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18 Clever Cornstarch Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

If you're only using cornstarch to thicken sauces and gravies, you're tapping just a fraction of its potential. Check out these clever cornstarch uses beyond the kitchen.

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Cornstarch uses - white marshmallowsPhoto: Shutterstock

Use cornstarch to separate marshmallows

Ever buy a bag of marshmallows only to find them stuck together? Here’s one of the cornstarch uses we bet you never thought of: getting marshmallows unstuck. Here’s how to get them apart: Add at least one teaspoon cornstarch to the bag and shake. The cornstarch will absorb the extra moisture and force most of the marshmallows apart. Repackage the remaining marshmallows in a container and freeze them to avoid sticking in the future.

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Tying running shoesPhoto: Shutterstock

Use cornstarch to untangle knots

Knots in a string or shoelaces can be difficult to undo, but the solution is easy. Just sprinkle the knot with a little cornstarch and you’ll be able to easily work the segments apart.

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Arts and craftsPhoto: Shutterstock

Make your own craft paste

The next time the kids make arts and crafts, try this easy way to make paste. Mix three teaspoons of cornstarch for every four teaspoons of cold water. Stir until it reaches a paste-like consistency. This is especially great for applying with fingers. You can also add food colouring so that the paste can be used for painting objects.

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Cornstarch uses - ironing shirtPhoto: Shutterstock

Lift a scorch mark from clothing

If you move a steam iron around a bit too slowly you could end up with a scorch mark on your favourite shirt. If this happens, wet the scorched area and cover it with cornstarch. Allow the cornstarch to dry, then brush it away—along with the scorch mark.

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Uses for cornstarchPhoto: Shutterstock

Get rid of blood stains

Whether it’s on clothing or table linens, you can remove or reduce a blood stain with this method. Make a paste of cornstarch mixed with cold water. Cover the spot with the cornstarch paste and rub it gently into the fabric. Now put the cloth in a sunny location to dry. Once dry, brush off the remaining residue. If the stain is not completely gone, repeat the process.

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cornstarch uses - polish silverwarePhoto: Shutterstock

Polish silver

If the sparkle has gone from your good silverware, make a paste by mixing cornstarch with water and, using a damp cloth, apply it to your silverware. Let it dry, then rub it off with a soft cloth to reveal that old shine.

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Polishing furniturePhoto: Shutterstock

Soak up furniture polish residue

You’ve finished polishing your furniture, but there’s still a bit left on the surface. Sprinkle cornstarch lightly on furniture after polishing. Wipe up the oil and cornstarch, then buff the surface.

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Modern, minimalist living roomPhoto: Shutterstock

Remove ink stains from carpet

Oh no, ink on the carpet! In this case, a little spilled milk might save you from crying. Mix the milk with cornstarch to make a paste. Apply the paste to the ink stain. Allow the concoction to dry on the carpet for a few hours, then brush off the dried residue and vacuum it up.

Check out more cleaning hacks for stubborn stains.

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Nail polishPhoto: Shutterstock

Create matte nail polish

Matte nail polish is becoming increasingly popular and if you love the look, you can make it yourself at home with a little cornstarch. All you have to do is mix the cornstarch with a nail polish colour of your choosing on a small paper plate and then immediately apply it to your nails.

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Finger paintingPhoto: Shutterstock

Make finger paints

This simple recipe will keep the kids happy for hours. Mix together 1/4 cup cornstarch and two cups cold water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling until the mixture becomes thick. Pour your product into several small containers and add food colouring to each container. You’ve created a collection of homemade finger paints!

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Cornstarch uses - vacuuming carpetPhoto: Shutterstock

Give carpets a fresh scent

Before vacuuming a room, sprinkle a little cornstarch on your carpeting. Wait about half an hour and then vacuum normally.

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Cornstarch uses - dog bath alternativePhoto: Shutterstock

Dry shampoo

Fido needs a bath, but you just don’t have time. Rub cornstarch into his coat and brush it out. The dry bath will fluff up his coat until it’s tub time.

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Applying deodorantPhoto: Shutterstock

DIY deodorant

Cornstarch has an excellent ability to absorb moisture. If you feel your drugstore deodorant isn’t cutting it, try making your own. Mix together two to three tablespoons of coconut oil, 1/8 cup of baking soda and 1/8 cup of cornstarch and done! You have yourself a natural deodorant.

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Cornstarch uses - relaxing in tubPhoto: Shutterstock

Draw a soothing milk bath

Cornstarch can soothe and calm dry skin. Especially during the cold winter months, you can find that your skin is rougher and itchier than usual. In order to help combat irritated skin, treat yourself to a moisturizing milk bath. You will need two cups of whole powdered milk, ½ cup of cornstarch, ½ cup of baking soda, and an essential oil of your choice (use about 10 drops depending on how strong you want the scent). Combine all the powders in a sealable container and shake it until well blended. Then remove the lid and add the essential oil, closing it again and giving it another mix. Let it sit for 24 hours before using and store in a cool, dark place. When you are ready to use it all you have to do is pour one to two cups of the stuff in a hot running bath. Then sit back and relax!

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Stuffed teddy bearPhoto: Shutterstock

Refresh stuffed animals

To freshen up a stuffed animal toy, sprinkle it with a little cornstarch, let sit for about five minutes, and then brush it clean. Or place the stuffed animal (or a few small ones) into a bag. Sprinkle cornstarch into the bag, close it tightly, and shake. Now brush them clean.

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Cornstarch uses - feet in showerPhoto: Shutterstock

Guard against athlete’s foot

This smelly foot fungus grows on the skin of feet due to warm and wet places such as your sweaty shoes. To prevent yourself from developing this condition, sprinkle some cornstarch in your shoes to help absorb any moisture.

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Luxurious kitchenPhoto: Shutterstock

Remove grease spatters from walls

Even the most careful cook cannot avoid an occasional spatter. A busy kitchen takes some wear and tear but here’s a handy remedy for that unsightly grease spot. Sprinkle cornstarch onto a soft cloth. Rub the grease spot gently until it disappears.

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Washing windowsPhoto: Shutterstock

Make windows sparkle

Create your own streak-free window cleaning solution by mixing two tablespoons cornstarch with 1/2 cup ammonia and 1/2 cup white vinegar in a bucket containing three to four litres warm water. Don’t be put off by the milky concoction you create. Mix well and put the solution in a trigger spray bottle. Spray on the windows, then wipe with a warm-water rinse. Now rub with a dry paper towel or lint-free cloth. Voilá!

Now that you’ve got these cornstarch uses under your belt, find out how to use ammonia all around the house.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest