Monday, August 5, 2013

How To Make Your Own Spray Starch

homemade spray starch

I have to brag on the “hubster” for a minute today…I actually probably don’t do that nearly enough on here. :-)  He’s a pretty terrific guy and puts up with a LOT being married to me! Although we’ve definitely been through our ups and downs over the years…there’s no one else I would want to ride it out with than him. Especially since he does all his own IRONING! Yep, that’s what I’m braggin’ on today!

Ever since we first got married he has ironed all his own clothes (that needed it)…and he does a great job! It took him awhile when he first took on the task, but now he’s got it down to a science (despite the fact that he irons on the “wrong” side of the ironing board…OK…I guess being a leftie I’M technically the one who does that…or am I? hmmmmmm)

He even uses SPRAY STARCH to get his white shirts particularly crisp and sharp looking. As a matter of fact, one Sunday after a church an elderly lady approached me and said, “I’m so impressed with how nice your husbands shirts always look!” To which I smiled and responded, “Why thank you!” :-)  LOL.  See, I told you he puts up with a lot! ;-)

Since I’m always interested in homemade versions of products we normally buy, one day I decided to look into whether I could make a “laundry spray starch” that would work as well as the hubster’s trusty brand he’s been using for years. What I discovered was that not only is is RIDICULOUSLY EASY to make your own spray starch, it works every bit as good!  I LOVE when that happens!

Here’s how it’s made:


homemade spray starch


Homemade Spray Starch


1 heaping tablespoon corn starch
1 pint water (if you have hard water you might want to use distilled water.)
1-2 drops essential oil (optional)




homemade spray starch


homemade spray starch

1. Fill a pint mason jar with water (or you can use a bowl, just measure one pint of water into it), add the cornstarch.


homemade spray starch

2. Put the lid on the jar, and shake it until the cornstarch is completely dissolved.  (The mixture will be a milky color.)


 homemade spray starch

homemade spray starch

3. Add in a couple drops of essential oil for fragrance (lavender or lemon would be nice!), if desired, then transfer to a spray bottle, and use. For best results, shake before each use, and remember a little goes a LONG way, so use sparingly.


Did you know?

  • Commercially-produced spray starch usually contains formaldehyde.
  • Starching clothes actually makes them last longer because dirt and perspiration sticks to the starch and not to the fabric.


I decided to try it out first on the cloth napkins I’d just made (see yesterday’s post) before I sprayed it all over one of the hubster’s white dress shirts. I was actually blown away at how well it worked. I only needed one light coat for the napkins and they were good to go!  (For the shirts I ended up using two or three coats to give them a good starched look and feel.)

I kind of hate to think about how much money we’ve spent on this stuff over the years. But live and learn! We have definitely bought our last can of it!


Do you buy spray starch? Are you kicking yourself right now like I am? :-) 


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64 thoughts on “How To Make Your Own Spray Starch

  1. Jocelyn

    Thanks for the recipe! Going to try this! Quick question. Could you replace the corn starch with arrowroot? (I use arrowroot instead of cornstarch in my cooking so that’s what I have on hand at the moment). :)

  2. Trish in Spokane

    O…M…GOSH!! Your gonna think I am so dense, but when I read the recipe I thought, “Are you serious, spray starch is REALLY made from starch?” still giggling at myself :-)

    1. Kim

      I thought exactly the same thing. And, how timely since I”m playing around with starch for a project in my son’s room. Thanks for being on my wavelength, Jillee!

  3. Brenda

    This almost makes me want to iron. I really try and use the shake and hang method the most. This is why one of my kids saw an iron one day and asked what is was!

  4. Ruth E. Chidley

    Well, I can sure tell you what I’m going to be making, for my hubby, when I get up in the morning! : ). He is retired military and you know EVERYTHING has to be starch and pressed with creases that can cut if you get too close.
    I’m very thankful for him for not only ironing his own clothes but for often ironing mine too. He is really very helpful at helping me with many other chores around our home…he’s a keeper!
    Better get some sleep so I can get my starch making chore done later on! Hubby is going to be so surprised and happy when I tell him what I learned while he was sleeping!
    Have a great day, Jill, your the best!

