Ketchup is one of the most versatile condiment sitting in your pantry right now. But, you might be surprised to learn that it’s uses go beyond food. Take a look at these 10 brilliant uses for ketchup, which help make everyday tasks a breeze!
1. Revitalize copper cookware.
You love how quickly your copper pots heat up and cool down, but it’s frustrating that they tarnish so easily. To get everything gleaming again, apply a thin layer of ketchup onto each pot that needs it. Let sit for five minutes, then rinse off with warm water. Ketchup’s acetic acid cuts through the stubborn tarnish to reveal a bright shine.
2. Wipe away insect splatters.
The exciting weekend road trip you took left your car headlights and grille covered with gross bug splatters. The simple fix: Cover the affected areas with ketchup and let sit for 20 minutes, allowing the vinegar in the condiment to break down the stuck-on gunk. Then grab a soft bristled brush and give the area a good scrub before rinsing well with water and buffing dry.
3. Stop a bite from itching.
Your afternoon hike felt great — if only you didn’t have itchy mosquito bites to show for it! For quick relief, apply a bit of ketchup to the spot and leave on for three minutes. Since ketchup is acidic, it alters the pH of the skin, which helps to minimize itch and irritation.
4. Offer toddler-friendly ‘paint’.
The little ones in your life love to finger-paint, but the youngest in the bunch still haven’t learned that the art medium isn’t edible. To ensure their safety when the others are busy creating, give them some ketchup to work with. They’ll still be able to draw and doodle, and you’ll feel better knowing the “paint” is nontoxic.
5. Treat chlorine-damaged hair.
If pool time has left your hair a murky shade of green, reach for ketchup. Apply a few squirts to locks, combing it in to distribute evenly. Leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse and shampoo as usual. The citric acid neutralizes copper-oxide deposits from chlorine that cause hair discoloration.
6. Make garden tools look new.
To nix rust from trowels and hand rakes, try this: Fill a spray bottle with water and add 2 tablespoons of borax. Spray onto tools, then cover with a thick layer of ketchup. Leave for two hours. The chemical reaction between the ketchup and borax dissolves the rust.
7. Get relief for minor bumps.
When you accidentally bang your finger, holding a large freezer pack over it can be cumbersome. A better way: Freeze leftover (and unopened) ketchup packets. The chilled condiment will provide instant relief, and the size of the packet will make it easier to apply to small bumps and scrapes.
8. Whip up a tasty sauce on the fly.
Baby back ribs are always a hit at your Memorial Day bash, but when you start to prep them, you discover you don’t have enough BBQ sauce left. The quick solution: Make your own with ketchup as the base. Simply combine 1⁄2 cup of ketchup with 1⁄4 cup of Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, and 1⁄2 teaspoon of hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco). The ketchupbased glaze will have plenty of kick, plus it will help tenderize the meat.
9. Distract pesky bees outside.
This time of year, you and your family love to dine alfresco. The only problem? So do bees! To keep them away from your spread, put some ketchup on a paper plate and place it on a chair pushed away from your table but close enough to the action. Bees like the corn syrup in the ketchup, so they’ll go after that instead of your food.
10. Reveal a beautiful glow.
No need to buy pricey products to achieve a radiant complexion. Simply apply a thin layer of ketchup to your face, leave on for 15 minutes while you relax, then rinse off with water. Antioxidants in the ketchup help nourish skin, while its acids provide gentle chemical exfoliation. The result? A smooth, glowing complexion for pennies.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.