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'Ketchup Challenge' puts relationships to the test in the latest viral video trend to hit TikTok

TikTok's newest challenge invites women to test their partners' cleaning skills with a common kitchen condiment - resulting in hilarious viral videos.

TikTok's latest trend has women across the internet taking the pulse of their relationships while showcasing their partner's worthiness on the web. 

The "Ketchup Challenge" encourages ladies to leave a dollop of the condiment on a kitchen surface – such as a table or counter – and ask their partner to clean it up. The seemingly innocent task is making waves online, as women realize their male counterparts may not be as well-versed at cleaning up messes as they thought. 

The Ketchup Theory was born from a video originally using hot sauce and shared online on Dec. 26, 2023, after TikTok user Katherine posted a video of her fiancé attempting to clean up the mess with only a paper towel garnered a strong reaction online. 

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"Weaponized incompetence… look it up," one user commented on the video as Katherine's fiancé smears the hot sauce all over the white counter, with seemingly no end in sight. 

"If you marry this you can't complain later," another user replied. 

Now, other ladies are happily posting their results as their loved ones pass the test by properly wiping up the ketchup with cleaning spray. 

"If there is spilled ketchup on the counter and your boyfriend doesn't know how to clean it up, is he dumb or are you a jerk for intentionally making a mess and trying to see how he can fix it," one TikToker, Jareen Imam, said in a video reacting to the trend.

"Some of the videos are pretty funny, with some guys just smearing ketchup into the furniture like they've never cleaned a day in their life. Other men are perfectly capable and also probably tired of all of this content that is made for your entertainment." 

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TikTok user Jules' attempt attracted virtual applause from viewers as she filmed her partner successfully cleaning up the mess by wiping the ketchup with a paper towel and spraying the residue with cleaning solution. Jules can be seen smiling at the camera as her boyfriend breaks out the cleaning spray, knowing that he passed the test. 

"I think this is the first guy I've seen actually use spray and wipe after wiping the sauce up," commented one user. 

The hashtag #ketchupchallenge has amassed over 209 million views on TikTok, with videos showing women poking fun at their male counterparts' ability to clean up a sticky situation.

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"One point of argument is that it's all about domestic labor," Iman went on to say in her video analyzing the trend. "You have to have some level of knowledge - and a little bit of common sense - to know how to clean up ketchup, rather than smearing it into a counter." 

Iman explained that she does not believe that the test determines the quality of someone's significant other, but instead opens up the dialogue regarding cleaning within the household.

The Ketchup Challenge suggests social media users are relying on viral trends to test their relationships, as women are flocking to online spaces to show their partner's abilities - or shortfalls. The lighthearted fun usually ends in smiles at the end, with couples sharing the last laugh. 

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