To manage household concerns, I look for products that directly target my troubles. I have a stain problem, then I look for a product that shouts stain remover in the packaging.
The more specialized the product and the higher the price, then the better it works. Well, at least that’s how I simplify it. I don’t really care if it’s child or pet friendly since I don’t have those concerns yet.
Then the virus (who I will not name) came into our lives and made a mess on my routines. Extra hands are needed in looking after older and younger relatives. Thanks to remote working, I was able to move back and live close to my family. But the situation calls for me to do grocery shopping not just for myself but for other people as well.
In the grocery, the shelves are suddenly empty and my go-to solutions are not available. Supply chain problems, I was told. There was no clear timeline when the shelves will be re-stacked again.
There’s another peculiar thing. In my very long grocery list, there’s cornstarch. An older relative wanted the item and asked for lots of it.
After I got home, I asked my relative about it. I finally learned why. With travel restrictions in place, we lose access to some common fixes to our everyday problems. We need to find creative solutions and multiple uses to things we have at hand. And surprisingly, cornstarch is one of those things that offer tons of benefits.
Let me share with you what I learned about cornstarch and how you may find them useful. To begin, let’s answer the basic question.
What is Cornstarch?
Cornstarch, also known as cornflour, is starch sourced from a corn kernel. The process involves soaking, washing, grinding, and finally dried to form the powdery appearance we are familiar with. In case you want to explore making it at home, you can learn more about it here.
Now, what can you do with cornstarch? Hang on and find out its many, many uses.
Cornstarch in Cooking
Cornstarch, in cooking, is known for its thickening properties. It swells with heat when there is moisture. It is used in soups, sauces, pies, and other desserts.
How do you use cornstarch to thicken soups, gravies and other sauces? It should not be directly poured into the heated food you’re cooking. There’s a greater chance that it will lump and ruin the consistency of the sauce.
Dissolve cornstarch first in cold water before mixing it in your hot dish. It’s also important for the mixture to reach boiling point after mixing it in the pan. It is needed to complete the process and retain the thickness when cooled.
I love omelets and I’m sure you do. I want them fluffy but it takes extra time and effort to do so. For a quick fix, add a quarter teaspoon of cornstarch for every whisked egg. It may not be as great as my all-time favorites but it did not take me almost an hour to prepare.
Are you on a gluten-free diet? You can still have that crispy fried chicken you crave. Use equal parts cornstarch and cassava flour for the coating. Mix it with egg so the breading sticks to the chicken as you fry it.
Beyond appetizers and main dish, cornstarch also delivers delicious desserts. They are used as thickeners for pies. Fruits release juices while being heated. Cornstarch thickens the juice so the pie won’t be a hot mess.
The proper application will depend on the type of fruit to be used. It’s also a staple in vegan baking as an egg substitute. If you’re looking for a dessert that’s easy to prepare, you can try this recipe for basic vanilla pudding.
Cornstarch helps you prepare food, but not just as an ingredient. If you are fond of baking, you probably know that fondants tend to stick to counters when rolling out.
Bakers dust the surface with confectioners’ sugar to avoid sticking. If you are doing this at home, you can sprinkle cornstarch as an alternative. It’s practically tasteless and odorless and will not do anything to alter your fondant.
11 Amazing Uses for Cornstarch
1. Cornstarch Those Skin Rashes Away
Are you dealing with annoying skin irritations? Below are some tips on how to soothe them with our favorite ingredient for today.
- Skin irritation in small areas
Add cold water to cornstarch to form a paste. Mix until consistency is similar to a sandwich spread.
To apply, rinse the target area with warm water. Lightly pat with a soft cloth to dry. Then spread the cornstarch paste to the irritated skin with gauze or cotton. Do this before bedtime to give it enough time to do its magic. This method is also good for sunburns, and skin allergies.
- Bug Bites
Bites from insects tend to be itchy if exposed to oil, bacteria, and a damp environment. Create the cornstarch paste and apply to the bite area. It will help reduce the itchiness by keeping the area dry.
