We use a lot of cornstarch in our cooking since regular flour is off limits in our house. But that’s certainly not all it’s good for! There are lots of practical uses for cornstarch outside the kitchen. From untangling knots to soothing sunburns, to making finger paint! It’s the powder with a practical punch!
Cornstarch is a starch derived from the corn kernel. Starches have been used in various ways since 1000 BC, when wealthy ancient Egyptians used starch derived from various grains to make things like cosmetics and adhesives. We’ve used cornstarch extensively here on the blog over the years, so I decided it was high time we dedicated a post to this wonderful powder!
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You can thicken sauces and gravies with a bit of cornstarch. Mix cornstarch with a little water and add while cooking.
Make Fluffy Omelets
You can make fluffy omelets with the help of cornstarch. Mix one fourth teaspoon cornstarch in one egg, beat and cook the omelet.
Cornstarch can be used to soothe and calm skin irritations, including sunburns and skin reactions. Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with cold water to form a thick paste. Use a gauze pad or cotton ball to apply to the skin and let dry, then rinse with warm water.
Cornstarch is a very fine powder with an excellent ability to absorb moisture. Throw in some baking soda and a little coconut oil, and you’ve got a great DIY deodorant!
Click here to get the recipe!
Removing Oil Stains
Cornstarch is great for tackling oily spills and smears. Sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch on the stain and let sit for an hour or so to draw out the moisture. Then proceed with your usual cleaning technique!
Bleach pens are super handy to have around the house for things like ring around the collar, cleaning grout, and even crafting. Use cornstarch to make your own bleach pen at home for pennies!
Click here for the recipe.
If you’re trying to untie a tight knot, you can make it easier by sprinkling some cornstarch on the knot and rubbing in in a bit. The cornstarch will reduce the friction between the fibers of the the rope, making it easier to untie.
Homemade Face & Finger Paint
You can make finger paint by boiling cornstarch with water until it is thick. Mix food coloring to the paste and it is turned into finger paint.
You can also create face paint for a kid’s birthday party! Mix cornstarch and vegetable shortening to create the face paint then add food coloring for different colors.
Matte Nail Polish
If you love matte nail polish, you can make it at home with cornstarch. Just mix cornstarch with a nail polish on a small paper plate (or even on a post-it note) and then immediately apply it to your nails.
Clean Your Playing Cards
Are your playing cards looking a little grimy? Shake them in a bag with cornstarch to lift dirt and grease and then wipe them dry to remove the excess.
Clean Stuffed Animals
You can clean stuffed animals with cornstarch. Put the stuffed animal in a paper bag, seal and shake the bag then leave it overnight. The next day, take the stuffed animal out of the bag and shake it well or use your vacuum attachment.
Dry shampoo comes in handy when you’re in a rush and don’t have time to give your hair a full wash and dry. I posted both a wet and a dry version in the past, and I love them both! The wet version makes it easier to avoid a powdery mess, and the dry version is great for traveling!
Click here for the wet version.
Click here for the dry version.
Applying a cornstarch paste to a bug bite can help keep it clean and dry while minimizing itchiness. Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch with cold water and thick paste. Use a gauze pad or cotton ball to apply to the affected area.
Freshen Musty Books
Get rid of musty smells in old books with a sprinkle of cornstarch. You’ll love how fresh they smell!
This spray starch made using cornstarch will have your shirts and slacks looking crisp and sharp! It’s easy to make and works every bit as good as the store-bought spray starches.
Click here to get the recipe.
Use cornstarch to polish your silver! Mix cornstarch with water to form a paste. Dip a damp cloth in the paste and apply to silver items. When the paste becomes dry, rub it down with a soft cloth.
Translucent Face Powder
Translucent face powders can help minimize the appearance of pores, reduce shine, and prolong the wear of your makeup. Make an easy DIY face powder at home using cornstarch!
Click here to get the recipe!
Athlete’s foot is a smelly foot condition caused by fungus that grows in the skin of the foot. The fungus flourishes in warm and wet places like sweaty shoes, which is why the condition commonly affects athletes. Help prevent athlete’s foot by sprinkling cornstarch in athletic shoes, which will help absorb moisture.
Scented Milk Bath
Treat yourself and your skin to a moisturizing and nourishing milk bath. The addition of cornstarch helps to relieve dryness and itching, making it a perfect treat for rough winter skin!
Click here for the recipe.
Chafing help: If you tend to chafe, rub a dust of cornstarch on problem areas before putting on clothes. Do not use on babies for diaper rash.
For squeaky clean windows, add 1/2 cup of ammonia, 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to a bucket of warm water. Apply the solution to your windows with a clean cloth, and wipe clean with a paper towel or lint-free cloth.
Homemade Blush and Bronzer
You can make your own all-natural blush and bronzer right at home! Simply mix cornstarch with either hibiscus powder or ground cinnamon (or both!).
Click here for all the details.
Handles of sports equipment like tennis rackets and golf clubs are easier to grip when dry. Give handles a light dusting of cornstarch to help absorb perspiration and avoid slipping!
Lift Scorch Marks From Fabric
Wet the scorched area with water, cover wet area with cornstarch, let it dry & brush away.
Remove Blood Stains
Use cold water to make a paste, apply to the stain and rub it in, let the fabric dry in the sun, remove remaining cornstarch. Still there? Repeat until it’s all gone..
Clean Dog Fur
Apply cornstarch on the fur of your dog. Rub the fur and brush it. It will remove dirt from the dog’s body.
Eliminate Floor Squeaks
Have a squeaky floor or obnoxious step? Dust the offending area with cornstarch, allowing it to penetrate the cracks. You should notice a significant improvement!
Because corn starch absorbs moisture, it is critical to keep it in an air-tight container where it will not be exposed to humidity. Corn starch should also be kept away from extreme heat. Store your corn starch in a sealed container and in a cool, dry place. When stored properly, corn starch will last indefinitely.