10 Surprising Uses for Ketchup (It’s not just for your fries!)
Who knew that a simple condiment could have so many uses! Here’s a list of uses for ketchup that you probably never thought of before. It’s not just for dipping your fries in!
You dip your French fries in it.
You squirt it on your hot dogs and hamburgers.
And if you are a frequent fast-food drive-thru visitor, you probably have packs of it laying around your kitchen and piling up in your car’s glove compartment.
Ketchup is an inexpensive and quite common condiment, but it has more uses than just for adding flavor to your favorite foods.
Keep reading for 10 surprising uses for ketchup that you probably never thought of before!
When was ketchup invented?
You may be surprised to learn (or not) that ketchup originated in China and started out as a pickled fish sauce. The word ketchup is derived from the Chinese word ke-tsiap which means “a pickled fish sauce”. It was mainly used to season dishes versus being used as a condiment.
Also surprising – there were no tomatoes in the recipe.
Years later, in 1801, Sandy Addison published a recipe for ketchup in The Sugar House Book in which she made ketchup using tomatoes.
From The Spruce Eats: The recipe called for squeezing the tomatoes dry and then salting and boiling them. After pressing through a sieve, the tomato is combined with mace, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper to taste. It is then boiled until thick, cooled, and bottled. The bottled ketchup will last for several years, due to the amount of salt, which also made the ketchup taste, you guessed it, very salty.
So ketchup went from being a pickled fish sauce to a condiment most enjoyed with Chick-fil-A fries. Crazy, isn’t it?
Ketchup as medicine?
Here’s a fun ketchup fact for you.
Dr. John Cooke Bennet believed that adding tomatoes to ketchup could cure diarrhea, indigestion, jaundice, and rheumatism. He even had his sauce turned into pills!
Did ketchup really cure these ailments? Are you taking ketchup pills to cure your indigestion? I didn’t think so.
10 Surprising Uses for Ketchup
1. Soothe insect bites
No matter where I go if there’s a mosquito nearby you can bet it’s going to find me and bite me. And those bites itch so bad! However, applying a little bit of ketchup to the affected area will soothe some of the irritation from mosquito bites. It’s said to also work on bee stings.
2. Remove stuck on bugs from headlights
I’m sure you’ve had quite a few bugs stuck to your car’s headlights or grill at some point. If you do happen to notice them, grab the ketchup bottle and apply some to your headlights. Leave it on for about 15 minutes, then scrub it really good with a scrub brush and rinse clean. Those bugs should come right off!
3. Loosen burt-on food from cookware
There’s nothing more frustrating than when you’re washing dishes at the end of a long day only to find out that part of your dinner is stuck to the pan and isn’t coming off. Instead of getting frustrated, try putting some ketchup on the burnt-on spots and let it sit overnight. The acid in the ketchup will help break down the stubborn areas so the pan can be washed easily the next day.
4. Shine car rims
Don’t pay extra to have your car detailed to get those shiny rims that look like new. Instead, spread some ketchup over your rims and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then wipe with a clean, dry cloth rag and rinse with water. Your rims will be bright and shiny!
5. Restore dull jewelry
Has your gold jewelry lost it’s shine? Just rub a little bit of ketchup over it and let it sit for about 15 minutes, then rinse and wipe clean. The ketchup should help restore it to it’s former beauty.
6. Buff silver or brass
If you run out of polish and need to polish your sliver or brass fixtures or accessories, don’t worry. Just grab the ketchup! Apply a layer of ketchup to the fixtures and let sit for 10 – 15 minutes before wiping clean.
7. Remove rust from cast iron
Cast iron pots and pans can develop rust that can be somewhat hard to clean. To remove rust from cast iron, just cover it in ketchup and let it sit for about 15 minutes, then scrub it with a wire brush. Since tomato ketchup is acidic, it will actually dissolve the rust!
