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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!

uses for ketchup

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?

Looking for more home hacks? Check these out:

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Thank you for sharing!