This Weird Hack For Removing Corn Silk Works Like Magic

corn silk

Eating fresh corn on the cob is one of my favorite summertime traditions, no matter how many corn kernels end up stuck in my teeth! ;-) But it’s not all fun and games with farm-fresh corn, because before you can cook it up and slather it in butter, someone has to “shuck” it!

corn silk

The Problem: Stubborn Corn Silk!

Shucking corn (which is just the process of removing the husk and silk) isn’t necessarily hard work, but finding a way to remove all those sticky corn silks left behind can feel downright impossible!

And if you don’t manage to remove all the silk with the husk, you can bet those silky threads are going to end up on your kitchen floor, your countertop, and even in your teeth later on.

corn silk

The Solution: Use The Right Tool For The Job

But I recently discovered a quick and easy way to remove the silks off of an ear of corn, and it takes about two seconds to do! It turns out that solving the corn silk problem is just a matter of finding the right tool!

Some brands sell a special brush you can use to de-silk your corn, but gadgets like these don’t always work as advertised. And with the method I’ll be sharing with you today, you may already have everything you need at home!

corn silk

How To Remove Silk From Corn The Quick & Easy Way

All you need for this simple hack is a small piece of shelf liner. You’ll want a shelf liner like this one that has a decent amount of “grip” and feels slightly tacky to the touch.

corn silk

If you have a larger piece of shelf liner, use a pair of scissors to cut out a piece of liner that it is slightly bigger than the size of your hand.

corn silk

After removing the husk from an ear of corn, just rub the shelf liner over the surface of the kernels. The liner will grip onto the silks and pull them away from the corn!

corn silk

I was honestly a bit shocked at how well this worked! I’ve been shucking corn every summer since I was kid, and I’ve never been able to remove all the silks as quickly and easily as I can with this hack. I ended up cutting up several squares to give to family and friends who were just as impressed as I was!

corn silk

Bonus Tip: Easy Microwaved Corn

Interested in cooking up some quick, mess-free corn in a hurry? Just pop one ear of corn in your microwave (husk and all), and cook it for 4 minutes.

When it’s done, use an oven mitt to remove the corn from the microwave and hold it steady on your cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut off the bottom end of the corn, right through all the husks, silks, and cob.

Finally, squeeze the ear of corn from the top of the husk. The cooked corn will slide right out, leaving the husk and silk behind!

Related: 10 Genius Corn On The Cob Hacks That Will Change Everything

Do you have a favorite tip for shucking, cooking, or eating corn on the cob?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • Sounds like a good idea, but would wash & dry the line first, since it is directly on food, as the rolls may not be “food ready” depending on the packaging they come in. Sitting on the shelves in stores, etc. I have used dry or damp paper towels and that worked well for me.

  • I have been a follower for over a year. Love the ideas. However, recently it is almost impossible to read the site because it is covered with ads. I have to peek over the ad in order to read one sentence at a time! I am about ready to give up as a follower.

  • I’ve been using microwave for Years. Put one in while you’re cooking, setting table etc, buy the time you eat, they are all done or keep coming. The pesticide on the husks is not a problem because it gets “shucked” off and trashed. Soooo much time is saved. Using the shelf liner, you still have to husk first, that’s the time waster and a job nobody wants.

    • The insecticide and pesticide can be absorbed into the corn husk. That’s the only way the treatment is effective to kill worms and bugs that normally would be eating the corn. That’s why it is important to wash the corn before cooking it unless the corn has not been treated in which case worms and/or bugs would be visible.

  • I find my Instant Pot to be much more efficient for cooking corn if cooking several ears. Also be very careful about cooking corn with the husks on the cob. Insecticide and pesticide residue used by farmers can remain on the husk.

  • THIS looks awesome!!! I love fresh corn on the cob (or even better, Columbian Street Corn), but the silks do make me a little crazy. I can’t wait to try this… Thanks so much Jillee

  • i did the shelf liner hack tonight and it worked real slick. saved a lot of time not having to pick off all the corn hairs. have also done the microwave thing and it is a time saver. just a warning to be sure and use a pot holder or mit as the corn is extremely HOT.

  • I’v been microwaving corn in the husk over 30 years (ever since I lived in the Philippines where they drop the whole ear (w/husk) into boiling water! Pull off the outer ears (break the back off and trim the silks off the end) Add 1/4 c water and cook on high 3 min per ear. I take them to the table in the husks and wear rubber gloves when I remove the husks and serve steaming hot. The silks simply slide off w/husks.

  • This would work wonderful for my 91 year old mother! She tried the microwave method, but she’s been boiling her corn her whole life…so boiling it will be!
    This step, even with her arthritis should help her alot! We have 5 rows of sweet corn ready, so I can’t wait to try this!

    • This totally sounds like my Dad. He prefers use the method your mom uses. I showed it to him and he wasn’t impressed. I’m not able to eat corn due to severe allergies. My Dad is 80 it must be a generational thing.

  • I will definitely try this technique for removing silks. I cook my corn in the instant pot. One minute under pressure, using the trivet, perfection. One minute for one, two, three or four ears. The time remains the same. I leave the ears in the pot until we are ready to eat them. They stay warm that way. ( Why is everything a “hack” these days?) :/

  • We put the cleaned corn wrapped in aluminum foil in the oven. Cook about an hour at 350 degrees. The corn is really sweet that way. The sugar caramelizes. It is really great.

  • I have been cooking corn in the microwave for over a decade. I just never knew about cooking it in the husk. Thanks for that tip. For some reason, it just never comes out as nice when I try and boil it. Sometimes I will par-boil it and then microwave it.

    One question, when you are cooking more than one ear do you add 4 minutes per ear or….?

    • It is 4 minutes per ear. I wasn’t sure but did 12 minutes for 3 ears and they came out perfect. 8 minutes for 2. I haven’t cooked more than 3 ears at a time though. Been leaving the husks on for over a year now and the best way to cook…and clean…corn on the cob IMO.

  • The microwave method is the method that I use the most often. The first time I saw it on the internet, I was left awe stricken and didn’t believe that it could be true, but I became a believer after I tried it. I was still using a vegetable brush and paring knife to remove the silk. Ugh….what a task! It’s great for a few ears of corn, but really too time consuming if you have a bushel of corn to shuck. Now, I have another method that will be effective when I have lots of corn to shuck. Thanks, Jillee!

  • I actually found some shelf liner rolls, very similar to your puctures but much smaller, at the dollar store by my house! I have used it for shucking corn before! I haven’t tried the microwave for cooking ears of corn yet but I will now! Thanks!

    • Before I bought my first microwave in 1980 I read all the micro cookbooks the library had. The only one I bought was Madame Benoit’s Microwave cookbook.Remove husk silk. Butter like you where going to eat it now (or Margarine works just as well) Shake a small amount of white sugar over it. I use a salt shaker. Wrap 2 cobs in wax paper and micro 2 mins turn over, micro 2 more. Bet you never go back to another method. A friend and I bought a dozen each at a stand years ago and I cooked us some this way for lunch. She boiled hers for supper and said she would have thought she had different corn than mine if she hadn’t known better. So she’s been a converted micro fan ever since. With the tips today for getting rid of the silk no excuse for not trying this. Definitely worth it. On another not before I got the microwave a 100 lb tank of propane lasted 3 months. After I used the microwave so much propane lasted 6 months. Ive baked cakes pies and roasted turkeys in microwave. Roasts don’t shrink and if its cooked more than 20 mins browns on its own. My mum told me Sears should have paid me because 3 families who had supper at my house bought microwaves after. And no, even after 40 years of using a microwave for the biggest percentage of cooking I don’t glow in the dark.

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