Who knew that Coca-Cola had rust removal abilities? But how does this carbonated beverage do it?
According to a Chemistry Life Hacks video, it’s because of Coca-Cola’s added ingredient, phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acid is utilized as a flavoring agent and the main contributor of rust’s chemical reaction. Used in other foods aside from Coca-Cola, phosphoric acid gives food a tangy or sour taste.
Marty Lewis, an electrical engineer and musician from Kailua, Hawaii, decided to test out the capabilities of Coca-Cola as a rust remover on May 21, 2016.
“I have a lot of instruments that seem to get rusty,” said Lewis. “The chrome on it, after letting the instrument sit outside on the stands, after a little while they’ll just start getting rust spots on there. I’ve tried soaking them in different types of chemicals and some to varying degrees of success. Ease of cleaning would make it much better than my current methods.”
A popular compound, phosphoric acid is found in industrial strength cleaners as a rust and tarnish removal. Phosphoric acid is also used in the manufacture of fertilizers, detergents, and pharmaceuticals and in the steel industry it is used to clean and rust-proof products.
Phosphoric acid converts iron oxide, which is incredibly hard to clean, into blackish ferric phosphate, which can easily be scrubbed right off.
The test was a success, Lewis found that by soaking his chrome instrument pieces in the liquid, it cleaned and restored them back to their original shiny form.
“It looks like they were kinda yellowed before and it looks like they may have turned back to the chrome color,” said Lewis. “Maybe I will try coke again, it looks like it did a pretty good job, it was pretty easy as well.”
Watch the video above to see the transformation!