Household Uses for Corn Starch

In the Kitchen

Make baking powder- 1 part cornstarch, 1 part baking soda, and 2 parts cream of tartar. Keep in an airtight container.

Super fluffy omelettes – Mix ¼ tsp. cornstarch per egg, beat and cook your omelette as usual.

Make cake flour – To make 1 cup cake flour, place 2 Tbsp. corn starch in a 1-cup measuring cup. Fill the rest of the cup with all-purpose flour, then sweep off excess with knife or flat blade.  Sift together well, and use as substitute for 1 cup cake flour.

For comfort or relief

Cornstarch is good at removing or preventing moisture, and can help prevent or address problems like athlete’s foot or diaper rash.  

This page is simply an educational tips resource and is not meant to be taken for medical advice. Ask your doctor or medical professional if these uses are right for you.

Soothe or prevent diaper rash – many baby powders are made with cornstarch. Just sprinkle corn starch lightly over affected area after a diaper change, and rub in gently. It helps absorb moisture and prevent chafing too.

Soothe skin irritations or heat rash – if clothing chafes or a blister begins to form due to tight shoes, rub  a little cornstarch onto the area to reduce friction.  (Note – it will keep a bandage from adhering well to skin.)

Soothe bug bites or minor burns – Mix cornstarch with a few drops of water and apply paste to affected areas. When dry, wash off gently with lukewarm water.

Prevent Athlete’s foot – use as a powder on feet to absorb sweat and keep feet dry inside socks and shoes. Rub all over feet including between the toes.  You can also sprinkle corn starch inside shoes to freshen overnight – tap out excess use a vacuum attachment to remove excess corn starch.

Sunburn relief – mix corn starch into a paste with a few drops of cool water and apply to burned area. Once dry, wash off gently with tepid water.

Makeup & Cosmetics

Translucent face powder or finishing powder – use a soft puff or makeup brush to apply a light layer to absorb excess oil, or to set makeup. If desired, mix in 1/8 tsp. powder foundation to tint.

Natural blush or bronzer – Blend together ¼ cup cornstarch, 1-3 tsp. hibiscus powder (available in herb shops or online) and ½ - 1 tsp. ground cinnamon. Keep in sealed container or compact. Apply with a large soft brush to cheeks for a warm glow.

Facial cleanser – Gently heat 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, 2 Tbsp. glycerin, and ½ cup water until thick. Use to clean face.

Body powder – Apply corn starch to underarms or over body to absorb sweat or oil. To make scented powder, add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to a cup or two of corn starch, shake well to combine, and keep in a sealed container.

Scented milk bath powder – You’ll need 2 cups whole powdered milk, ½ cup cornstarch, ½ cup baking soda and 8-10 drops of essential oil (optional). Blend ingredients together well (either whisk or shake in a glass jar) and keep in sealed container overnight to let combine. Use 1-2 cups per bath. Skin will be smooth & soft!

Deodorant – mix ¼ cup baking soda, ¼ cup corn starch to make underarm deodorant powder. Add a drop of your favorite essential oil and mix well if you want a scented version!

Facial mask – Mix 2 Tbsp. milk, 2 Tbsp. corn starch, and 1 egg white until smooth. Apply onto faceand leave 15 minutes; rinse off with warm water.

Matte Nail Polish – Give any nail polish a matte finish by mixing a small amount of cornstarch into regular nail polish on a small mixing plate, then applying immediately onto your nails.

Dry shampoo – If you want to freshen your hair but don’t have time to wash it, sprinkle a small amount of cornstarch to scalp close to roots. Leave it for 15-30 minutes, then brush out hair. Excess oil will be absorbed by the starch. Note: this may work best for those with lighter colored hair. Corn starch may show white or grey on darker hair.

Dry shampoo for pets – Apply cornstarch liberally to your dog’s fur, rubbing and brushing it in close to the roots. Brush dog well to remove excess.

 

Laundry

Grease or oil stains on fabric or leather – apply a layer of corn starch to oil spots and leave overnight. Clean the area with a brush. If fabric, then launder as usual. For leather, repeat process as needed.

Ink stains on fabric -  mix cornstarch into a paste with a few drops of milk. Apply paste to ink stain. Once dry, brush the area and wash as usual.

Remove bloodstains from fabric – make a paste of cornstarch and water and apply to stain, rubbing it in. Let cloth dry in a sunny place, brush off the spot, and launder as usual. Repeat as needed.

Laundry starch – mix 1 Tbsp. cornstarch with 2 cups water. Shake the solution, pour into a sparay bottle, and use as a spray when ironing fabrics. It will make ironed laundry feel fresh and crisp.

Remove scorch marks from clothing – to lift a scorch mark from an iron, wet the scorched area, and cover with corn starch. Let cornstarch dry, then brush it away, along with the scorch.

 

Household cleaning

Clean and deodorize rugs & carpets – Apply cornstarch liberally over carpet and leave for 30-60 minutes. Vacuum carpet to remove excess.

Wash windows – Make a solution with cornstarch and water and wipe down windows. (You can also put it in a spray bottle and spritz onto glass, then wipe with a cloth.) Wipe windows with clean cloth or dry newspapers to remove solution. Alternate formula: mix 1 Tbsp. corn starch and 1 Tbsp. detergent in a ½ gallon bucket of water.

