, or Dollar Tree *dollar store*, folded them, cut them to the size of the original swiffer duster pads……sewed them up on my machine. THEY WORK GREAT!!!! SO EASY to make and they pick up the dust so well. ENJOY!!! I am making them for Christmas gifts, out of bright coral, bright yellow, bright turquoise, bright lime green microfiber towels. LOVE LOVE LOVE THEM!!!!
    P.S. Have to give my friend kudo’s for this one, she showed me the one her grandma made for her. ;-)

  11. Jill Stigs says

    Great post……….I seem to remember an email I received with a bunch of uses for Coke and Bounce dryer sheets. I do use the dryer sheet to clean out the lint trap.

    BTW– tell the truth, did you straighten out your tool drawer to take the pic or does it always look like that? My “junk” drawer in my kitchen which has a bunch of stuff, not just tools, always looks terrible (and I have some drawer organizers too). UGH.

    Also…….where do you keep your vacuum and ironing board? Just curious.


    • says

      Tool drawer always looks like that. Honest. I’m kind of weird like that so I like everything in its place. As for the vacuum, that’s in the third bedroom closet and the ironing board slips into the two inch gap between the wall and John’s Ikea wardrobe (which is hidden by a curtain that hangs in front of it). Hope it helps!


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