Remove Rust With Coke

2 Materials
$2
1 Hour
Easy

COKE DOES WHAT?! Yeah, that was my thought exactly.
My parents offered me their old counter stools when they upgraded. How could I turn down 4 free stools and the chance to do a DIY? No brainer. These stools won’t sit at our dining room table on the regular. They’ll stay in the basement until we have a party and need the extra seating. But, they still needed some serious cleaning.

I removed the 4 support bars/foot rests from the bottom of each stool. They look in decent shape from far away, but take a look at this close up…
All the corners were rusted out. These stools lived at the beach for years and the salt air did a number on these frames. I’m not sure if these were originally brass and the rust ate away the color, or if it was originally silver and the rust made it turn this weird yellow brass color. Either way, the surface felt like sand paper. Basically, the rust had rust on it and it was gross to touch.
I put the frame in the sink and wrapped paper towels around the entire thing.
Then I took a can of Coke and poured generously over the paper towel.
If you have a large storage container you don’t mind getting really dirty, you could probably just pour a 2L bottle over what you need to clean, but this works just as well. Let it sit for about 10 or so mins. The Coke will begin to break down the rust.
When you’re ready, remove the paper towels. Here’s what the corner looked like after it soaked in the Coke, but before I scrubbed it with a brillow pad. I scrubbed this corner with the same amount of pressure I use to scrub my dirty dishes.

and the after….
I could not believe this is the same metal frame! The Coke removed all the rust. There’s permanent discoloration from years and rust, but the large rust spots are gone! The surface is so smooth.

I’ll probably never drink Coke again, but I’ll definitely use it as a cleaning solvent!

Resources for this project:

Chair Frame
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Edward F. Hellwig
    on Nov 30, 2017

    Does anybody know if Pepsi will do the same thing?
    • Marion Claege
      on Nov 30, 2017

      Yes, it will. So will Dr Pepper....so will generic brand coke....
    • Anna
      on Nov 30, 2017

      No Pepsi is not as harsh as coke.
    • Tree
      on Nov 30, 2017

      Coke is also great for removing wall paper and wall paper paste. You’ve got to thoroughly rinse the walls when you’re finished but you don’t even need soap for that, only water and it’s much much much easier than renting a steamer. If liquid doesn’t easily soak in to the wall paper you have to score the paper so that the coke soaks into the paper. Let it sit for a bit and the wall paper will peak off in stripes

    • Missy Burch
      on Dec 1, 2017

      it's pretty scary what coke will do. there's a few youtube videos on it. it can remove the coating on cd's & dvd's, making them completely clear. it can dissolve a steak. use it to clean your toilet.
    • Gale Canzoneri
      on Dec 2, 2017

      I have used coke for years to clean the battery terminals in my cars. Whenever you do a tune up, or check the fluids, just pour a can of coke over the terminals and leave it. The white junk you see on them will melt away and they will stay clean for a long time .
    • Jo Ann Spofford
      on Dec 7, 2017

      I must add a little humor here. can you imagine what these drinks are doing to our digestive system? If they eat away rust what in the world goes on in our body when we drink them?
    • Donna Messinger
      on Dec 10, 2017

      You probably could have used CLR on those legs.
    • Random Chance
      on Dec 17, 2017

      It's the citric acid (aka vitamin C) that does the tricks like removing rust and mineral scale, or cleaning battery terminals. Any mild acid, such as lemon juice or vinesgar would work too.
    • Brs31375447
      on Dec 18, 2017

      Coke has phosophoric acid along with way too much sugar! Yeah! drinking sodas does things to the digestive system alright and it's not even picky if it's diet soda or not. One needs to drink about 12 glasses of water before one drinks a can of soda to neutralize the acid. Why in the world would one want to drink sodas.... go figure.
  • Linda
    on Dec 9, 2017

    How do you use Coke or Pepsi to remove the black ring in a toilet bowl? Can DIET soda be used, too?
    • The DIY Doghouse
      on Dec 9, 2017

      I haven’t personally done this. But I heard you can use a toilet bowl brush and clean with coke instead of toilet bowl cleaner.

Join the conversation

2 of 60 comments
  • Gail
    on Jan 23, 2018

    Aaahhhh.... All the wonderful tips & info we learn from each other in Hometalk discussions. Wish I had the time to copy down all those tips & put them in a book.
  • Martha Glass
    on May 10, 2018

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