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Did you ever think about using cornstarch for something other than a thickening agent? Did you ever use it for gardening or as a dry shampoo?
You can stop wondering now as we present diverse uses of the mighty cornstarch that go way beyond your kitchen bowls. Cornstarch hacks come handy with several household activities that can make your life simpler. Moreover, it is capable of replacing chemical agents with their natural and organic substances.
What is cornstarch?
Extracted from the corn kernel, it is a carbohydrate that goes way back to 1000BC when starches from grains were used as cosmetics and adhesives by the Egyptians. This white, powdery substance has been used for culinary and industrial purposes and is appreciated everywhere for its diverse effects.
Found in cuisines almost every corner of the world, this powder can be used outside the kitchen as well. I will be dedicating this post to appreciate the diversity of cornstarch.
Is cornstarch safe?
People do compare cornstarch with talc, but believe me, it is nothing like talc! Cornstarch is made from corn kernels and is a natural moisture absorbent that can be a replacement of talcum powder, just without the toxins.
You might be surprised to learn about its usages (as you scroll down), and also realize how safe it is as it is a food substance and not a mineral. The particles of cornstarch are slightly larger than talc but have no side effects.
Only caution: It can be harmful to your body if inhaled as it can cause respiratory issues. You have to be extra careful if you are using it as baby powder.
As surprising as it may seem, cornstarch has wide applications in household hacks and uses outside the kitchen. It can be used for cleaning, self-care, deodorizing and also for simple everyday hacks. To help you guide and get familiar with cornstarch, here we present the master list.
34 Uses of Cornstarch
A. Cleaning and Laundry
Cornstarch is an important element when it comes to laundry and cleaning hacks. Here is a full guide to those amazing tricks.
1. Glass Cleaner
Do uncleaned glasses irritate you? Do you have an aversion to dirty or streaked glass tops? Look no more. Mix some cornstarch with vinegar and rubbing alcohol to make the most effective glass cleaner for regular use.
2. Keep Playing Cards Shiny
Are you fond of playing cards and love their company when you drink and enjoy yourself with friends? Not sure about you, but my answer would definitely be yes in this case. I love to play cards but with constant usage, it gets greasy and sticky.
To cure this, I shake them in a bag of cornstarch and wipe them clean once done. It not only removes the oily and greasy substances but provides a shiny surface as well.
3. Remove Musty Smell
Much like cards, if you want to get rid of the musty smell your old books might have, sprinkle some cornstarch in it as that will help get rid of the dampness and your problem is solved!
4. Clean Furniture
Sometimes, new furniture can have excess wax left out on its surface. It not only looks a mess but can also be the reason for the frowning of your guests. Remove the extra wax and also say bye to fingerprints on your furniture by sprinkling cornstarch on it. Wipe it out with a soft cloth for extra shine!
5. Clean Silverwares
I own a lot of silver accessories and utensils and let’s face it, they do get black or discolored very often. Cornstarch has been a savior for me in this one as well. I use cornstarch and water to shine my silverwares and I will be totally honest, it has never disappointed me!
6. Clean Mildew
As cornstarch can be as effective as baking soda, it can be used to clean mildew and mold stains. It can neutralize the smell, soak moisture and grease naturally. All you have to do is mix it up with lemon juice and baking soda and start scrubbing it away!
7. Clean Driveway Stains
Want a natural DIY solution for cleaning your driveway stains? Say no to toxic abrasive cleaners and use cornstarch. Sprinkle the area with cornstarch and leave it for a few hours to dry up the oily residue. Once done, just vacuum it away!
8. Clean Leather Bags
Due to regular use, our leather bags sometimes get bloated with oily stains. Much like fabrics, cover those stains with cornstarch and let it absorb the oil for a night. Brush the powder away the next morning and you can repeat the process for tough stains as well.
9. Dry Shampoo for Pets
Your pet dog does need a good cleaning, but he hates water, doesn’t he? I used to dry shampoo my pet every week by dusting him with cornstarch. You can do the same with yours until you actually manage to sprinkle water on him.
10. Clean Stuffed Toys
You can also clean your stuffed animal by simply giving it a cornstarch bath. It would wipe off all the dirt and smell that it might have accumulated over the years, and give the new-look back. You can also leave it in a zipper bag overnight and vacuum the powder later.
11. Remove Oil Stains
Did you just spill oil on your new shirt? Don’t let one mistake ruin your favorite shirt. Scatter a generous layer of cornstarch over the stain, keep it for an hour and you have your shirt back again!
12. DIY Dry-Cleaner
If you want your very own dry cleaner to keep your shirt crisp and clean, make a starch spray with cornstarch. Spray the fabric just a day before use and let it dry overnight. You have your shirt ready the next morning.
13. Remove Blood Stains
We might end up having blood stains on our clothes due to accidents, insect bites or just the monthly cycle for women, and would want to get rid of it ASAP! Make a paste of cornstarch and cold water, cover the stain with it and let it dry in the sun. Wipe the paste after some time and Magic! It’s gone.
Cornstarch will not fail to impress you even when your dearest green thumb is at stake! Let’s get familiar with some gardening hacks.
If you want the vegetable seeds to grow faster, dip them in cornstarch gel before burying them in the soil. You can make a cornstarch gel by heating a mixture of water and cornstarch until it thickens and has a gel-like texture. You must try this if you have a short and cool growing season for plants.
15. No pests, please!
Say bye to garden pests by dusting your veggie plants with cornstarch. The smell of it will keep bugs, worms, and other garden pests away from your green wonders. It won’t have any adverse effects on it and protect the plant always.
C. Beauty and Skincare
Calling all the ladies (men as well), here we present some amazing, effective and pocket-friendly hacks for your hair and skincare regime together with some home remedies to cuts and insect bites.
16. Lipstick and Nails
It is modern-day but we don’t like glossy and shiny lips anymore, do we? We love to nurture the old school look and want to Mattify it! Use cornstarch to give your lips a matt finish and be in the spotlight.
Apply your favorite lipstick (maintaining the lip lines, of course), dip your fingers in cornstarch and lightly pat your lips with it. The more you repeat, the longer it lasts!
It works the same for nail enamels as well. Sprinkle cornstarch over your wet nail polish to give a matt finish. Tip: You have to be extremely careful with this one as extra sprinkling can ruin your nail polish look!
17. Literally Powder!
Cornstarch, being a powder in every sense, can be utilized as one this time but for a different purpose. It is an easy beauty hack, costing just a few dollars.
I have used cornstarch as scented body powder during the hot summer days, replacing the chemical lotions. You can scent it by adding hibiscus or cinnamon grains to it.
Similarly, you can use cornstarch as face powders to drive away extra oil and moisture throughout the day. This would work wonders for oily skin.
Cornstarch is a fantastic exfoliator for your skin. It can be used as a cleanser or at least as a warm-up option when you are deep cleansing. Massage cornstarch in a circular motion on your dampened face and they apply your regular cleanser. It would definitely provide a better exfoliation of your skin.
19. Hair Care
In our busy days, we hardly find time for a shampoo, do we? If you can relate with me on this, then this hack is going to be a lifesaver for you.
Use a makeshift cornstarch shampoo and blow it into your roots with a brush, focusing more on your hairline. The dry shampoo helps in absorbing dust and dirt and can help your hair look way better in just a few minutes. For brown hairs, you can mix it with cocoa powder to provide a matching look.
Tired of chemical deodorants? Want to put a full stop to rashes due to chemical perfumes? Well, cornstarch can be your savior again. Sprinkle some right after taking a shower in sweat-prone areas and stay fresh throughout the day. Most helpful solution if you live in a hot and humid region.
If you want the feel of a solid deodorant, make a paste with unrefined coconut oil and lavender and apply it on your underarms. So, did you ever get rashes again?
21. Milk bath
Cornstarch can be used to soothe patched and dry skin. I often treat myself with a moisturizing, milk bath during the chilly winter months and never regret it. You can take whole powdered milk, a cup of cornstarch, essential oils, baking soda, and water and seal them in a container. Keep it for about a day before using it.
Want to relax? Take a cup or two of the mixture and pour it in the hot, running water. And just RELAX!
22. Heal Mild Irritations
Cornstarch can calm and soothe sunburned skin and control mild irritations. You can form a paste of cornstarch and water and pat the affected area with cotton balls.
