Did you know that 97% of kitchens in the United States contain a bottle of ketchup? It is one of the most popular condiments of all time and goes great with so many different dishes. However, in addition to its culinary applications, there are all kinds of other surprising uses for ketchup that many people have never heard of. In fact, before ketchup became famous as a food, it was sold as a medicine.
When Dr. John Cooke Bennet formulated the first ketchup recipe back in 1834, he claimed it cured all sorts of ailments.
While most of his claims don’t really hold much weight, there was one part of what he preached that is actually true — the fact that ketchup is incredibly versatile. From faking blood on movie sets to keeping your dog from smelling like a fox, these are the surprising uses for ketchup that you have never heard of but need to know. It’s time to bust out that bottle of Heinz and have some fun with it.
1. Correct blonde hair gone green.
Something everyone with blonde hair knows all too well is how chlorinated swimming pools can give your hair a green hue. Spend too much time soaking and you’re bound to end up affecting your luscious locks. However, don’t worry, ketchup can help with that. “For blonde hair that has gone green from chlorine or salt water, shampoo your hair as normal, then rinse tomato ketchup through your hair and leave it on for about 5 minutes,” says stylist Charles Worthington.
2. Shine your copper.
Copper cooking pans and other copper utensils can all be cleaned with ketchup. Massaging a little tomato sauce around the metal items will take them from dull-looking to sparkling like new. It will literally dissolve away years of tarnish in seconds. Pro tip: it works for silverware as well.
3. Use it for a kid’s painting project.
No, we aren’t talking about literally painting with ketchup. However, ketchup bottles do make perfect dispensers for homemade kid’s paint. The recipe is simple. All you need to do is combine equal parts flour, salt, and water. Then add in a couple of drops of food coloring and you’ll have instant paint. Keeping the homemade paint in a ketchup bottle makes it really easy for kids to squeeze it out later.
4. Or put pancake mix in the bottle.
Ketchup bottles are perfect for making pancakes. Just clean out the bottle and fill it up with your pancake mixture. It is an especially useful trick if you are trying to make silver dollar pancakes. The ketchup bottle makes squeezing out small uniform portions of the mixture really easy. This same strategy works for applying icing to cupcakes or cookies too. Just put the icing in a ketchup bottle.
5. Make fake blood.
Ketchup works surprisingly good as fake blood for Halloween costumes, plays, movies, and other school projects. Ketchup is just as authentic looking as any professional-grade fake blood. It even stains clothes, just like real blood does. Depending on the use, you might want to keep that in mind. For example, if you are playing a practical joke on a friend and they are wearing a white shirt, ketchup might not be the best choice.
6. Turn ketchup packets into ice packs.
Those little ketchup packets that restaurants and fast food places give out with the meals can also be used as instant ice packs. If you pop them in the freezer, they freeze really quick. Depending on how big of an injury you have, it might take more than one frozen ketchup packet to get the job done.
7. Get rid of skunk smell.
If you have had the unfortunate experience of being skunked, many people swear by ketchup for getting rid of the smell. Take a shower in the tasty tomato sauce and the skunk odor should totally disappear. It’s best if you let it soak in for a while before washing it off.
8. Clean up a smelly dog.
There’s no denying that dogs can start to stink after playing outside for a while. Sometimes they even do crazy things like rolling around in other animal’s poop. They love doing this with fox poop — an activity that is sure to leave a strong odor. However, just like with skunk smell, if you give your dog a ketchup bath they will come out smelling nice and fresh after. Massage the ketchup into the pup’s fur and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing.
9. Revamp tarnished jewelry.
Soaking your silver necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and other jewelry items in a ketchup bath is a great way to make them shine again. It can do wonders for old tarnished pieces. The ketchup will have the items looking brand new in no time. It should only take a few minutes of soaking.
10. Cook with it.
Many people just view ketchup as a simple condiment. However, it also has tons of other great cooking uses. For example, you can add it to a chicken tikka masala curry to sweeten it up a little bit. Or you can use ketchup to marinade meats like steak and chicken. This marinade recipe is made up of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and a few other ingredients.
11. Make a natural face scrub.
Applying ketchup to your face is probably the last thing you would ever think of doing. However, it actually is very effective as an exfoliator. Mix a tablespoon of ketchup together with three packets of artificial sugar and rub it into your face. After you wash it off, your skin will be smoother than ever.
12. Help prevent cancer.
Remember how we said that back in the 1800s ketchup was originally used as a medicine? Well, it turns out it wasn’t the worst medicine ever. Ketchup contains copious amounts of lycopene, it’s what gives ketchup its red color. However, the unique pigment is suggested to help to cut your risk of cancer by as much as 34% if consumed regularly.
13. Revitalize tarnished car parts.
In addition to silver jewelry and copper pots, there are all sorts of other metals that ketchup can save. For example, it’s great for revitalizing tarnished wheel alloys on cars and other automotive parts. An occasional ketchup polish will keep the rims on your vehicle shining beautifully.
14. Save the bottle for crafts.
Ketchup bottles and other jars can be used for tons of different DIY craft items. If you need some inspiration, feel free to check out Pinterest for some ideas. Our favorite one is this cool ketchup bottle bird feeder.
15. Use it as shaving cream.
For a number of reasons, ketchup probably isn’t ideal as a longterm shaving solution. However, if you are in a crunch, it can be used as a safe and effective alternative to traditional shaving cream. It can be applied to any spot on the body that you would normally shave including your face, armpits, and legs.
16. Soothe insect bites.
Mosquitos are the worst. Next time you encounter one of these pesky insects, try rubbing ketchup on the bite. It also works for soothing other types of insect bites like those from bees and spiders. It won’t stop the swelling but it will fight the itchiness and soreness, and keep it from getting out of control.
17. Eliminate rust on garden furniture.
Ketchup will easily remove all of that unsightly rust that forms on garden furniture over time. Rub a little dab on the rusted areas of your chairs and tables and then spray them off with a hose. Either that or wait for the next rainfall to take care of it. Your rust problems will simply wash away.
Ketchup is pretty amazing. We were so intrigued when we first discovered how many different ways it could be used, as well as its fascinating origin story as a medicine. While it’s not exactly the cure-all that it was once advertised to be, it is definitely pretty cool.
Yes, we know that technically, ketchup is just a mix of tomatoes, vinegar, and assorted spices, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is one of the most useful condiments ever created.
Check out the video below to learn more about the history of ketchup and its various uses.
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