The French's Mustard Hidden Lid Feature You Probably Weren't Aware Of

Progress is defined by convenience. Typically, the easier a feature makes your life, the more advanced the product is considered to be. When French's mustard was first sold to the public in the early 1900s, it was packaged in a glass jar with a screw-top lid. You had to unscrew the top and use a knife to apply your favorite condiment. The plastic squeeze jar wasn't marketed until 1991. With this ingenious packaging, you don't need any tools; just flip the container, open the lid, and squeeze. In 2002, the company introduced "clean-cap" technology. Though this remarkable feature has been around for over 20 years, you probably still don't know it exists or how it works. But that is about to change.

French's mustard squeeze bottles have a tiny nub built into the neck of the lid. Even upon close examination, this curiosity appears to be little more than an oddly designed hinge. Since it is also molded in the same color as the lid, the feature is camouflaged — most people just don't notice it or they consider it unimportant. The truth is, this little nub serves as a convenient snap that holds the lid fully open when you turn the bottle upside down and squeeze. While this might not seem like a big deal, it performs a very useful function: It holds the lid out of the way so you can have a mess-free application. No more splatters or wiping down the lid, just a quick clean line of mustard.

Other condiment bottle hacks

This secret feature can be especially useful if you like to repurpose your nearly empty condiment bottles into salad dressing dispensers. Just add olive oil and seasonings and give it a good shake, and take advantage of the lock-open feature to avoid any mess when dressing your salad. Or add some apple cider vinegar, brown sugar or molasses, pepper flakes and Worcestershire sauce to make a mustardy barbecue sauce. The clean cap feature will keep your hands free and your grill clean while you work.

French's mustard isn't the only popular condiment that has built-in hidden convenience. The embossed "57" on a Heinz ketchup bottle, for instance, is a sweet spot. When you're having trouble with the pour, just hold the bottle at a 45-degree angle and rapidly tap that precise spot to get the ketchup flowing smoothly. This is a much more effective (and neater) way to dispense than shaking. Ever wonder why the top of a soy sauce bottle has two holes? Turns out it's all part of the design — if you put your finger over one hole, you can control exactly how much sauce pours out of the other. It's a wonder companies don't tout their secret design features more enthusiastically, but that would spoil all the fun of discovering them ourselves.