10 Unexpected Uses for Corn Starch!

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Corn starch is the forgotten ingredient so many of us have purchased for one recipe or another. Whether it was to thicken up a sauce, or create the perfect pie filling, there’s more to corn flour than meets the eye. It’s time to dust off that box, y’know, the one sitting at the back of your pantry, and put it to good use. And no, I’m not talking about that cool science experiment from the 5th grade!

Corn starch is inexpensive and there’s so many ways you can use it around the house. Here are just a few ideas for you:

Odor Control

Corn starch, not dissimilar to baking soda, is finely ground, helping to make it super absorbent. This makes it great for attacking unpleasant odors, especially from stinky shoes. Sprinkle a bit into your favourite shoes and let it sit overnight. You can even add a few essential oils and corn starch to a plastic bag, and shake it up before sprinkling to leave your shoes smelling fresh. Just remember to shake it out before wearing them!

Grease Stains

If you don’t have baking soda on hand, corn starch is a great substitute for tackling grease stains on carpet or fabrics. Pour corn starch over the greasy mess and leave it to sit for 15-20 minutes. The cornstarch will absorb the grease and will freshen up your carpet. Once the grease is gone, vacuum the powder away and voila!

Wood Polish

There is nothing worse than most commercial wood polishes that leave your furniture feeling sticky or waxy afterwards. After all, the whole point of polishing your furniture is to leave it looking clean and new! So if you want to maintain your wood furniture and ditch the feeling of greasy residue afterwards, mix equal parts cornstarch and water in a spray bottle. Lightly spray your wood furniture with the mixture and wipe with a microfibre cloth.

Window and Glass Cleaner

Looking to up your window cleaning game? Cornstarch granules are very fine, making it naturally abrasive as an atomic level. Shake up a tablespoon into your window and glass cleaner (water and vinegar) to tackle any bits of grime and make cleaning a breeze. It’ll leave a streak-free shine which is EXACTLY what you want!

DIY Silver Polish (Dinnerware)

You’ve seen me show the best way to clean silver jewelry. Many of you asked for other ideas to tackle other items, like precious dinnerware and other family heirlooms. Another great way to clean silver, specifically dinnerware, is to use cornstarch. Make a paste of cornstarch and water and rub it into your silverware using a soft sponge or microfibre cloth. The cornstarch is abrasive enough to clean your dinnerware without leaving any scratches behind. Once it’s dry, wipe it off and buff it clean to make the silver sparkle.

Clean Leather and Suede Stains

If you’ve had the misfortune of getting greasy food stains on your couch, you might be in the clear. Dust a bit of cornstarch onto the stained area and let it sit overnight.

Professional Cleaning at Home

Ever wonder why clothes from a professional cleaner always seem to be crisp and smooth? I’m going to let you in on a secret. The secret ingredient is starch. If you want your clothes to have that special touch at home, you can make your own starch spray. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 2 cups of cold water in a spray bottle and shake it up. For an extra special twist, you can add 1-2 drops of your favourite essential oil. Spray your clothes lightly before ironing for that professional clean feeling. As an added bonus, assuming you don’t eat like a slob, your clothes will actually last longer, since dirt and perspiration will stick to the starch, not the fabric, so you can wear it again without washing (only if you want to, of course!).

Clean Stuffed Animals

There are some toys you don’t want to put into the wash. But even so, there needs to be a way to clean them! For stuffed animals, they can be cleaned and freshened up using a bit of corn starch. Place your child’s favourite stuffed animal into a paper bag, throw in enough corn starch to coat the toy, and shake it well. Leave it overnight and the next morning, you can either shake it out really well, or use a vacuum attachment to vacuum up the leftover corn starch.

Scorched No More

Have you ever spent time ironing, only to find an imprint of your ironing board on your shirt? Although that dreaded cross hatch pattern is a sign you need a new cover, in the mean time, your clothing doesn’t need to suffer. Wet the scorched area with water, then cover the wet area with cornstarch. Once it’s dry, brush the excess cornstarch away and the scorched mark remains should go with it.

No Water Pet Cleaning

Although you can probably get a dog into a tub, cleaning your cat in water is like attempting to walk on water- it won’t happen. To clean pet hair or fur, sprinkle a bit of corn starch on your pet, rub their fur (like you would shampoo into your hair), then brush it through. This will help remove dirt and other inhabitants that have got caught up in your pets tresses.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

11 COMMENTS

    • Oh no! The starch will remain in the iron and ruin it. ANY substance in the water (minerals, etc) will damage your iron. That is why manufacturers suggest distilled water for your iron.

  1. You are awesome, love your vids, but please please dont put corn flour in your shoes, you will get a fungal infection as fungus loveeeee cornflower

  2. Number 11. Corn starch is also good for replacing baby powder. It is silky soft and absorbent, non-allergenic and if it gets into baby’s eyes by accident, it just breaks down – unlike talcum powder which can irritate. And it’s also cheaper.

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