Does Tapping The Top Of Your Can Actually Do Anything?

Nothing ruins a beer or soda quite like shaking it. The solution? Simply tap the lid with your fingernail a few times and presto — you're no longer wearing your drink. This seemingly magic way of preventing liquid from fizzing everywhere is so ingrained in many of us that it's almost a reflex to tap a can before opening it.

But perhaps you've tried this and found that it didn't work particularly well. Why would a few taps on the side or lid prevent a carbonated can from exploding anyway? Spoiler alert: Tapping probably won't make much difference at all. 

Science says the tapping the can trick is bogus

Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark set out to put this drink hack's merit through the wringer and tested 1,000 cans of beer (via CNN). They ultimate concluded that tapping the can produced "no evidence to support the hypothesized beer-saving effect."

The 1,000 cans of beer were separated into four different groups: those that were unshaken/untapped, unshaken/tapped, shaken/untapped, and shaken/tapped. As for the shaking of the cans, the team used a machine to shake them for two minutes to produce the effect of riding a bicycle and transporting the beer. 

The cans were tapped three times on their side a minute after being shaken and were then opened. Unfortunately, the faulty drink-saving tip only resulted in a lot of wasted beer fizzing out the top of the cans. 

Why is tapping a can supposed to work?

The idea behind this carbonated myth is that tapping will break up the bubbles in your drink before the can is opened. Any carbonated beverage is going to have carbon dioxide in it, and the sealed lid stops this gas from leaking out (via LiveScience). When the can or bottle is shaken, though, you're adding energy to that gas and lots of bubbles form inside. The second that drink is opened, the pressure is released and the bubbles increase in size and gush out of the can. Tapping the can to disrupt those bubbles ahead of time sounds like a great idea, but we now know that it doesn't actually have any effect, and the result is that you're standing around looking like a thirsty dork at the party. 

Now you could stop drinking soda altogether, but the best solution to preventing your beverage from gushing everywhere is going to be setting it aside and waiting for those bubbles to disperse on their own. Sorry, but sometimes a little patience goes a long way in avoiding an unnecessary mess.