We Finally Know If Tapping On A Soda Can Prevents It From Fizzing Over

Hearing that effervescent hiss when you open canned soda is always a pleasure as your senses begin to anticipate what's coming next. You can almost taste the fizzy sweetness before it ever hits your tongue. But if that soda was shaken recently, watch out. Before you know it, the liquid gushes out the top of the can as it's opened, and you are suddenly wearing that bubbly nectar.

It is a common belief that when you tap the top or bottom of a can of soda, it prevents its inner contents from being blown out after opening. Some view this theory as on par with knocking on wood or avoiding walking under a ladder; a superstition with no basis in reality. But people have tested this assumption throughout the years and, to the surprise of many, it actually works. 

There is some debate over exactly how effective this method of preventing canned soda from ejecting into your face is, but it is at least somewhat effective. It may not always work out perfectly, but generally, it is helpful to tap the soda and help calm down your favorite beverage. Tapping a canned beverage before you open it adjusts the tiny bubbles within the can, which helps them behave as you crack it open for a drink.

It works...sometimes

It's helpful to know what's going on inside the can of soda to understand why tapping works. Carbonated beverages like canned soda contain carbon dioxide, which forms small gas bubbles within your drink. When the beverage opens, those bubbles want to rush out of the can. Any liquid in their way as they attempt to escape will be carried with them, and might result in a misty mishap. 

The act of tapping the can dislodge carbon dioxide bubbles that get trapped along the sides and bottom of the can. Those bubbles rise to the top of the can, and when it opens, they get released without displacing the liquid underneath them. It's important to note, however, that this method is not guaranteed to work every time; if your canned soda has been shaken recently, a few taps probably aren't going to be enough to settle your beverage. It's been suggested that you may need to give the soda can a little extra attention to displace those bubbles.

Another way to prevent a syrupy disaster

Another theory that has gained popularity as of late is that spinning the can on a level surface or massaging the sides can move those bubbles trapped along the edges of the can up to the top. When some first hear about this approach, they think someone is pulling their leg, but it holds water. Just as tapping the can will move some of the carbon dioxide bubbles to the top of the can, these methods can produce a similar result, and possibly more effectively as you're giving it more attention (and time to settle) than just a few quick taps would.

The tapping technique for calming a canned beverage may be effective, but the surefire way to ensure you remain dry as you open a tantalizing beverage is to let it sit and settle on its own. While some argue that different types of soda do better with this hack than others, if the beverage has been violently shaken, tapping the can probably isn't going to save you from a wet, sticky fate. Some things, like baking a cake, simply won't be rushed. That canned soda needs some time and patience before you dive in, but if you can't wait, proudly tap on the can confidently, knowing it will at least reduce some chance of disaster.