Ketchup doesn't get enough kudos for all that it can do. It lends all of its tangy/salty/sweet/spicy goodness to everything from breakfast hash browns to late-night burgers, and it has uses outside the kitchen, too. The salt and acid in simple ketchup works to break down certain types of stains, making it a surprisingly versatile addition to your cleaning arsenal!
Use ketchup to restore the shine to your favorite silver jewelry. Cover silver with a layer of ketchup and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse. However, be sure to restrict this strategy to silver jewelry, not gold.
Loosen Stuck-on Stains
After a meal of a delicious burger, use some of the leftover condiment to remove any meat that's still clinging to the pan. Ketchup will help loosen and remove baked-on food spots in your pots and pans. Pour a little of the stuff over the affected area and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then you can scrub it away with the same sponge you use to clean the rest of the dishes.
Rid Metal of Rust
Just as ketchup will remove the layer of oxidation that tarnishes copper, it will have a similar effect on rusted metal. Now, ketchup alone is no match for severe rust damage. But for minor rust spots on things like outdoor furniture, the condiment can be surprisingly effective. Use a brush to smear ketchup over rust spots and let them sit for 30 minutes before scrubbing with a brush and rinsing.
Ketchup can be used to improve the appearance of copper. Discolored spots on copper surfaces are caused by oxidation after the metal is exposed to air and water. The salt and vinegar in ketchup may help remove that layer of oxidation. Use a cloth to rub ketchup all over tarnished copper surfaces and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing and buffing with a dry cloth.
Make Silver Shine
Using ketchup is an effective way to make silver pots and pans gleam. It can also be used to restore the shine to silverware and other decorative silver objects. If you're looking for a safe and non-toxic way to restore dull silver, this is a good one.
Remove Green From Hair
If you're blonde and love to swim, there's a good chance you've noticed that your hair occasionally gets an unsightly green tinge. It happens when chlorine bonds with the copper in a swimming pool. Some swimmers swear by ketchup as a solution for the lingering green tint. Try washing your hair and then combing ketchup through the affected sections. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing.
DIY Ice Packs
Any semi-frequent fast-food customer knows that ketchup packets can accumulate in your kitchen drawers and car's cup holders. Stick them in the freezer to use as miniature ice packs for minor issues. A single frozen packet is just the right size to use on a bug bite or minor bump. When the ache is gone, wash the packet and toss it right back in the freezer for the next time.
Clean Pennies for Projects
Turning money into an art project can actually save you money, if it means you don't have to buy other decorative items. Use pennies to decorate wooden letters for a wall sign, or to create a backsplash in place of tile. Blackened coins won't create the right effect, so you'll probably have to make some darkened pennies shine bright again. Submerge them in ketchup for a few hours to remove some of the discoloration.
Kid-Friendly Finger Paint
What kid doesn't love to play with their food? If you have kids in your life who love ketchup, they're probably already inclined to drag their fingers through it. Encourage kids to practice their spelling or math by squirting ketchup all over a hard surface and letting them write in it. They might eat a little, but hey, it's safer than letting them eat real finger paint.
Sneak It Into Strange Recipes
There are plenty of unusual ways to use ketchup that don't have anything to do with cleaning. If you just really love ketchup and want more ways to eat it, try expanding your culinary repertoire. Use ketchup and hot sauce instead of mayonnaise as the dressing for coleslaw, making the final version sweet and smoky. Ketchup can also be used in salad dressing, to make pickles and even as a substitute for tamarind in dishes like pad thai.