I have always loved condiments. Ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, relish—all are welcome at my table (and on my plate). But until recently, I never looked beyond the edible to see what else these tasty condiments might be able to accomplish. As it turns out, ketchup also has quite the non-edible resume! Learn about seven surprising uses for ketchup that may have you rethinking this common condiment.

1. Clean and shine copper, gold, or brass (or any metal)

Ketchup costs just a fraction of what expensive metal cleaners will run you. And it works just as well (or even better considering how good it feels to achieve something expensive so cheaply)!

What to do:

  1. Squeeze out some ketchup onto the tarnished item.
  2. Using your hands, spread the ketchup over the whole surface.
  3. Let the ketchup sit for another 60 seconds.
  4. Using a soft rag, wipe off the excess ketchup.
  5. Now buff up the surface of the item until it shines.

Note: This also works very well if you need to shine up auto parts or silver jewelry!

2. Get the green and the chlorine out

If you have ever experienced the horror that is post-chlorine, green-blonde hair, you will never forget this handy trick. As luck would have it, that same condiment sold at many poolside snack stands is the perfect antidote to chlorine's effect on blonde hair.

What to do:

  1. Stand under the shower and get your hair completely damp.
  2. Instead of shampoo, squirt on ketchup.
  3. Work the ketchup into the hair down to the roots and out to the ends.
  4. Wait for 10 minutes (give or take the level of green).
  5. Rinse all the ketchup out with water.
  6. Then shampoo and condition as you always do.

Note: In a pinch, ketchup can rebalance a bad hair dye job, or even serve as a touch-up for red hues in between salon visits.

3. Soothe the bruises

Scrapes, cuts, bruises, stings, and bites are all common casualties of summertime. But those tiny aches and pains can be tough to soothe. Here, summer's tiny portable ketchup packets are the perfect solution!

What to do:

  1. Place a few tiny packets of ketchup in the freezer.
  2. Allow the packets to freeze until solid.
  3. Use as small ice packs for spot-soothing (this is especially great for little kids, who will likely be so charmed by the ketchup packet they may temporarily forget all about their boo-boos!).

4. Fight odors

Tomato juice is a time-honored remedy for that nastiest of odor disasters: skunk spray. Ketchup can work equally well in a pinch. The acid in tomato juice or ketchup can at worst mask and at best ease strong odors.

What to do:

  1. Squirt ketchup onto the odiferous person, pet, or item.
  2. Work it deeply into the skin, fur, or item.
  3. Wash, rinse, and repeat as necessary.

5. Make funnel cakes (or pancakes, or frosted anything)

Ketchup bottles are just as useful as their contents. In addition to serving handily as makeshift water guns, small watering cans for plants, and wild birdseed containers, empty ketchup bottles are also great for making funnel cakes or pancakes (just let the batter drip out into the pan) or to add fine detail on cupcakes, cookies, or cakes by squeezing through colored frosting.

6. Fight cancer

Yup, you read that right. Back in the early 1800s, ketchup was sold as medicine! Tomatoes contain lycopene, a naturally occurring antioxidant that can fight cancer. Adding ketchup may not make eating French fries any healthier, but it certainly can't hurt!

7. Get a clean shave

Finally, we can thank creative World War II soldiers for this unusual use for ketchup. If you run out of shaving cream or soap, ketchup can make a handy stand-in.

What to do:

  1. Smooth on a thin layer of ketchup over the area to be shaved.
  2. Shave.
  3. Rinse.


7 Weird Uses for Ketchup That Will Save You Money