8. Use as a facial scrub
Create your own facial scrub with ketchup and artificial sweetener. The acidity in ketchup helps to exfoliate and the antioxidants from the tomatoes help soothe inflammation. Using artificial sweeteners is better than plain white sugar because the granules are less abrasive, which is better for the sensitive skin on your face. However, if you have very sensitive skin, this probably isn’t for you. Test a small area before applying to your entire face just in case.
9. Fix green hair
I’m not a blonde, but I have had blonde friends who’ve had their hair turn green after they’ve been in the pool. The green color is actually caused by a reaction between the copper and chlorine in pool water. If this happens to you, just squirt some ketchup in your hair, wrap it up in a shower cap, and let it sit for about half an hour. Then rinse and shampoo as usual. The ketchup works by neutralizing the green in your hair.
10. Use as a mini ice pack
Place the extra ketchup packs you get from restaurants in your freezer. If you get a small burn from a grease splatter or your child skins their knee, just place a frozen ketchup packet on the hurt area.
Bonus tip: Save the bottles!
Save and reuse the ketchup bottles! When you’re done with the ketchup, clean out the bottle and save it. Some great uses for ketchup bottles include:
- Making paint: Mix equal parts flour, salt, and water in bowl and blend until smooth. Then add a few drops of food coloring and stir. Pour your mixture into a squeeze ketchup bottle and you have kid-safe paint!
- Making pancakes: Fill a sqeezable ketchup bottle with pancake mix to create perfect, mess-free pancakes.
- Go bowling: Paint ketchup bottles however you wish and set them up as bowling pins. Use a small ball as the bowling ball.
- Refill with homemade condiments: Save your ketchup bottles to refill with condiments you make yourself, such as BBQ sauce, marinades, or salad dressings.
- Homemade lotion container: Make your own lotion using safer ingredients and store it in a ketchup bottle for easy access.
What are some of your favorite uses for ketchup, besides eating?
63 thoughts on “10 Surprising Uses for Ketchup (It’s not just for your fries!)”
great tips! Never knew ketchup had so many uses! <3
Isn’t that cool? Thank you for reading!
Wow! Very informative! Who knew ketchup did all that? I didn’t.
Hope I have one around me next time I get an insect bite.
Isn’t it crazy how many uses ketchup actually has? Thanks for reading!
Thank you for the brief history and tips about ketchup. I didn’t know it had somany uses.
It’s crazy how many things it can be used for. Kinda neat!
Nice tips using catsup. Thanks for the share.
Thank you so much!
Who knew? It’s a green hair solution 🙂 The only thing I used it for is fries and scrambled eggs, love ketchup on both.
Haha! I love it on my scrambled eggs, too!!
Wow! So interesting. Thanks for sharing the history on ketchup and these amazing uses. I would never have guessed!!
Thank you! I’m one of those nerds that finds history interesting on weird things. Haha!!
Heinz Tomato Ketchup is no longer available in South Africa ? I don’t know what we’re going to put on our fish finger sarnies now, we don’t like any of the local brands. I’ve always used HP Sauce (brown sauce) for cleaning silver and jewelry, though!
Oh no! I wonder why? That’s cool that HP Sauce works on silver and jewelry!
I hate ketchup and its smell so I don’t even use it on my fries. I can, however, attest in its effectiveness for green hair – my 5 year old niece gets the treatment twice a summer since swimming turns her golden her green.
Oh no! Well I’m glad ketchup works for her hair! ?
How rad! Can’t wait to try these! (Back in my punk/street kid days, we used to make soup from ketchup and Taco Bell sauce packets. Yep, it’s as awful as it sounds *laugh*)
Sounds delicious! Haha!! ?
I love this! I’m definitely going to try to use Ketchup to loosen burnt food from my cookware. ??
Great!! I’m glad you enjoyed these tips!
Those are fun tips!!!!
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed them!
How fascinating, we have a Heinz plant in the next town from my house! I love to drive by when they are processing the tomatoes, smells so good!
That’s so neat!! I bet it does smell good. I can only imagine what it smells like inside!
I didn’t know before your blog that, we can use ketchup in different ways specially as facial and getting back beauty of gold jewellery. Thank you for your useful tips ☺️☺️?!
