Most often used in cooking as a thickening agent, cornstarch is one of those items you may be underutilizing in your household. First, let’s take a look at what cornstarch is.
As its name implies, cornstarch – sometimes called corn flour — is a powdery starch that is made from the tiny white endosperm of a corn kernel. In order to get to the endosperm, corn kernels are processed so all of the outside shells are removed. Then the endosperm is ground, washed and dried into a fine powder. Cornstarch is a gluten-free alternative to flour thickeners for gravies, sauces, glazes, soups, casseroles and pies.
Like so many other kitchen staples, however, cornstarch can be used for a variety of other purposes around your home. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Carpet cleaner. Cornstarch works well on troublesome grease and oil stains, and even bloodstains, on carpeting. Simply pour some cornstarch on the stained area and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Then vacuum. Repeat if needed.
2. Stain remover. Similarly, you can use cornstarch to remove grease stains on walls and floors. Apply cornstarch with a soft cotton cloth. Rub it into the stain and then wipe clean.
3. Furniture polish. Sprinkle some cornstarch on the area with a cloth and then wipe it up. The cornstarch also helps to remove wax build-up on furniture and even automobiles.
4.Silver polish. You can make your own silver polish by combining cornstarch with water. After applying the paste to your silver, let it dry and then wipe and buff.
5. Laundry stain remover. You can get ink and blood stains out of fabric by applying a cornstarch paste to the stain. Rub the paste in and then let it dry in a sunny spot before brushing the dried cornstarch away. Repeat if needed.
6. Mildew remover. Try this by sprinkling cornstarch on the cover or on open pages of a book. Let it sit for several hours before brushing the cornstarch away.
7. Knot un-tangler. This one is a life-saver. When your shoelaces or necklaces are tangled, sprinkle some cornstarch on the knot. You will find the knot loosened enough to remove.
8. De-squeak floorboards. Apply some cornstarch to the seams of those squeaky floorboards. It works!
9.Clean and deodorize stuffed animals. Place the toys in a zippered plastic bag along with some cornstarch. Shake well and let them sit for 24 hours. Then remove the toys and vacuum them thoroughly.
10. Underarm odor tamer. Apply cornstarch to your underarm area to absorb perspiration and to act as a deodorant. This odor-taming benefit of cornstarch also works with smelly sneakers, socks and gym bags.
11. Sunburn and bug bite relief. A paste of cornstarch and water can take the pain out of sunburn. Let it dry and then rinse gently with warm water. This same method also works to relieve the pain and itch of insect bites, bee stings and rashes caused by poison ivy or poison oak.
12. Dry shampoo. Do you have oily hair? Cornstarch will absorb the excess oil in your hair. Simply sprinkle some cornstarch on your hair and let it work for a few minutes before brushing it out. You can also perk up your dog’s fur between baths by sprinkling your pup with cornstarch and then brushing or combing it out.
13. Athlete’s foot prevention. Avoid athlete’s foot by sprinkling cornstarch on your feet and/or directly inside your shoes.
14. Spray starch. You can make your own spray starch to use when ironing your clothes or linens. Add one tablespoon of cornstarch to one pint of water. Mix well and then pour into a spray bottle.
15. Revive playing cards. Playing cards can begin to stick together after they have been used for a while. To get them back in fresh condition, place them in a zippered plastic bag with some cornstarch. Shake well. Remove the cards and wipe off the cornstarch.
16.Finger paint recipe. Treat the kids to some new homemade finger paints. Here’s the recipe: mix one-fourth cup of cornstarch with two cups of cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil and continue boiling until it becomes thick. Divide the mixture among several small containers, adding food coloring to each container.
17. Window cleaner. Make your windows and mirrors clean and shiny with cornstarch, white vinegar and water. Mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with one-fourth cup of white vinegar and two cups of warm water. Pour into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on your glass and wipe clean.
And here’s one more use for cornstarch – you can repel roaches with it. Make an effective cockroach repellent by mixing a 50-50 blend of cornstarch with plaster of Paris and then placing it in the cracks and crevices where roaches enter your home.
Cornstarch is inexpensive — it costs about $4 to $5 for 16-ounces – and it is long-lasting. In fact, it will keep indefinitely when stored in a closed dry container.
Do you know of other uses for corn starch? Share your tips in the section below: