Discover New Ways to Use Cornstarch

This kitchen cabinet staple does more than thicken up your recipes.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Dry shampoo Fido needs a bath, but you just don’t have time. Rub cornstarch into his coat and brush it out. The dry bath will fluff up his coat until it’s tub time.

Untangle knots Knots in string or shoelaces can be stubborn to undo, but the solution is easy. Sprinkle the knot with a little cornstarch. It will then be easy to work the segments apart.

Soak up furniture polish residue You’ve finished polishing your furniture, but there’s still a bit left on the surface. Sprinkle cornstarch lightly on furniture after polishing. Wipe up the oil and cornstarch, then buff the surface.

Remove ink stains from carpet Oh no, ink on the carpet! In this case a little spilt milk might save you from crying. Mix the milk with cornstarch to make a paste. Apply the paste to the ink stain. Allow the concoction to dry on the carpet for a few hours, then brush off the dried residue and vacuum it up.

Give carpets a fresh scent Before vacuuming a room, sprinkle a little cornstarch on your carpeting. Wait about half an hour and then vacuum normally.

Make your own paste The next time the kids want to go wild with construction paper and paste, save money by making the paste yourself. Mix 3 teaspoons corn-starch for every 4 teaspoons cold water. Stir until you reach a paste consistency. This is especially great for applying with fingers or a wooden tongue depressor or Popsicle stick. If you add food coloring, the paste can be used for painting objects.

Make finger paints This simple recipe will keep the kids happy for hours. Mix together 1/4 cup cornstarch and 2 cups cold water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until the mixture becomes thick. Pour your product into several small containers and add food coloring to each container. You’ve created a collection of homemade finger paints.

Clean stuffed animals To clean a stuffed animal toy, rub a little cornstarch onto the toy, wait about 5 minutes, and then brush it clean. Or place the stuffed animal (or a few small ones) into a bag. Sprinkle cornstarch into the bag, close it tightly, and shake. Now brush the pretend pets clean.

Lift a scorch mark from clothing You moved the iron a little too slowly and now you have a scorch mark on your favorite shirt. Wet the scorched area and cover it with cornstarch. Let the cornstarch dry, then brush it away along with the scorch mark.

Remove grease spatters from walls Even the most careful cook cannot avoid an occasional spatter. A busy kitchen takes some wear and tear but here’s a handy remedy for that unsightly grease spot. Sprinkle cornstarch onto a soft cloth. Rub the grease spot gently until it disappears.

Get rid of bloodstains The quicker you act, the better. Whether it’s on clothing or table linens, you can remove or reduce a bloodstain with this method. Make a paste of cornstarch mixed with cold water. Cover the spot with the cornstarch paste and rub it gently into the fabric. Now put the cloth in a sunny location to dry. Once dry, brush off the remaining residue. If the stain is not completely gone, repeat the process.

Polish silver Is the sparkle gone from your good silverware? Make a simple paste by mixing cornstarch with water. Use a damp cloth to apply this to your silver-ware. Let it dry, then rub it off with cheesecloth or another soft cloth to reveal that old shine.

Make windows sparkle Create your own streak-free window cleaning solution by mixing 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup ammonia and 1/2 cup white vinegar in a bucket containing 3-4 quarts (3-4 liters) warm water. Don’t be put off by the milky concoction you create. Mix well and put the solution in a trigger spray bottle. Spray on the windows, then wipe with a warm-water rinse. Now rub with a dry paper towel or lint-free cloth. Voilá!

Say good riddance to roaches There’s no delicate way to manage this problem. Make a mixture that is 50 percent plaster of Paris and 50 percent cornstarch. Spread this in the crevices where roaches appear. It’s a killer recipe.