- Relieving itchiness in large areas
FIll a cup with equal parts of cornstarch and baking soda. Add this to a bathtub filled with warm water. Soak in the tub for half an hour. Do this daily until the itchiness is gone.
Eczema is a familiar concern among many Americans. More than 30 million have some form of this condition. So if you’re one of them, don’t feel bad. Home remedy is available with the use of cornstarch paste. But this time, don’t use water as it can further dry the skin. Use moisturizing oil instead. Grapeseed and olive oils are good options.
Blisters thrive in skin areas that suffer constant rubbing. Think of moist clothes and shoes. To relieve the area from pain, apply cornstarch to the affected skin before wearing your outfit. Sprinkling cornstarch to shoes not only helps avoid blisters, but takes out the foul smell too.
Safety precaution, don’t put cornstarch on open blisters. It can lead to infection.
A very important reminder, consult your doctor if the rash or redness worsens.
2. Cornstarch Hair Salon
This may sound weird but the kitchen cornstarch can serve as a dry shampoo. Mix one tablespoon each of cornstarch and isopropyl alcohol then add 4 tablespoons of water. Shake them well and it’s ready for use. Pour in a spray bottle for easy application to your hair.
To apply, brush your hair up and spray to the roots. The spray bottle should be half feet away. Especially target the oily areas. Sprayed areas should be damp at most, not soaked.
Then spread out the solution to your hair with the use of a regular brush. Let it dry on its own or use a hairdryer. This is a good solution to freshen up your hair when you don’t have time to shower.
There’s another way to prepare your dry shampoo. Take 1 part cornstarch and 1 part … nothing else. It is that simple. Use a powder brush to apply it on and around the oily roots. Then brush it to distribute to the rest of your hair.
The downside is this method only works for lighter shades. For women (or men) with darker hair, there’s an extra ingredient. Add cocoa powder to the cornstarch and mix to add color. The quantity of cocoa powder depends on the shade you need. Here’s a video guide on how you can do this.
Cornstarch can help you achieve a shine-free makeup. Just lightly dust it with a brush over your finished makeup.
3. Cornstarch Nail Salon
Visiting nail salons nowadays seems to be out of the question. If you want to give your nails a new look, cornstarch can help. It won’t provide a shiny manicured nail at all. In fact, it gives the opposite. The result is matte-colored nail polish for that unique look.
In a small container, pour sufficient nail polish for your fingers. Sprinkle a few cornstarch. Be conservative and add minimal amounts until you get desired results. Mix then apply to your nail. See for yourself the results.
Another way to do this is to apply the nail polish first to your nails. Before it dries, add cornstarch using a brush or sifter. Learn more about this method in this video.
4. Playtime with Play Dough
If you live in the city and have kids at the house, you surely know how irritating they can be if they want to get out and play. So far, the young ones are still discouraged to roam around unsupervised. We have to offer them other activities that they can do on their own without adding to screen time.
Inspire the children’s creativity. Instead of buying modeling clay online, encourage the kids to make their own. All you need is cornstarch and conditioner, something you likely have extra stock in your home. Mix 2 parts cornstarch, 1 part conditioner. And that’s it, a safe activity that the children can do now rather than wait for delivery.
For extra fun, feel free to add a few drops of food dye to give some color. Friendly reminder, food dyes can stain clothes. Volunteer to do it yourself so you don’t have to deal with splotches later on.
You can make slime from cornstarch too. The basic version is adding small amounts of water until. Do this until the kids get the slimy consistency they want. They can also use dish soap instead of water. Food dyes or glitters are still nice additions.
With cornstarch play dough and slime, you’ll have instant child-friendly activities. It is one way to keep them occupied so you can focus on the things that you are set to do.
5. Dust Off the Stuffed
Stuffed toys usually come with cleaning instructions and they are expected to be durable enough for machine wash. But what if the favorite stuffed animal of your little one lost the tag with the instructions? Or if the plush toy has some electronic music box inside that makes those fancy sounds? To clean them, all you need is a large plastic bag with zip-lock and cornstarch.
