Turn off that stove, put down that cornstarch, and slowly back away. You may be used to using cornstarch to thicken sauces or gravies, but it has many other purposes that are outside the box. Here are a handful of unique uses for this deceptively simple kitchen staple.
Cornstarch can be quickly whipped up into a streak-free window cleaner. In a bucket filled with 3 to 4 quarts of warm water, combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/2 cup of ammonia and 1/2 cup of white vinegar. If the solution looks milky, you’re doing it right. Mix it thoroughly and put the liquid in a spray bottle. Add warm water to another spray bottle. Squirt the cornstarch solution on the window, followed by the warm water rinse, then buff dry with a paper towel or clean cloth. Your glass will be so clear, birds might try to fly right through it.
Roaches may survive a nuclear war, but they’re no match for cornstarch. To create your roach terminator, mix together equal parts of plaster of Paris and cornstarch. Sprinkle the mixture in cracks and crevices, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. The roaches will eat the repellant and go to that big roach motel in the sky. You may want to sprinkle the mixture several times a month to thwart any future invasions.
Goodbye Grease Stains
Grease stains stubbornly stuck on fabric? Blot with a clean cloth and sprinkle cornstarch over the stain. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, then shake the cornstarch off. Break up the grease by dabbing the stain with white vinegar, then launder as you normally would.
Grease stains on leather? Don’t worry – cornstarch will come to the rescue. Sprinkle it on the spot and let it set overnight. Brush it away in the morning and voila! The cornstarch should have absorbed all of the grease.
If you have a baby, chances are you use zinc oxide ointment for diaper rashes. And chances are you know what a mess it can make on your clothes. To clean it up, scrape off as much of the ointment as you can with a spoon. Next, sprinkle the stain with cornstarch, letting it sit for about an hour. Brush the starch away, treat the stain with a grease-cutting dish soap and cool water, and wash the stain down the drain.
Finger Painting Fun
Cornstarch is so versatile, you can even use it to make finger paint. Simply mix 1/4 cup of cornstarch with 2 cups of water. Boil the mixture on the stove until it has a paint-like consistency. Remove it from the heat and pour into separate dishes. Creating different colors is easy – just add several drops of food coloring to each dish and mix. When you make finger paint, it’s not only fun and non-toxic, but also edible – so if your tastes lean in that direction, you can eat it, as well.
No need to try and buff your silver pieces against your sleeve when there’s cornstarch around. Simply create a paste of cornstarch and water. Using a soft, clean cloth, spread it on your silver belongings. Once the paste dries, buff each piece to a glittering shine with a cloth or soft paper towel – no fancy, expensive products necessary.
For a light-as-a-feather facial, mix 1/4 cup cornstarch, one egg white and 2 tablespoons of milk until smooth. Apply the paste to clean, dry skin, then let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with water and pat dry.
For a natural facial cleanser, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of glycerin and 1/2 cup of water until smooth. Heat the mixture in a small pan until it resembles pudding, but don’t boil. Cool completely, then use instead of soap to cleanse your skin.
Want the subtle sweetness of scented body powder? Mix cornstarch with fragrant flower petals like roses, gardenias or lavender. Thoroughly shake this scent-sational concoction, then allow it to sit for a day. Sift the mixture to remove the petals. Then repeat this procedure for four to five days or until the powder is saturated with a floral aroma.
Need a dry shampoo to tide you over between regular shampoos? Simply sprinkle cornstarch over your scalp and hair to absorb oil. Be careful to brush your hair thoroughly afterwards to completely remove excess cornstarch. You can even use this technique on your dog if you have trouble getting it into the tub at bath time – just rub cornstarch into its fur, then comb or brush out.
Face Painting Follies
Your kids can clown around with circus-style face paint made from cornstarch. It’s so effortless that the kids can even help you whip it up. Simply mix two parts of cornstarch with one part white vegetable shortening. This creates a non-toxic greasepaint. Want it to be in a variety of colors? Just add a few drops of food coloring in your favorite shades to get the hue you or your kids want. Face paint is perfect for holidays like Halloween, or on a rainy or snowy day when the kids have to play indoors.
Cornstarch is a very versatile product that has many innovative uses outside of the kitchen. It can aid in anything from cleaning, to your daily beauty routine, to kid-friendly fun. You may get so carried away by these alternative cornstarch ideas that you might just have to resort to using flour the next time you cook.