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Ketchup. A delicious condiment, synonymous always with fries, and the maker of an occasional appearance in pasta dishes. But this article is not about the distinctive taste and flavor of ketchup, but is instead about the cleaning prowess it exhibits. Surprised? I was too!
The reason behind ketchup’s alternative function as a cleaning compound lies in the fact that all types and brands of ketchup have vinegar in them. The vinegar signifies a presence of acetic acid, which in turn is known for its innate ability in cutting through gunk and grime. Additionally, tomato juice has citric acid- another known compound used in cleaning and disinfecting. All things considered, ketchup is not a half-bad home cleaner.
Is Ketchup Safe for Use?
The question that plagued me at the beginning of my stint with ketchup cleaning was if it was safe for use. In many ways, the answer to that is yes. It is non-toxic, edible and thereby runs no risks of accidental poisoning, and is eco-friendly.
However, there are a few downsides to cleaning with the help of ketchup. The first is the likelihood of attracting insects and ants if the ketchup is not properly removed. This can cause potential pest infestation. The second is the staining. Ketchup is a vividly colored viscous liquid that is perfectly capable of leaving behind a scarlet imprint. Especially on white/ light-colored surfaces.
If one decides to employ ketchup in cleaning their homes, care must also be taken to remember that it is properly cleaned and used only on appropriate surfaces.
Following is a list of 15 different uses for ketchup, aside from adding flavor to food.
1. Making Silver Shine
Silverware and silver jewelry, calls for regular and periodic polishing. And while silver cleaners are available in most stores, why not try one’s hand at a commonly known kitchen ingredient?
Ketchup cuts through rust and grime and manages to burnish the surface thereby making it gleam. Use a dab of ketchup to spread onto the surface and buff with a soft cloth. In case of older stains or marks which are reluctant to budge, let the ketchup sit for about a quarter of an hour before scrubbing it off.
2. Polishing Copperware
As with silverware, copper too takes rather well to ketchup cleaning. The procedure to clean copper utensils and crockery are simple- all you need to do is apply ketchup to the dull areas, and scrub with a soft cloth. A soft brush might also work, especially when it comes to eliminating some of the more stubborn stainings.
If the tarnish happens to be especially heavy, sprinkle a layer of salt on the ketchup before you start to clean. Salt is abrasive and works well at removing the tarnish.
3. Removal of Caked-on Gunk
A tip particularly handy in ridding pots and pans of that annoying char that attaches itself to all food you henceforth cook, ketchup can help loosen the debris and save one elbow grease.
Leave the ketchup on for a couple of hours (or even overnight) and then scrub the surface. You will find that the burned-on materials come apart very easily.
4. Cleaning headlights
Headlights, in my experience, are often coated with dead bugs that have met unfortunate deaths on their dazzling bodies. Use some ketchup to clean them. Let the ketchup sit for at least a quarter-hour before you give the area a good cleaning. Wipe down with a damp cloth after, making sure every last bit of ketchup has been removed.
This method also prevents any abrasions or scratches.
5. Buffing Brass
Ketchup, with its acetic acid components, is a good solution for cutting through dirt. Dirt that may have been neglected for ages, and now lies so thick that it is immovable.
Buffing brass with ketchup employs the very same ideology- using this viscous liquid to cut through dust and grime, and refurbish brass objects one might have lying around the house.
It is also important to remember to wipe down with a damp cloth, so as to remove any residual ketchup.
6. Removing Rust from Metal
Keep in mind that this trick only works for small rust spots, not for entirely rusty corrugated metal sheets.
As with the other points, the process is the same- the application of ketchup, letting sit for an adequate duration, followed and finished by vigorous scrubbing with a soft brush.
7. Removal of Water Spots
This trick is for the removal of unsightly water spots from stainless stain utensils, sinks, and any other place these blights might show up on.
Put a dollop of ketchup onto the spot, and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a toothbrush to scrub the area, and rinse well. Wipe dry.
8. De-skunking dogs
Not your usual deodorant, but certainly one that will help rid your furry pet of his/her smelly encounter with a skunk. Use diluted ketchup on the fur, and proceed then to give your pet a good, long bath.
Tomatoes have the benefits of many constituent vitamins- A, C and K. In addition, it is rich in antioxidants and does wonders for the skin. Yes, even your dog’s skin.
9. De-rusting Cast Iron Skillets
As with copper and stainless steel, ketchup works well with cast iron too. Especially skillets which have a propensity for acquiring rust spots, charred blemishes and a general air of neglect.
Use ketchup to counter this- applying a little bit on the areas that most require tending to, and scrubbing them with a soft brush. As with every kind of cleaning that employs ketchup, rinse well.
10. Refurbishing Gardening Tools
Here is a fun way to clean gardening equipment- and one that requires the bare minimum of effort.
Squirt some ketchup onto your gardening tools and let it sit overnight. Keep them locked up in a case, in order to avoid an infestation of ants or flies. Come morning, scrub vigorously and hose the tools down.
11. Car Polish
Ketchup instead of wax polish, who would have thought? Even though frequent use is not recommended, ketchup can be used to polish the exteriors of one’s car- the headlights, bonnet, bumper, etc.
Ketchup has a certain density and viscosity that is ideal for polishing and has the added benefit of being far from abrasive.
12. Use a ketchup bottle top to vacuum your keyboard
A ketchup bottle top makes for an ideal micro vacuum- not too large, and yet adequately big so as to effectively siphon dirt from the nooks and crannies of a keyboard.
The title of this point is self-explanatory- all you need to do is attach the cap to your hoover and you are all set to vacuum your keyboard!
13. Cleaning Spotty Glass
A trick I use for both my windows and sliding doors, ketchup makes for a great (and instant) glass cleaner. Owing to its high viscosity, it has an easy flow of movement and does not require hard scrubbing. The same trait lends it the absence of abrasiveness, the top criteria for glass cleaning.
The rules are simple- let the ketchup sit for a few minutes, scrub with a soft cloth, and wipe clean with a damp one.
14. Cleaning a Saucepan
One of the best uses of ketchup, in my opinion, and one that both cleans and deodorizes. The acetic acid components cut through the caked-on food and burned char that might line both the insides and the underside. The vinegary element removes all existing odor, especially the underlying pungent ones of garlic and onion.
It employs a minimum of scrubbing and ensures a sterling shine that will make your saucepan loo as good as new.
15. Deodorizing a Cutting Board
Cutting boards witness a lot of different fruits and vegetables, and thereby a myriad of different smells. Using ketchup as a deodorizer is a simple solution to eliminating underlying odors, and has been proven to work wonders.
In conclusion, there are a lot of things that can be said about ketchup. But aside from its primary role as a flavorful condiment, the fact that it is an excellent cleaning agent is little known to most. Here is to hoping that its versatility gets larger exposure!