Cornstarch. It comes in a classic yellow box or container, you might use it to make pudding, it's great for making oobleck ... but did you know that cornstarch also has some handy, and really cool uses around the house? It's time to get this staple 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? Try our 10 new uses for cornstarch.
1. Removing fresh stains from carpets
Handy carpet cleaning tip: Apply a mixture of milk and cornstarch to ink and other stains on your carpeting. Allow 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 which species is involved. Don't have the time or inclination to wash? 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 to rest half an hour, and then vacuum. The house should smell cleaner, and the carpet will feel softer and silkier as well. Your Orlando flooring company will be impressed with your maintenance skills.
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! If further floor repair is needed, find a reliable flooring contractor.
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 the bathwater, apply cornstarch between diaper changes, or apply a paste of cornstarch and water to the sunburned area. Enjoy some much-needed relief.
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. Whoops! Too much furniture polish
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! This works on sports equipment and socks, too.
Katie Marks writes for Networx.com.
Updated January 23, 2018.