Man Takes Bath in 312 Cans of Pepsi Max. But Why?

A video of a man bathing in a tub filled with Pepsi Max has gotten a second life after going viral this week.

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Nate Nielsen posted the video of himself taking the bath in 312 cans of the low-calorie, sugar-free beverage on YouTube in late February, but at the time, it garnered only 700 views and a couple of comments. “I had forgotten about it; however, I woke up on Tuesday to 200 emails about the video,” Nielson told Yahoo! Shine. “Randomly, someone had posted it this week on Tumblr and it went totally viral.” Currently, the video has almost 90,000 views on Nielsen's YouTube channel and he's received calls from a television station about the stunt.

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At the time, Nate Nielsen, a 27-year-old who delivers fitness equipment in Salt Lake City, Utah, was working his normal shift when, in lieu of a tip, a customer offered him unique compensation. “He led me to a back room in his home where hundreds of 24-packs of Pepsi Max boxes lined the wall,” said Nielsen. “I had never seen anything like it.” The customer told Nielsen that he had won a poker game, but his opponent couldn’t afford to pay him, so instead, the man gave him 160 24-packs of soda. Eager to unload the beverages, the customer offered to give Nielsen and his delivery partner the entire supply, which the pair could split between them.

“I figured I could drink some, serve them at parties, or give them away to friends, so we spent an hour loading them into our truck,” said Nielsen. “On the way home, I had a crazy idea: What if I took a bath in a tub filled with Pepsi?”

Although Nielsen had never done anything like it before, the move wasn’t totally random. A self-described creative with an adventurous streak, he often films himself doing daredevil feats such as skydiving and zip lining. Back home, he carried 80 24-packs into the house, and announced his plan to his wife. “She thought I was crazy,” said Nielsen.

The following day, Nielsen spent an hour opening cans and pouring them into the tub. “My fingers hurt from flicking open each can,” he said. Nielsen filled the tub with soda from 312 cans, using 13 of the 80 24-packs, then got in.

According to a Salt Lake City Walmart, a 24-pack of Pepsi Max sells for $6.98; on Amazon, a 24-pack costs $39. So Nielsen’s bath could have cost anywhere from $90.74 to $507. That’s one expensive soak! 

“The bubbles felt pretty fizzy on my skin—similar to how it would feel sitting in a hot tub,” he said. “But because the liquid is black, I couldn’t see anything below the surface. When I lifted my hand out, it looked like I had a bad spray tan.” Then, Nielsen poured cans over his body and submerged himself under the liquid. “That was awful!” he said. “It was so painful having the carbonation get in my eyes, ears, and nose.” He also lathered up with soap, for effect.

After 10 minutes, Nielsen had had enough. “I got out and showered three times,” he said. “I also recycled the cans and boxes. I was pretty impressed that the Pepsi Max didn’t stain my skin or make it smell, or clog the toilet. So, I might even do it again, depending on whether or not people want an encore.” Yahoo! Shine couldn't reach a Pepsi Max spokesperson for comment.

So, what are the effects of bathing in Pepsi Max? Yahoo! Shine asked New York City-based dermatologist Kavita Mariwalla, M.D. to analyze the product ingredients. “The caffeine in the soda may have tightened his pores a bit—some antiaging products that minimize pores contain caffeine,” She told Yahoo! Shine. “Also, the caramel color could stain the skin and phosphoric acid is a drying agent, so he may need to moisturize after. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone bathe in soda, but the effects are likely minimal.”