How Safe Is the Acid In Tang and Coke?

I don’t know what you’ve been drinking, but there are plenty of riskier beverages out there than Tang and Coke.

I’d be concerned about this particular duo only if my stomach were made of soap scum or rust. Just because a chemical does something to one substance doesn’t mean it’ll do the same thing to another substance.

That’s what keeps chemists so busy.

It is undoubtedly the citric acid in Tang, Gatorade, and other fruit drinks that dissolves the calcium salts in dishwasher grunge. But it’s also citric acid that gives us that nice, tart, well, tang. Citric acid is, of course, a perfectly natural and harmless component of citrus fruits. You could probably clean your dishwasher as well by running it on lemonade.

The phosphoric acid in Coca-Cola can dissolve iron oxide (rust). There’s nothing special about tennis net cranks, however, except that their rust films are likely to be rather thin because of frequent use.

I wouldn’t try to rejuvenate a rusty old lawn mower by throwing it into a vat of Coca-Cola.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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