Wax stains or buildup on wood furniture – if wax builds up on wood furniture, apply cornstarch lightly and buff it clean with a soft cloth.

Grease on walls – sprinkle corn starch onto soft dry cloth. Rub the grease spot gently until it is aborbed.

Polish silver – mix cornstarch with water to form a paste. Dip a damp cloth into paste and apply to silver item. When paste dries, rub item with soft cloth to remove and polish.

 

 

Around the house

Untangle Knots – sprinkle cornstarch onto a knotted string or thread. It will reduce friction and make the knot easier to untangle.

Clean & freshen stuffed animals – Place stuffed animal in a plastic or paper bag. Add a generous amount of cornstarch (¼ cup per usual-size stuffed animal) and shake bag to coat. Leave sealed overnight. Vacuum stuffed animal to clean off excess starch.

Clean & freshen playing cards – If cards get sticky or grimy, or have a musty smell, place cards and a spoonful of cornstarch in a sealed bag and shake. Wipe each card off with a soft clean towel.

Deodorize mildewed books – sprinkle cornstarch into books, making sure it gets on every page and into spine. Leave for several hours or overnight. Clean pages with a soft brush or soft dry cloth.

Deodorize shoes – sprinkle cornstarch inside shoes to help absorb perspiration and odor.

Increase grip on sports equipment – handles of sports equipment like tennis rackets or golf clubs may absorb moisture or oil – give handles a light dusting of cornstarch to help absorb perspiration and grip!

Patch plaster walls – to fix nail holes, or small cracks or holes in plaster or wallboard, mix 2 Tbsp. salt, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, and enough water to make a thick, plable paste. Fill the hole, scrape level, and let dry. Sand if necessary, then paint. (Won’t work for big holes or holes larger than about ½ inch.)

Quiet squeaky floorboards – apply cornstarch to cracks in the floor, tapping in to make sure it goes deep into the crack to fill the gap. Be careful as this may make your floor slippery!

Kill cockroaches – mix equal parts plaster of Paris and corn starch. Sprinkle in places and cracks where you expect cockroaches to hide.

 

Car care

Shine your car or motorcycle – to remove excess polish or wax on your car that makes a hazy finish, sprinkle with corn starch and buff with a soft cloth. Wax after this step if desired. This may also take care of swirl marks or minutes scratches.

Remove grease stains from car upholstery – sprinkle grease stain with corn starch and leave several hours or overnight. It will absorb the oil. Brush gently to remove and repeat as needed.

Clean and deodorize seats & carpets – sprinkle fabric seats carpeting, and mats liberally with corn starch. Leave 30-60 minutes, then vacuum well to remove excess.


 

Just for Fun

Make finger paints – In a small saucepan, boil 3 cups water and 1 cup corn starch until thick then stir in a few drops of food coloring. Let cool. (Be careful, food coloring may still stain some surfaces.) Note: this paint is thick and works best on heavy craft paper, not newsprint or copy paper.

Homemade face paint – mix 2 parts corn starch and 1 Tbsp. white vegetable shortening for nontoxic grease paint. Add a few drops of food color to get different colors.

Science Experiment – Need a science fair idea? How about demonstrating Non-Newtonian Liquid –Teach kids about physics with just corn starch and water! Mix about 1 cup corn starch with 1-2 Tbsp. water until a thick, gooey paste is formed. Put it in a pie pan or plate and let kids feel how differently it behaves when it’s stirred quickly or slowly; gently tap the surface and see what happens.  Scoop a little onto your hand, and then feel it turn liquid and melt away. It’s liquid at rest, but solid upon impact.

Here's a neat video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUMX_b_m3Js

Space foam – mix roughly one cup cornstarch to one cup shaving cream, stirring until fluffy and moldable. Add more corn starch or more shaving cream a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Optional: add 1 drop food coloring (be careful, this could cause it to stain fabrics or carpets).

Make watercolor paints – In a large measuring cup with spout, mix together 4 Tbsp. baking soda and 2 Tbsp. white vinegar, and wait until fizzing stops.  Add ½ tsp. corn syrup and 2 Tbsp. corn starch and stir until completely combined. Pour or spoon the uncolored paint base into separate shallow tins – such as a mini muffin tin, an old empty watercolor tray, or an ice cube tray. Stir about 6 drops of food coloring into each separate compartment until desired color is reached – use separate toothpicks or popsicle sticks for each color to prevent muddling. Keep uncovered and let dry completely (24-48 hours depending on humidity)

Make corn starch jewelry clay - In a saucepan, boil 1 cup of water and 1-1/2 cup table salt together until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of corn starch to form a sticky paste. Stir in more cornstarch (up to another cup) a little at a time until you reach a moldable, clay-like consistency. Stir in a few drops of food color if desired. Be careful – the mixture will be hot! Once cooled, knead well and keep in an airtight container or sealed plastic bag. Use to make sculptures, beads, etc. When ready to set, let dry 24-48 hours until completely hard. Seal with varnish or nail polish if desired.

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1100 Stevens Avenue, Effingham Illinois 62401