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Things Get Cleaner with Coke

According to the Internet mailing, a can of America’s Drink can also remove rust from chrome bumpers, loosen rusted bolts, remove grease from clothes, clean windshields, dissolve T-bone steaks or clean truck engines.

You say you have a dirty toilet? A rusty bumper? An unwanted T-bone steak? Not to worry. Coke has solutions to your problems. It’s not only the drink that refreshes but a beverage that can do anything but double as embalming fluid.


While I lack the bombastic charm of the late huckster Billy Mays, I am on a mission to spread the word that Coca Cola is America’s multifunctional beverage. What other cool summer libation can clean melt the corrosion on automobile battery terminals?

I come by this information through an anonymous mass Internet mailing that explores some little known traits of America’s two favorite drinks, namely water and the aforementioned Coke. I would have included martinis, but I wasn’t a part of the project.

Most interesting about water is that a 2% decrease in one’s body can cause a dip in short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing.

I know the first to be true because I don’t drink a lot of water and often find myself lost. I drive along day-dreaming and suddenly realize I have no idea where I am, where I started out to go or where I’ll be when I get there. When it comes to a choice between day-dreaming and destination, I choose the former at the risk of the latter. I am a Walter Mitty of the road.

The email on Coca Cola’s beneficial uses begins with the notation that in many states highway patrol officers carry two gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood stains from the road after an accident. While it can’t reanimate the dead, it does keep the freeways clean.

You might notice that I am being somewhat circumspect on how I write about one of the world’s most powerful companies because I have seen enough movies dramatizing the methods employed by giant corporations in dealing with their enemies. The very idea of being tortured by waterboarding in a tub full of Coke is, if not horrifying, not very pleasant either.

I offered the Coca Cola Company an opportunity to refute any of the Internet claims, but no one replied to my email. Can’t be bothered with some nut in L.A., I guess. I even told them I liked Coke and drink it even though it supposedly is powerful enough to clean a toilet.

My wise and knowledgeable Cinelli tried to wean me off the stuff but then concluded that if a lifetime of martinis hadn’t rotted my liver an occasional Coke probably wouldn’t either.

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According to the Internet mailing, a can of America’s Drink can also remove rust from chrome bumpers, loosen rusted bolts, remove grease from clothes, clean windshields, dissolve T-bone steaks or clean truck engines. I expected them to add that it doubles as a nasal spray, but they didn’t. Multi-functional it may be, but not that multi.

I have no idea if any of this is true. I handed a Coke to our housekeeper to use in the toilet but she looked at me as though I were muy loco, put the can aside and drank it later. I didn’t have a T-bone steak but I did have a bone-in rib eye which I put in a bowl of Coke to see if it would dissolve in two days as claimed.

However, Cinelli saw it and said I was not going to ruin a perfectly good piece of meat by soaking it in what she called chemicals, so she rescued it from the bowl, washed it off and prepared it that night for my dinner. I thought it tasted fizzy.

I suspect that a lot of products, including food, contain ingredients that are probably bad for us. Attention is called to their dangers occasionally when someone dies from ingesting a can of something. This is followed by a lot of outrage and Congressional fist shaking but no action. Hamburger sales may have dipped when mad cow disease was in the news but bounced right back when the furor died down.


I long ago decided that probably nothing was really good for me so it would be best if I had a martini and maybe some Fritos and let the rest of the world roll by, however unhealthy it might be. Let the skinny, water-drinking vegans fuss over their fluids. They just better hope scientists in the company labs aren’t working on a Cola of Mass Destruction. Coke bombs would get the health nuts first.

Al Martinez

Al Martinez on Everything Else

Al Martinezis a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Los Angeles Times, author of a dozen books, an Emmy-nominated creator of prime time television shows, a travel writer, humorist and general hell-raiser. Try him. He's addictive.

Republished with permission.