    1. Victoria

      My husband is military as well. Back when they used BDU’s the man would spend a TON of time ironing and starching. He used so much starch we had two irons, one for his uniforms and one for regular clothes. I gotta admit, the ACU’s may not look as good, but he doesn’t have to spend hours ironing and polishing boots any more. :-)

  5. Beverley H

    I’ve made my own spray starch for years. I use loads of it in my quilting as I pre wash then starch new fabric to get rid of the commercial chemicals and to then replace the “hand” of the fabric to make it easier to work with. I will quite often restarch and press finished blocks as I go to make them easier to work with. It especially helps with keeping bias edges under control. One difference in how I make mine though is I cook it first by bringing to the boil, simmering for a minute or two then leaving to cool completely before putting in the spray bottle. I find that I get a better result, the starch stays in solution without having to shake each time and it lasts longer. Apologies for the long post! !

  6. Claire R

    I have been using the homemade version of the wonderful spray starch carried by the quilting shops. I use 1/3 cup of vodka (contains potato starch) and 2/3 cup water, add a couple drops of lavender or lemon essential oils for scent and pour into a spray bottle. Puts a nice crisp finish on and no white specks.

  7. Joann in Myrtle Beach

    Perfect timing as I just put spray starch on my grocery list. Can’t wait to try this homemade version . I love your site, Jillie as I love making homemade products instead of having to purchase them for such high prices. Thank you for all you do!!

  8. Sue

    All I can say is WOW. Live and learn. At 70 I’m still learning. LOL. Can’t wait to give it a try. Jillee thanks so much. I love all your post.

  9. Charlotte

    Word of caution, make only a small batch at a time. Keeping it for several days seems to make it “rancid”. You cannot tell this at first because of the essential oil added, but after wearing the garment all day, there is an “off” smell, not a clean smell at all. I would iron a few shirts on the weekend end & then use the rest of the solution the next week end. Not a good thing!! Best to make small batches. Rinse your spray bottle out thoroughly before pouring the next batch.

  10. jan

    awesome! i sew for a living….and use starch a lot!! who knew it could be so easy and i will love to be able to add essential oils for fragrance! thanks so much :)

  11. Kirsten

    I’ve been doing this for several years, and have a tip I thought I’d share.

    Without some sort of antimicrobial/antifungal agent, this concoction will sour and spoil relatively quickly, even in the most temperate conditions. However, GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) is a powerful antibacterial/antimicrobial/antifungal agent. Adding just a few drops into your mixture will keep it from souring so it will last much longer–and you won’t get all that slimy buildup in the spray bottle from it turning.

    You can buy it on Amazon for under $15 for a large bottle these days. But you probably will only need a small bottle to start. If you get some time, Google “GSE”. You’ll find that it’s a very versatile product–used for everything from healing cold sores to helping balance pH to cleaning wounds to–you name it. It’s very, very potent, though, so never use it full strength. A drop or two at a time is all you need.

    Also, if you have to use it orally (and there are so many reasons you might want to), it tastes pretty bad–no, REALLY bad–on its own. But, for some reason, soy milk completely masks the flavor of it. Because what good is a cure if you can’t get it down the hatch? Orange juice makes it taste less potent, but I find the soy milk to completely neutralize its taste.

    Anyhow, happy concocting!

  12. Theresa

    If you are only doing the hubby’s shirts you could add a few drops of your favorite cologne! Or make up a bottle just for his shirts with it!

  13. Barbara

    quilters use a home made solution of 3 oz cheap vodka, 24 0z water,–1 t essential oil [optional] spray starch can attract bugs in quilts— no problem in it keeping—nothing to spoil

  14. Mrs B

    My Grandmother taught us how to make our starch and you need to bring your water to a boil and simmer for a few minutes, This keeps this keeps the starch in a suspended state and it will keep longer.

  15. Carolyn

    This was perfect timing for me. I have spray starch on my shopping list. It never occurred to me one could make starch. Brilliant, Jillee!

  16. Mona

    Love receiving your posts. As a retired English teacher, however, I’d be so happy to never see the words ‘veggie’ or ‘hubster’ in print again. Sorry, we all all have pet peeves, don’t we?

  17. Kim

    WOW Jillee, just have to decide which one to make?! Your version or your readers version! Who knew it could be so simple, especially since I iron EVERYTHING, & have kept spray starch co in business!!
    Thanks for all of your wonderful info!!

