Cornstarch : It’s not just for gravy anymore

Guest post by K.C.

Face Paint – You can use cornstarch to make face paint that will be just as good at the type of face paint that clowns use. It is quite easy to make your own clown makeup with cornstarch, just mix two parts of cornstarch with one part of white vegetable shortening to make a non-toxic grease paint.

image by Francs Starr

image by Francs Starr

You can even make different color variations by just adding a few drops of food coloring (non-staining) of your choice and mixing until you get the desired shade of color you want. This would be great for Halloween or even just to do with the children on a rainy, hot or cold day that would require them to stay inside.

Windows – You can use cornstarch to make a spray that you can use on windows to make them sparkle. You can create your own streak-free window cleaning solution by mixing 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup ammonia and 1/2 cup white vinegar in a bucket containing 3-4 quarts (3-4 liters) warm water. The cornstarch window solution should have a milky appearance. Mix well and put the cornstarch solution in a trigger spray bottle. Fill another spray bottle with some warm water. Spray the cornstarch solution on the windows, then spray the warm-water rinse. Now wipe dry with a paper towel, newspaper or lint-free cloth.

Finger paint –  To create your own cornstarch finger paint, mix a quarter cup of cornstarch with two cups of water. Then boil the cornstarch mixture on the stove until it has the consistency of paint. Remove the cornstarch mixture from the stove and pour into separate dishes. To make different colors all you need to do is to add a few drops of food coloring to each dish and mix well until your desired color is achieved. Finger paint made with cornstarch is not only fun but non-toxic and edible as well.

Household Pests – You can use cornstarch to kill those pesky roaches that invade your home. To create a cornstarch mixture that will kill roaches

image by Sarah Korf

image by Sarah Korf

simply mix equal parts of cornstarch and plaster of Paris together. Sprinkle the mixture into cracks and crevices. The cockroaches will then eat the cornstarch and plaster of Paris mixture and will then die.

Spray Starch – You can use cornstarch to make your own version of spray starch for clothing. Simply mix one tablespoon of corn starch and one pint of cold water. Stir to dissolve the corn starch completely. Then fill a spray bottle with the cornstarch mixture and use normally as you would any starch. Remember to shake the cornstarch mixture well before each use.

Leather / Furniture Stains – You can use cornstarch to help you eliminate stains on leather items such as furniture, clothing, briefcases or even shoes. To get rid of potential oil stains from leather simply apply cornstarch to the oil spot. Then leave the cornstarch in place overnight to give the cornstarch time to soak up the grease. The next day use a clean cloth to brush off all of the corn starch. Oil is usually brushed off with the cornstarch.

Mold / Mildew on Books – You can use cornstarch to help you prevent and kill mildew in your books that have been damaged by water and are still damp. Just sprinkle cornstarch all throughout the book to absorb the moisture of the damp pages. Let the cornstarch sit several hours or even overnight. Then simply brush the pages clean. Remember to brush the cornstarch out of the pages outdoors so as not to trap any mold spores inside your home.

Unknotting– It happens to the best of us. You try to untie your shoes and it gets into a tough knot, hair gets tangles and so do many other things around the home. If you have cornstarch in the house, you don’t have to worry. Simply sprinkle a little cornstarch on the knots and it will come loose for you.

For your body:  a sprinkle of corn starch in your shoes can help to cure athlete’s foot. The starch will absorb moisture and reduce rubbing which can irritate your skin. You can also add water to make a corn starch paste and apply to sunburns and soothe skin irritations.

Cornstarch also works great as a dry rub shampoo for both you and your pets, or as a substitute for baby powder when used lightly to avoid caking.

For your clothing: Rub cornstarch directly on to oil or grease stains and let sit overnight. Then launder as usual. You can also use corn starch mixed with a little cold water to make a paste and remove blood stains. Let the cornstarch sit to absorb blood, and then brush off.

A sprinkle of cornstarch inside rubber gloves also helps them slide on easily and helps to avoid rubber smell on your skin.

In your home:   It works great to dry clean stuffed animals, playing cards, or anywhere else you need to spot clean but want to avoid the chances of ruining with water.

Cornstarch can be used as a carpet freshener by sprinkling on, allow it to sit, and then vacuum up. Add a drop of your favorite essential oil for a stronger fragrance, or a tablespoon of baking soda as an additional deodorizer.

For mildew stains in the bathroom, especially around seams and seals, make a paste with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, one tablespoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of lemon juice and a quarter cup of water. Mixing well, it creates a paste that is super absorbent and helps to zap moisture. Simply apply using the abrasive side of a sponge and scrub until my mildew spots are gone. The citric acid in the lemon juice helps bleach, the baking soda helps to scrub, and the cornstarch helps absorb moisture.  It’s natures perfect paste.

On a final note, Astor Cornstarch Comes in a nice little watertight / airtight yellow container that my fiance finds useful for storing nails, bolts, electrical ends and various other small items in his workshop.

References : Pam Uher, E.D. Cameron, Jane Demerica –, Sandra Overstreet, Contributor for,




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  1. K says

    I have been using cornstarch as a replacement to the chemical laden dry shampoos on the market today. I use it every single week……it keeps my hair really clean and really healthy. And it is so cheap. I bought a box exclusively to be used in this manner and I have been using it for over a year. I put it in a glass shaker jar (like the kind used for parm cheese). I just sprinkle a bit at the roots and off I go! Keep the good (frugal) ideas coming. With the massive increase in groceries/gas, I need to save everywhere I can!

  2. Sheila says

    It can be used to get rid of heat rash. Just apply liberally to the area twice or three times a day until you see the rash going away. Works fast too!. Been using it for over 20 years on my family.


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