The paste can also be applied to bug bites to reduce itchiness and keep it clean and dry. It can also be applied to small cuts, but only dry powder this time!
D. Handy Hacks
After cleaning and skincare, here comes the simple household hacks category that comes handy whenever we need it.
23. Say bye to stubborn knots
We all know how annoying and irritating stubborn knots can get. I mean, it can sometimes take an hour to untie a knot. When stuck in this tangled situation, I have used cornstarch as a dry lubricant.
It will help you pull out ribbons, strings, ropes and other materials with ease and less effort. So the next time you are stuck in a shoelace knot, sprinkle cornstarch!
24. Get Rid of Cockroaches
We all would unanimously agree that cockroaches don’t belong anywhere in our home. But, we would also agree that they are stubborn bugs and can never leave us alone. Cornstarch can do the trick here.
Make a mixture of equal amounts of cornstarch and plaster of Paris and apply them on holes, corners and other dwellings of cockroaches. The icky critters won’t have a good time if they swallow it, so you may think that your job is done here.
25. Athlete’s foot powder
Much like a deodorant for our body, it can be deodorizer for household stuff like carpets, shoes and many things.
Cornstarch can serve as an athlete’s foot powder. Mix it up with drops of tea tree oil for an added essence and sprinkle the solution on the athlete’s foot. It will prevent odors and help them maintain freshness for a longer time. Don’t feel conscious the next time you go for a run!
26. Carpet Freshener
Use cornstarch as a carpet freshener as it can pick up odors very well. Sprinkle some over your carpet and leave it for an hour. Vacuum it later and enjoy a fresher carpet which would also feel a little softer and silkier!
Let the cornstarch absorb the stinky odors from your cat’s litter. Mix some in the litter box and let it do its job of absorbing moisture. Don’t forget to check with your vet, first!
Do you have unpleasant flooring or do they make squeaky noises when walking upon? You can fill the cracks with cornstarch for a natural shock absorber. You will definitely see an improvement if you let it penetrate the offending areas. If there is no improvement, find a flooring contractor instead!
28. A few other handy hacks
Other handy hacks include making a bleach pen from cornstarch that can be used for crafting, cleaning grout and much more.
Improve the grip of your sports and gyming equipment by dusting cornstarch on the handles.
Accidently made scorch marks while ironing? No worries. Wet the area with water and dust cornstarch on it. Brush it away when dry and your work is done.
I have once used cornstarch to attach a piece of fabric to my window glass in my bedroom to limit sunlight. A paste of cornstarch and water can be a good adhesive and hence one can use it for this purpose.
E. Something for Kids and Crafts
29. DIY Foam Dough
Do your kids love to play with colorful foam dough? Don’t go to stores buying some, just make it! Cornstarch, shaving cream and food dye- the three magic ingredients will do your job here. This would make foam doughs which are much softer and silkier when compared to flour doughs.
30. DIY Face and Finger Paint
Make a DIY face and finger paint for your kids and have a fun-filled Sunday while covering the wall with lively colors! For face paint, mix in vegetable shortening and food coloring.
31. DIY Colored Sand
Have you ever seen colored sand? I never did but I would surely be amazed if I get to see one! Make this real for your kids by modeling moon sand for them. Add cornstarch and glitter to them for a wonderful, sensory experience of your little ones.
32. DIY Non-Toxic glue
My nephew had once tried to eat up regular glue and since then I have started making non-toxic glues from, yes you guessed it right, cornstarch! You can make one as well by combining cornstarch, vinegar, and light corn syrup. This sticky mixture makes the papers come together without any ripple.
33. DIY Clay
Cornstarch can also be used to make clay which has a wide range of applications in jewelry and crafts for kids. Clay is not only easy to make, but fun to paint as well.
34. DIY Slime and Chalk Paints
Much like watercolors, make some sidewalk chalk paints for your little ones and help them have some outdoor activities. You can also make slimes for them and make them SMILE!
With this, I end this post, appreciating the powers and efficiency of this mighty powder. If you are confused about anything or not sure about their effectiveness, don’t think much, just try! It might not work the way you would want it to, but it won’t be miserable either. Go ahead and try it yourself!
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