  18. mtb

    I LOVE this idea! I starch E V E R Y T H I N G including our sheets because in the summer around here the humidity is a sleep killer without the starch. I have a humble tip for your hunny though. My husband had a bazillion shirts that needed ironing for work. Took forever. Until I was too lazy to (ok shut up) move around to the other side of the ironing board and I ironed his shirts using the wide end. Um. HUGE HUGE HUGE saving of time. I could do an entire side without shifting it and the back was just a slight shift to get the whole thing. I KNOW! So freakin obvious. Now I iron with abandon. Or I will once I make your starch. Love you for this. Really.

    1. restlessnative

      so NOT freakin obvious…using the other end of the board…genius, I feel beyond stupid…and thank you for making my life easier and feeling like a dumb *ss in one fell swoop.

  19. anne

    In my part of the country laundry (corn) starch is found in the laundry section of the grocery. ARGO is the brand I see most often. My great grandmother used her boiled Argo starch to iron on Wednesday after spending Monday WashDay over two 75 gallon wash pots in the backyard.
    Laundry starch makes a good heavy-duty starch (which can be used to make thread or yarn Christmas globes) and stores in the refrigerator. Or you can make smaller quantities for a single ironing session. If you want to trick it up with essential oils or perfume, go for it.
    Anything to make ironing easier.

  20. Patricia Binkley

    I love this because I always ended up with the spray can that after using it a couple of times, the sprayer would stop spraying. Ended up throwing almost a whole can away. Talk about wasteful. thanks for all you do.

  21. Denna Merritt/The Faux Fae

    I have never been one to iron and I do not own an ironing board but when I was just starting out as a newly married wife I gave it a shot and tried aerosol spray starch and was less than impressed that it gunked up my iron and did not work the way the commercials said it did! From that point on my hubby wore non-starched dress shirts! I have since never bought a blouse that needed an iron and I got rid of my ironing board. This past winter I started quilting and realized it does include a bit of ironing so I made a homemade ironing board I can store easily. But to get to the point, I found at one of my fabric stores a non aerosol starch spray that I fell in love with. Problem is it’s kinda expensive on a non-employed budget. The thing I like most, besides the fact that it works, is the lovely peach smell it has! Do they make peach essential oil by chance?? My bottle is almost empty so I will be making this recipe for future use but I want to add the peach scent. Any ideas??

  22. Nikki

    This is genius. It’s funny now that I think about it, this is EXACTLY what my grandmother says they used when she was younger. All these years of listening to her stories and that one JUST sank in! Just goes to show that all those old school homemaking techniques really DO work.

  23. cty

    This is a great post! This makes me want to wake up DH so he can iron his shirts;)
    I just found out that my triple threat air freshener, linen spray and window cleaner can also starch clothes I use 1/4 C vodka to 3/4 C water & 40 drops of EO. Bet starching these will make the closet smell great too!

    BTW if using vodka know that not all vodka is made from potatoes. Just google vodka brands made from potatoes for a list.

  24. Bixa Orellana

    This is a revelation!

    Some questions, please:

    1) Since it’s necessary to use several coats to get that nice stiff dress shirt finish, couldn’t a stronger solution be used instead — say, double the amount of cornstarch? Would that perhaps cause flaking?

    2) Isn’t there a danger of the essential oils staining the clothing?

    3) Does the “quilters’ recipe” make for starched fabric, or is more like sized fabric?


  25. MsManaged

    Last Thursday morning as I was ironing I thought, ” I’m surprised Jillee doesn’t have a stretch recipe.” Talk about the power and energy of words and the wonder of how the higher powers cause the universe to work!

  26. Claire R

    I rechecked my recipe after my previous post and the proportions should be 1 ounce of vodka for 8 ounces of distilled water, plus a couple of drops of essential oils. For more crispness double the vodka. Works very well for quilting!!

  27. Carolyn

    Love the starch recipe. I made it and ironed all those things hanging in the laundry waiting for the moment. The stuff sprayed on beautifully and made ironing easy! Plus it was SO EASY to make.
    Thanks for the posting it.