Place the toy in the plastic bag. Pour two cups of cornstarch. Zip to close then shake and shake vigorously. Make sure the toy’s surface is covered entirely with cornstarch. Leave it closed for two hours and let the powder work its magic — absorbing dust and bad smell. Then take the toy outside and brush to dust off. You may use a vacuum cleaner too. The toy is ready for use.
A safety precaution, cornstarch can only clean the surface. If the toy was soaked in mud or floodwaters, do not rely on dry cornstarch cleaning.
6. Pet Grooming With Cornstarch
If it’s good for your hair, it must be good for your pet’s fur right? Yes. you are correct.
Cornstarch is one way to deal with the matted hair of your canine friend. The material will not irritate your dog. To deal with the tangled mess, sprinkle cornstarch to the affected fur. Loosen up the knots with your hand. Then use a comb and brush for a smooth fluffy finish. A nice distraction for your friend while doing this will make things easier.
Beyond the knots in the fur, you can also use cornstarch as a dry shampoo for your pet. See how this is done.
Now you know what cornstarch can do for you, for the kids, and even your pets. Let’s move on and take a look at what this wonderful kitchen item can do for the rest of your house.
7. Cornstarch as a Stain Remover
Do you have trouble removing grease stains and oil in your clothes? Cornstarch is a great alternative to remove those unwanted colors.
To begin, lay the garment down on a flat surface. Cover the entire stained area with cornstarch. The next step is the biggest one. Walk away and don’t disturb the cloth for 15 minutes. Wait for at least an hour for the really nasty stains. Cook, chat with friends, or whatever you feel like doing for the time being.
And when you feel like it, go back to your fabric problem and brush the cornstarch away. You may have to use a sponge for any residual powder. If there are still some unwanted marks, use any grease cleaning soap or other stain removers.
8. Grease-free Kitchen
All kitchens will have grease in backsplashes and walls after a fun day of cooking. For a quick chemical-free clean, sprinkle cornstarch on a rag. Wipe away the grease and the kitchen’s ready for tomorrow’s menu.
9. Carpet Care With Cornstarch
After months of closed doors, your carpet badly needs to freshen up. Cornstarch is still our friend but with the help of baking soda. These ingredients absorb dirt and odor. To clean, combine 1 part cornstarch, 6 parts baking soda. Sprinkle across the carpet and be careful not to pile up in certain areas. Grab your vacuum and suck the bad smell out.
If cornstarch can remove the stains from your clothes, it can do this to your carpet too. Sprinkle the powder on the stained area then vacuum the stain away. Precaution, be conservative in spreading the cornstarch as this can later cause problems to your vacuum cleaner.
10. Cleaner for Silver
Are you keeping those silverware for use in thanksgiving dinner? It turns out cornstarch can help you too. To restore the shine of your silvers, pour equal parts of water and cornstarch in a container. Mix until you form a paste. Spread the paste to your dinnerware and wait to dry. Clean with a damp cloth until the shine is restored.
11. Unknot the Knot
As you wish to untie a very tight shoelace or any rope for that matter, don’t sweat it out. You just need to reduce friction to make the task easier. Dust the knot with cornstarch and save yourself from wasted time and frustration.
Where do I find cornstarch in the grocery store?
Now that you know many of its domestic uses, where do you find it in the grocery store?
Cornstarch is still known as a food ingredient, primarily as a thickening agent. Hence it’s still located in the food section. Look for it in the baking supplies. It is usually beside the flour, baking soda, and other powdery stuff used in baking.
If not, look around that aisle. If it’s still not there, it’s probably not available in that store. But you can still ask the grocery worker if they really don’t have it.
Cornstarch can be the primary component of many hygiene products scattered across different aisles. But they are not branded as such. You’ll just learn about it after reading through the labels.
How do I store cornstarch at home?
Cornstarch is good at absorbing moisture. It must be kept inside a sealed container in a cool, dry place. This is necessary to cut its access to humidity in the air. With proper storage, the cornstarch is expected to last a very long time.