13 Surprising Uses for Ketchup Around the Home


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One of America's favorite condiments can be used for much more than dipping French fries. Ketchup, which most of us have on hand, can be used to clean lots of things around the house.

Almost all ketchup recipes contain vinegar and the acetic acid in vinegar works as a mild cleaner to cut through different types of grime. Even the tomatoes contain a bit of citric acid like lemons that can aid in cleaning. The brand and price don't matter. The generic brands work great for cleaning.

As with any cleaner, before you tackle an entire project, test a bit of ketchup on a small spot first to see how well it works for your task.

Fun Facts

  • Ketchup can be found in 97% of American homes.
  • National Ketchup Day is celebrated on June 5th.
  • Each man, woman, and child in America consumes about three bottles of ketchup each year.

Make Silver Gleam

It's frustrating when you grab your favorite sterling silver bracelet to wear only to find that it is tarnished and you're out of silver polish. Reach for the ketchup. Apply a dollop of ketchup to a soft cloth and spread it on the bracelet and rub away. Rinse well and dry with a soft cloth. If the tarnish is exceptionally heavy, spread on the ketchup and let it work for about 15 minutes before polishing.

Loosen Burned-on Food

If you've forgotten a pot on the stove and allowed the food to burn, ketchup can help ease the scrubbing and save some elbow grease. Cover the burned food liberally with ketchup. Cover the pot and allow it to sit overnight. The acids will help loosen the food from the metal and then you can wash and rinse more easily.

Polish Copper Kitchenware

Copper pots, pans, and kettles are beautiful and preferred by many chefs. However, they can easily tarnish. Spread a layer of ketchup over the copper and let it work for 10 minutes. Rub with a soft cloth and rinse well. If the tarnish is especially heavy, sprinkle a heavy layer of salt over the ketchup before you begin to polish. The mild abrasive action of the salt will help remove the tarnish.


3 Condiments You Can Clean With

Soothe a Boo-Boo

Most of us have some little packages of ketchup from fast-food orders lying in a drawer. Keep them in the freezer to make mini-ice packs. The ketchup won't freeze as hard as an ice cube and will mold around a kid's skinned knee or an arm with an insect bite.

Buff Brass

Brass hardware on cabinets and doors and brass accessories like candlesticks and bowls can shine after a ketchup cleaning. Spread on a layer of ketchup and let it work for 10 minutes. Rub with a soft cloth and rinse well. Dry with a soft cloth.

Banish Bugs

If your car headlights, grille, and bumpers are coated with hard-to-remove bugs, it's ketchup to the rescue. Coat the affected areas with ketchup and let it work for at least 15 minutes. Grab a soft-bristled scrub brush and give the area a good cleaning. Rinse well and buff dry.

Remove Rust From Metal

Kitchen utensils, outdoor furniture, and garden tools can develop small rust spots. Apply a thick layer of ketchup and let it sit for 30 minutes. Rub with a soft cloth and rinse well. This solution works best on small spots of rust, not on metal that is covered completely or corroded with rust.

Shine Stainless Steel

Stainless steel appliances and utensils often get unsightly water spots. Squirt a bit of ketchup on a soft cloth and polish away on the metal. Finish by rinsing with a damp cloth and then buff dry with a soft cloth.

De-Skunk Dogs

When your dog encounters a rather startled or angry skunk (you'll know when it happens), you'll want to get rid of the odor as soon as possible. Many folks swear by tomato juice as a good odor remover but a coating of ketchup on the fur will work just as well. The lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, in the tomatoes along with the vitamins A, C, and K are even good for Fido's skin!

Recycle Those Ketchup Bottles

After you have everything in your home, garden, and garage shined up and Fido smelling sweet, don't toss our those ketchup squirt bottles.

  • Rinse well and use one to create the perfect dispenser for pancake batter or cupcake icing. The bottle is easy to manage and prevents lots of drips.
  • The bottles are also perfect as a paint dispenser for kids' fingerpaints or glue. Just be sure to label each container appropriately!
  • Finally, if you really love ketchup. Save up 10 bottles the same size, fill them with a bit of sand or rice, and create an indoor bowling game for the kids.