  28. Kanna

    I heavy starch my hubby’s jeans and shirts for work. of course we live in Texas so the pants have to be creased and stand up on there own. Which they do (almost) lol. I have made this recipe and love it ! I use the one, Jillee ,that you have to boil the water etc.. that you had a while ago. That works great! So instead of spending $3 on half a gallon of the liquid starch …. I make my own ! Loving the savings! It’s huge. Just huge! I used half a gallon a week ironing. Thank you for all you do Jillee!!! :)

  29. Iris

    I try to do all my laundry on th same day because I make my own starch from Argo Laundry Starch. I use the method of boiling the water. Then I put the starch in cool water to disolve it and pour it into the hot water stiring constantly while it cooks. You can then dilute it to you preference. Anything that I wash that needs staraching is put in a basket to be starched and is hung up to dry.(I do not put it in the dryer).) After it is dry I use an old fashioned sprinkler (or you can use a spray bottle) to dampen the clothes. Roll them into a ball and put in a plastic bag. The next day I iron them. Although this seems like a long process it only takes a few minutes to do and the results are always perfect.

  30. Paula

    I have always made my spray starch with a store bought bottle of concentrated laundry starch. I pour some starch into a spray bottle and add water to create the strength of starch I need, light or heavy.

    My husband was military, and I also used a lot of spray starch. It is really economical to mix your own blend. You can make many spray bottles full with one jug of commercially produced starch, and the spray mixture doesn’t get rancid.

      1. helen

        If it’s warm or you’re not sure you can get to it right away, you can put the bag in the refrigerator. Also, it doesnt have to be overnight. Usually by the time I get done sprinkling, the first items are ready to be ironed. But im kinda slow.

  31. Wendy

    I read this a few days ago and wanted to try it, but usually my husband does his ironing because he does a better job than I. Today I told him to tell me what he wants to wear to church tomorrow because I’ll iron it, he was so surprised… he thinks I’m being nice, I just want to try this recipe!!!

  32. Laurel

    I read a post several years ago about mixing vodka and water 50:50 to use as a substitute for Febreze. I used it and it worked beautifully and leaves your clothes smelling like NOTHING, but I didn’t like wasting all that vodka on fabric spray (better in a Bloody Mary!) I then realized that what was making my clothes smell better was the alcohol in the vodka, so I switched to 50:50 rubbing alcohol. I regularly spray my t-shirts and cotton knit nightgowns with alcohol and water and let them dry on the hanger before I put them away so they won’t have that weird chemical smell to them. I suppose you could add essential oils to it if you want your clothes perfumed. You could even add cologne, which is mostly alcohol.

    I also use Crunchy Betty’s Alvin Corn Cleaner to clean my windows and mirrors (and just about everything else). The alcohol in the cleaner keeps it from getting icky. I’m now thinking that making this spray starch with a little alcohol in it would keep it from getting icky and would serve the dual purpose of starching the clothes and making them smell better (BTW, I usually use liquid starch that I buy at the dollar store mixed 50:50). I’ll also try boiling it first.

    I just looked at the Faultless website. Their liquid starch ingredients are:

    Modified Corn Starch
    Borax (anti-fungal?)
    Polyethylene Glycol (helps to keep starch uniformly distributed – not needed if you shake the bottle!)
    Fragrance (not needed)
    Preservative (alcohol?)

    On another note, when I was a kid, we “sprinkled” our laundry, rolled it up, put it in a plastic bag, and put it in the frig for ironing day. Trust me when I say that slightly damp cotton is FAR easier to iron than dry cotton. BUT, if you can’t iron your clothes right away, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE don’t leave your “sprinkled” clothes out of the frig. They WILL mildew and will start to smell (think: sour washcloth). I still have a “sprinkler” that fits on a coke bottle (google “laundry sprinkler” to see what they look like), but now I use a pint-sized plastic milk bottle that has a screw top. I simply poked a bunch of holes in the top and fill the washed bottle with water. Works like a charm!

  33. Laurel

    I just realized that this would be GREAT for traveling. I usually fill a travel-size spray bottle half full of liquid starch and add the water when I get to where I’m going. I think now I’ll just add some corn starch and add the water later. Every little ounce counts when you travel around the world for business! I swear my suitcase gets heavier with every mile!

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