How to Clean With Condiments

Woman's finger pointing at copper kettle

The Spruce

A closet full of cleaning products, yet nothing works—we’ve all been there. If you’ve exhausted all options and lost all hope, these weird hacks work in a pinch, and all you need are a few common ingredients from your fridge. Yes, the condiments you use on your favorite meals can help clean cookware, utensils, and other spaces in your home. Read on to learn more about these hacks and watch them in action in the video below.

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Watch Now: The Secret to Cleaning With Condiments

Clean Tarnished Copper With Ketchup

Is the finish on your favorite copper kettle looking a little lackluster? Don’t stress! It’s easier than you think to get it shining bright again. Rather than buying a specialty cleanser you’ll use once or twice a year, all you have to do is open the fridge. It may come as a surprise, but one of the best ingredients for cleaning copper is ketchup.

This condiment works like magic against the tarnish and grime that accumulates on your favorite copper cookware and cooking utensils. The steps are simple: Squirt a bit of ketchup onto a clean cloth and rub in circles to remove the tarnish. Keep going until you see the shiny finish reappear. 

The acetic acid in ketchup is the magic ingredient behind why this trick works so well. The acid lifts the tarnish and leaves you with an item that looks good as new!

Two hands wiping a copper kettle

Clean Crayon With Mayo

If your wooden coffee table or floor has served as the canvas for your little one’s crayon masterpieces—you’ll love this hack. All you need to get started is a jar of mayo. Yes, we know it sounds weird and kind of gross, but trust us!

Squirt a dollop of mayo onto the affected area and rub in circles with a cloth until the crayon vanishes. The oils in the mayonnaise are what helps disintegrate the crayon, due to the lipophilicity of the wax. Lipophilicity is the ability for something to dissolve in substances like oils, fats, and lipids. Because mayo is oil-based, it stands to reason that a wax-based crayon would come off easily when confronted with this condiment. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with how easily the crayon comes off!

Hand wiping crayon off of wood cutting board

Clean Crusty Dishes With Vinegar

We’ve all been there: We make a meal, get tired, and leave the dishes to accumulate in the sink for a night (or three). Once you finally find the time to get your dinnerware and cookware back into shape, it’s likely they’re crusted over with a film you don’t want to touch. To avoid an intensive scrubbing session, vinegar is your go-to.

Pour about two tablespoons onto the dish, pan, or pot and let it soak for several minutes. Then take the scrubbing side of your sponge and begin tackling that crustified food. Within minutes you’ll find the mess gone and your dishes clean and sparkling. 

Woman pointing at dirty bowl

Still looking for some great cleaning hacks? We have you covered on removing everything from candle wax stuck on your carpet to pen ink on your new pair of jeans. Keep your eye out for more "One Thing" videos for the best hacks, tips, and home advice.