10 uses for cornstarch outside the kitchen
From stain removal to dry shampoo, cornstarch isn't just for cooking.
Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 02:16 PM
Sure, it's great for cooking and making oobleck, but did you know that cornstarch actually has some really cool, and handy, uses around the house? It's time to get this ingredient out of the kitchen and put it to work — because, let's face it, do you really use more than a few tablespoons of it a year otherwise?
1. Removing fresh stains from carpeting
Apply a mixture of milk and cornstarch to ink and other carpet stains. Allow them to dry completely before vacuuming up the mess, and your stain should come right out! This trick also works on fabric and leather (but skip the milk -- just use cornstarch and water).
2. Dry shampoo (for you and for Fido)
cornstarch is a great dry shampoo for greasy, slightly stinky hair, no matter what species is involved. Dust some cornstarch in and then brush it out, allowing this lightweight powder to lift away grease and dirt.
3. Carpet freshener
cornstarch picks up odors well, so if your carpet is smelling a little funky, scatter cornstarch on it, allow it to rest half an hour, and then vacuum to pick it up. The house should smell cleaner, and the carpet will feel softer and silkier as well.
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!
5. Silver polish
As a gentle silver polish, a cornstarch and water paste will lift stains and tarnish without scratching. Simply scrub, wash, rinse, and hand-dry.
6. Soothe irritated skin
Have a baby crying with diaper rash, or sunburned skin aching at every touch? Add a little bit of cornstarch to bathwater, apply cornstarch between diaper changes, or use a paste of cornstarch and water to relieve the sunburned area.
7. Cleaning cards
Are your playing cards a little too well-loved? Shake them in a bag with cornstarch to lift dirt and grease and then wipe them dry to remove the excess.
8. Too much furniture polish? No problem
If your hand slipped with furniture polish or wood oil, don't panic. Dust the area with cornstarch and buff; the cornstarch will absorb the fluid and lift it up, leaving a clean, shiny surface behind.
Stubborn knots can be a pain. Apply a little cornstarch to act as a dry lubricant so you can more easily pull knotted thread, string, ribbon, and other materials around while you're working to pull them apart. Handy for those of us who constantly seem to end up with our shoelaces in a knot!
If you have dirty shoes, you could try an enzymatic cleaner...or you could bust out the cornstarch. Dust the shoes with cornstarch, allow to sit overnight, and then knock the shoes clean. The cornstarch will absorb the odor, leaving a much better scent behind! The same goes for sports equipment and socks, too.
Related stories on MNN:
- 10 cooking staples that can outlast you
- 11 unusual uses for milk
- 24 smart uses for sugar
- 11 uses for Epsom salt
Click for photo credits
Dry shampoo: Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock
Sunburn paste: kosmos111/Shutterstock
Shoes: Alex James Bramwell/Shutterstock