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Household uses for cornstarch

By on May 4, 2011

Cornstarch is a frugal household staple. It’s primarily used as a thickener when baking and cooking (think: sauces, stews, gravies and casseroles). But much like baking soda and vinegar, it’s a versatile product that can be used daily around your home. How have you used it?
Here are a few handy reasons to keep some in your pantry.



If you have a knot in your yarn or shoelaces or your pet has matted fur, sprinkle some cornstarch on it to help detangle the problem.


According to Argo & Kingsford (, you can use cornstarch to make laundry starch. In a large bowl or pot, stir 1/2 cup of corn starch into 1 cup of cold water. Stir in boiling water (2 quarts for a heavy solution; 4 quarts for medium and 6 quarts for a light solution). Dip the clothing into the starch solution and let dry. To iron, sprinkle the garments lightly with warm water, roll up and place in a plastic bag until evenly moistened, then iron as usual. Their website shares other household tips such as using cornstarch to relieve a mild sunburn, itch from rashes or hives, for cleaning windows and pots and pans and to polish silver.


Cornstarch works well on grease and blood stains. For a grease stain, simply sprinkle cornstarch onto the garment and allow it to set and absorb the grease for a few hours. Brush off. The cornstarch will remove grease spots on walls, too. Rub cornstarch onto the wall with a soft cloth. For blood stains, make a paste using cornstarch and water. Apply the paste to the blood stain and let it dry. Scrape off the paste and launder as usual.


In a previous column, I shared fun craft recipes for kids (finger paint, mock moon sand and sidewalk paint) that use cornstarch. You can make homemade clay, too. One reader, C.J., from Canada shares the following recipe:

1 cup cornstarch
2 cup baking soda
1-1/4 cup cold water

Stir the cornstarch and baking soda together in a saucepan. Mix in the water and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches a slightly moist, mashed potato consistency. Cover with damp cloth. When clay is cool enough to handle, knead it like dough until it is easy to use. Create or store it in an airtight container for later use. When creation is dry, decorate with water colors, poster paints, felt tip pens or leave them plain.


Mix 1/4 cup of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan and stir until smooth. Heat until it thickens. Let cool. Dip yarn scraps (about 1 foot long each piece) into the cornstarch paste mixture and use cookie cutters as molds to shape the yarn ornament. Allow to harden on wax paper. Once dried, hang as an ornament, make a garland or attach a magnet on the back and hang on the refrigerator. Visit for a tutorial.


Cornstarch is a Mod Podge/liquid starch alternative. Stir 1/4 cup corn starch into 1/2 cup cold water. Add 4 cups of boiling water and mix. Cut fabric into desired shapes and apply to the wall or door using the cornstarch paste and a paint brush. It can be removed and updated easily.

photo by carianoff


  1. Frugally Savvy

    5/4/2011 at 7:19 pm

    I use cornstarch to iron my clothes to get the wrinkles out

  2. Saule

    5/6/2011 at 3:47 pm

    I use cornstarch instead of flour or even batter in things like sweet and sour pork – it makes a light, crunchy coating without the heaviness that flour can bring.

  3. Dan

    5/26/2011 at 9:18 am

    @Frugally Savvy
    I was really amused and surprised to read that you use cornstarch for ironing. I haven’t seen anyone do that since I saw my mother do it 40 years ago.

  4. Lynn Bishop

    8/24/2012 at 10:42 am

    cornstarch is wonderful for sweat rash, especially for bigger people, under the stomach or breasts, just get a small handful, lay on a bed or something, lift the stomach or breast and liberally spread the cornstarch. Pain will stop almost instantly.
    And for Diaper rash with you baby, cornstarch works wonders with any wet sore rash, especially when baby is cutting their teeth, diaper rash can get angry very quickly. Just gently open the cheeks of baby’s bottom, and liberally pat cornstarch all over the sore area, the stinging from red skin will stop almost immediately, and will probably be gone next diaper change. (work in the same area with adults, when one has stomach flu)

  5. Sandy

    4/13/2015 at 1:43 pm

    Help. I used liquid starch as a glue to put a tree (cloth) on the wall for my granddaughter’s nursery. Worked like a charm. However, I now have residue where I wiped the wall around the cut out tree. I did not know the liquid starch had castor oil in it. So I thought I could just wipe it off after the tree dried. No, it is not coming off with water or dawn and water. Do you know if there is anyway to remove the starch residue from my wall? If not, I guess I’ll have to get creative and faux paint around the tree.

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