Ketchup is one of the most versatile condiments in your pantry right now. But you might be surprised to learn that its uses extend beyond food. Check out these 10 brilliant uses for ketchup that will 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 make everything shine again, apply a thin coat of ketchup to any pot that needs it. Leave on for five minutes, then rinse off with warm water. Ketchup’s acetic acid cuts through stubborn tarnish to reveal a bright shine.
2. Wipe away bug spray.
That exciting weekend drive you took has your car’s headlights and grille covered in nasty bug spray. The simple solution: cover the affected areas with ketchup and leave it on for 20 minutes so that the vinegar in the wort can break down the dirt that has stuck to it. Then take a soft bristle brush and scrub the area thoroughly 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 for it! For quick relief, apply some ketchup to the area and leave on for three minutes. Because ketchup is acidic, it changes the skin’s pH level, which helps minimize itching and irritation.
4. Offer toddler-friendly ‘colors’.
The little ones in your life love to paint with their fingers, but the youngest of the bunch still haven’t learned that the art medium is inedible. To ensure their safety when the others are busy creating something, give them some ketchup to work with. You’ll still be able to draw and doodle, and you’ll feel better knowing the “paint” is non-toxic.
5. Treat chlorine damaged hair.
If your hair is a drab shade of green after pool time, reach for ketchup. Apply a few spritzes to the curls and comb through to distribute them 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. Keep garden tools looking new.
To remove rust from trowels and hand rakes, try the following: Fill a spray bottle with water and add 2 tablespoons of borax. Spray on tools, then cover with a thick layer of ketchup. Leave for two hours. The chemical reaction between ketchup and borax dissolves the rust.
7. Let yourself be relieved of minor bumps.
If you accidentally bang your finger, holding a large freezer pack over it can be awkward. A better way: Freeze leftover (and unopened) packets of ketchup. The chilled spice provides instant relief and the size of the pack makes it easy to apply to small bumps and scrapes.
8. Conjure up a delicious sauce in no time at all.
Baby back ribs are always a hit at your Memorial Day party, but when you start making them you realize you run out of BBQ sauce left. The quick solution: make it yourself with ketchup as a base. Just combine 1⁄2 cup ketchup with 1⁄4 cup Worcestershire sauce, 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, and 1⁄2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco). The ketchup-based glaze has plenty of kick and helps tenderize the meat.
9. Distract pesky bees outside.
At this time of year, you and your family like to eat outdoors. The only problem? bees too! To keep them off your spread, put some ketchup on a paper plate and place it on a chair away from your table but close enough to the action. Bees like the corn syrup in ketchup, so they’ll reach for it instead of your food.
10. Show off a beautiful shine.
You don’t have to buy expensive products to achieve a glowing 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 ketchup help nourish skin while its acids provide a gentle chemical peel. The result? A smooth, radiant complexion for pennies.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First for women.