What Happens When Bleach Is Added To Cola?

January 16, 2016 | by Tom Hale

Photo credit: CrazyRussianHacker/YouTube screenshot

You’ve probably seen the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment a thousand and one times on YouTube. So now, it’s time for the inevitable next step in scientific exploration: Coca Cola plus bleach.

In the short video below by YouTuber CrazyRussianHacker, bleach is added to Coca Cola and then stirred for a few minutes. Although it’s far from the explosive reaction of Mentos, the reaction is pretty interesting nonetheless.

But what exactly is going on, chemically speaking? Bleach breaks the chemical bonds between oxygen atoms in a process called oxidation. This process releases oxygen molecules that break up the chemical bonds of chromophores – groups of atoms and electrons that absorb or reflect certain light wavelengths and give organic molecules their color. After changing this chromophore structure, the molecules are no longer able to absorb visible light, making the liquid appear white or clear.