You may use cornstarch to thicken your sauces and soups, but there are so many other non-culinary uses that you probably never imagined! This staple found in almost every kitchen drawer that comes from the endosperm of the corn kernel is an extremely absorbent substance that can remove dampness and oil secretions from the body and since it is hypoallergenic and non-toxic, it can be used to both pets and babies, too! Besides that, you can use cornstarch to:
1. Polish your Silverware
Rub your silverware with a cornstarch and a polishing cloth. The fine grains of cornstarch will rub off tarnish and absorb any oil residues without damaging the surface. Now, if you just dust off the remains, you will be dazzled by the high shine.
Tip: Given that cornstarch is edible, there is no reason you can’t use the cutlery you have just polished right after you have treated them.
2. Clean Glass Panes on Doors & Windows
Accumulated dust and grease can be removed if you mix one tablespoon of vinegar and one tablespoon of cornstarch to a ½ quart bottle of water. Give it a good shake and wipe the glass (and mirrors) clean with it. This will leave your glass surfaces streak-free and spotlessly clean.
For stubborn spots or dirt deposited over a long time, make a paste of the mixture mentioned before and use it on a sponge or a piece of cloth. Apply it to the mirror or glass and let it dry a bit. Use cloth or a sponge and rub well to remove grime and polish.
3. Remove Grease Stains from Carpets and Upholstery
Sprinkle cornstarch over the soiled areas and use a nylon brush (choose a stiff one) to rub it in. If you feel necessary, you can add some more. Let is stay for at least 30 minutes. It will absorb the oil and you can remove any residue later on with your vacuum. If you still see traces of the grease stains, just repeat the process.
4. Clean Stuffed Toys
Stuff toys get soiled with grease and dirt so easily and quickly and washing them (and drying them) too often is not recommended if you want to prolong their life. Instead, treat them with cornstarch! How? Put the dirty stuffed toy in a cloth bag or a pillow cover. Add a cup of cornstarch and shake well (don’t forget to close the opening!). Allow the cornstarch to do its magic overnight and take the stuffed toy out in the morning. Use the vacuum cleaner to remove the residue and voila!
5. Deodorize Stinky Shoes
If you are an athlete (or have a teenage child), then you know that stinky shoes is a big problem indeed. When feet get sweaty inside the shoes (especially when wearing shoes made with synthetic materials), microbes are developed that cause the shoes to stink. The most effective way to deal with this issue is to remove the sweat the minute you take off your shoes. So, try to wash (and dry) them frequently and allow cornstarch to absorb the sweat. Just sprinkle it inside the shoes and let it stay overnight. Make sure you give your shoes a good shake so starch reaches all crannies and nooks. In the morning, shake out the powder and wear your shoes!
Tip: You can also sprinkle some sandalwood (or cinnamon) powder inside your shoes. This will reduce the growth of microbes and give your shoes a lovely sweet smell. Another way to deodorize smelly shoes is by using lemon peels!
6. Protect your Vegetable Plants from Worms
Your veggie crops will be completely destroyed by an army of worms that can appear from nowhere and lead chaos behind. Choose the eco-friendly, non-chemical way to protect your vegetable patch by dusting cornstarch on your plants. That way, you cover both the leaves and the ground around the plants and save yourself from getting a respiratory tract irritation from breathing toxic chemicals. This is an excellent trick to keep caterpillars, among many other creepy crawlies, off your precious. You save money and contribute towards a healthier environment. Two points for you!
Important Note: Be careful when using cornstarch on pets and on your body. Make sure you use fresh every time for personal use because it is an organic substance, which means that it involves some microbial activity in its breakdown.
7. Soothe Diaper Rash & Sunburn
Plain cornstarch is much safer than diaper creams and talcum powder, considering that the first is inert and totally edible. Use it every time you change a diaper (a powder puff can help you dust the area).
Now, for red and sore skin after sun exposure, mix cornstarch in cold water to make a paste. Apply a thin coat over the red area and get quick relief. Allow it to dry, before you apply a moisturizer (wash cornstarch before using the moisturizer). If you still feel your skin sore, dip a washcloth in the mixture mentioned above and place it over the suffering area.
Tip: To prevent your already damaged skin from being further irritated, sprinkle cornstarch on the inside of your pajamas or other night clothes and on the bed.
8. Treat 1st Degree Burns and Prevent Chafing
To relief pain and inflammation after a 1st-degree sunburn, make a homemade remedy by adding a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 quarts of water and bathe the problematic area with the solution. If the affected area is rather large, then dip a towel in the solution and gently place it over the scalded skin.
Also, to reduce friction in areas with hard seams rubbing against the body causing the skin to chafe, dust the area with cornstarch. You can use an old talcum powder can to help you sprinkle cornstarch easier.
Tip: Put some lavender blooms inside the talcum powder can for a lovely, enchanting fragrance.
9. Make Non-Toxic Face Paint for Children
In a bowl, mix a cup of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of vegetable fat. Add enough water to make a paste (not too thin) and check out whether you can paint the face with it. If it is too drippy, then add some more cornstarch. In general, adjust the thickness of the paint by adding either more cornstarch or water when (and if) you feel necessary. Then divide the paste between several bowls and pick a different food color to add in each one. Let the creative side take over using your fingers or paint brushes to paint the body and face! And, when the fun is over, you can easily wash it off!