You’re welcome! I’m glad you found these tips helpful. And thank you so much for reading!
??❤️❣️????My pleasure . God bless you ?☺️
Wow! I am amazed.
It’s crazy how many things ketchup can be used for! ?
Woahh I had no idea about any of these!!
Isn’t it crazy what ketchup can do? Lol!
Haha these are good!! Never would’ve thought about ketchup being a good cleaning (polish) agent but with it being acidic that makes sense! Thanks for sharing these tips Michelle!!!
I never would have thought that either, but it does have vinegar in it and I love cleaning with vinegar. Haha!
Wow! Who knew? Blessings, Michelle!
Thank you!! ❤️
OMG! You are like a total GENIUS!!! Definitely need to save this because YES, My daughter’s hair turned green and it cost her big$$ to fix! Also, so many awesome uses for the bottle! Thank you! Pinning for sure!
Oh no! I’m sure she wasn’t too happy about having green hair! Thank you so much for reading and pinning!
I didn’t know that a bit of ketchup on a bug bite would make it itch less! I’m going to try that next time.
Yes, give it a try! I’m always getting bit and I was surprised to find out that ketchup actually helped. ?
I never realized that ketchup was so versatile.
Yes, it’s crazy how many uses it actually has! So start saving those packs! LOL
I have only recently discovered the brass polishing effects of ketchup. I used it on my brass fireplace once I’d redecorated my lounge. And I really do need to use it on my front door!
That’s so cool! Thank you for sharing that! I have some brass pieces on my windows that need polishing, but I just need to find time to do it. lol!
Interesting. The original recipe you shared doesn’t have any sugar in it.
I thought that was interesting, too!
Yeah, it is like sugar was added to EVERYTHING only “recently”.
The best ketchup I’ve ever had was homemade. The recipe came from the ball blue book. You can find it online.
That’s neat!! Thank you for sharing! I’ll have to see if I can find it and try it out. 🙂
I don’t actually like ketchup, but it’s interesting to learn that it has so many uses other than eating! If I ever end up with a bottle of ketchup I will definitely try out some of these things!
I’m not a huge ketchup fan, either, so it’s great that it can be used for so much more than eating! 😀
Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you so much!
Great ideas. I’m one of those who has suffered through several weeks of greenish-tinged hair.
Thank you! Oh no!!
Oh my goodness, Michelle! I had no idea ketchup had so many uses. Although I’m not a fan of eating it, keeping it around the house may not be such a bad idea, hah! I love how you create these posts where you find all the uses for different things that most people would never think of. It’s brilliant!
We pretty much only cook with cast iron around here. Rust is a definite issue. When I read that ketchup could take care of that, I was amazed! We will be trying this soon! 🙂
I also love that it gets rid of stuck on food from dishes. We don’t have a dishwasher here, so just like you said, sometimes you just don’t feel like scrubbing as if your life depended on it. It makes sense that the acidity would loosen the burnt on mess. Huh, who would have thunk it…
Great ideas for saving the bottles too. You really did think of everything! Awesome post, Michelle. I’ve shared so other people can learn the wonders of ketchup! Sending so much love and many many hugs your way. Love you, friend! ❤️
Hi Michelle! This is great info! I love these posts with all the different uses for common items. I can’t eat ketchup due to the fact I can’t eat tomatoes, but I might decide to keep some around for cleaning. Do you know if it would be good for cleaning copper too? I have some antique copper that has some blackened areas from use on the old wood stoves, and it needs to be cleaned up. Have a great day!😃😺🌞
Thank you! I’m glad you enjoy these posts. I’ll keep that in mind for future posts. 🙂 I have read that ketchup works on cleaning copper so you can definitely give it a try!
That sounds great, now I need to get some ketchup and see how it works. Thanks Michelle, enjoy your day!😃😺☕☕
I’m pinning this, Michelle. So many uses I had no idea about!
Thank you so much for pinning! It’s amazing how many things ketchup can be used for.