Many people think it's an urban myth that you can clean pennies with hot sauce or taco sauce from
dell taco or taco bell. We wondered if it were true and decided to experiment! Well as it turns out
hot sauce does an awesome job when it comes to making dirty old pennies sparkle. Yup they
clean up like magic! Lets investigate how it works. We will learn about acids, oxides, tarnish, and
Watch The Hot Sauce (Taco Sauce) Penny Cleaner Experiment Video:
- Shabby old nasty tarnished pennies (pennies made before 1982 work best since they are made
of solid copper)
- Hot Sauce (Taco Sauce ) from Dell Taco or Taco Bell
- Paper Towels or Napkins
Process for Hot Sauce (Taco Sauce) Penny Cleaner
1) Go to Dell Taco or Taco Bell and order some tacos! Take home a few packets of the hot sauce /
taco sauce. You don't need the super hot. Mild sauces work fine as well.
2) Open the hot sauce / taco sauce packet.
3) Insert a few of the dirty pennies inside the pack.
4) Give them a little rub inside to make sure they have a good coating on all surfaces.
5) Let them sit in the packet for about 5 or 10 minutes.
6) Dump the contents of the hot sauce / taco sauce out onto the paper towel or napkin.
7) Wipe them off and check out how clean they are!
The Science Behind The Hot Sauce (Taco Sauce ) Penny Cleaner Experiment
When pennies are exposed to air over long periods of time a reaction occurs between the copper
in the penny and the oxygen in the air (oxide). The penny turns a dull greenish brown color often
referred to as tarnish. In order to remove the tarnish from the penny we need an acid to bond with
the oxide or tarnish. The bonding of the acid will dissolve or remove the oxide!
Taco sauce contains highly acidic vinegar and a fair amount of salt. The two ingredients combined
together create a chemical reaction when in contact with the tarnish or copper oxide on the penny.
The resulting reaction removes the copper oxide from the surface of the penny.
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