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Ketchup: It's the nation's favorite condiment. So ubiquitous. So yummy. I, for one, wouldn't dream of eating fries or a burger without it ... and I don't even want to hear about all the high fructose corn syrup it contains! But ketchup does have a handful of surprising non-foodie uses worth knowing about:

1. Shine tarnished metals. Ketchup dissolves tarnish from copper pots and pans, and from silver jewelry and tarnished auto parts, too. It's the acid in the mixture that does the trick. Worth a try? I'll say, especially if you're on a budget and don't already have a chemical tarnish-removing product in your stash of cleaning products.

2. De-skunkify yourself or a loved one. Yes, they say washing with tomato juice helps eliminate (or at least mask) the stinky aroma of skunk spray. But ketchup will work, too. And I don't know about you, but I know I'm more likely to have a giant bottle of ketchup in my pantry than a giant can of tomato juice.

3. Heal chlorine-damaged hair. If swimming in a chlorinated pool leaves your hair with an ugly green tinge, ketchup can help restore the color. Just massage the red stuff through your locks and leave it to saok for about 20 minutes. Rinse well, then follow up with shampoo and conditioner.

4. Soothe kids' boo-boos. Instead of trashing unwanted fast food ketchup packets, toss some in the freezer. Next time your little one gets a nasty boo-boo, soothe the ouchies with a frozen ketchup packet. The cold is soothing, but the novelty of the sauce packet is a big distraction from the pain. I'm definitely going to try this one with my three-year-old!

5. Fake blood battles and target practice. As kids of all ages have known since ketchup was first invented, the stuff makes great fake blood for play fighting and target practice. It's not something I would indulge in for fun but, hey, it takes all sorts. Just keep it outside of the house/dorm, please!

6. Toddler paint. Let your toddler play with ketchup. Use a paint brush or just let them finger paint with it on paper or directly on the table. Another great idea: let picky kids use ketchup to "paint" their food – and hopefully eat more of your nutritious cooking as a result!



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