Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cornstarch unusual uses

Cornstarch is commonly used as a thickener in dishes like pudding, sauce and soup. But don't limit yourself to using cornstarch in the kitchen. Instead of whipping up gravy, channel your inner MacGyver and break out cornstarch to polish silver, fight stains and much more. Here are some of the many ways you can use cornstarch in your cleaning routine.

You can make your old silverware sparkle like new with the aid of cornstarch. First, mix up a paste of starch and water. Use a soft cloth to apply it over your silver. Let it dry, then buff the piece to a beautiful shine.


pizza, grease, cornstarch usesCorbis
- Grease on fabric: To remove stubborn grease stains from fabric, blot as much as you can with a cloth and sprinkle some cornstarch over the stain. Let it sit for ten minutes, then shake it off. To break up the grease, dab the stain with white vinegar. Launder as normal.

- Grease on leather: For stains and spills on leather, sprinkle the spot with some cornstarch and let it sit overnight. Brush it away in the morning. The cornstarch should absorb the grease.

- Grease stains from zinc oxide ointment: This type of ointment is used to clear up diaper rashes, and is a mess to wash off your clothes. To remedy this, use a spoon to scrape off as much of the ointment as you can. Then sprinkle the stained area with cornstarch and let it sit for an hour or so. Brush the starch away and treat the stain with a grease-cutting dish soap. Wash in cool water.

Sometimes after polishing furniture, a little bit remains on the surface. Soak up this residue by lightly sprinkling a little cornstarch on the furniture. Wipe clean and buff. The cornstarch will absorb the excess oil and leave you with a perfectly buffed piece.

cornstarch uses, cleaning windowsPhoto: Getty Images
CLEAN WINDOWSLiquid dish soap and cornstarch make for a budget-friendly window cleaner. Mix a teaspoon of soap and a teaspoon of cornstarch into a gallon of water. Make sure to mix well and apply to the windows with a clean sponge. Squeegee and wipe dry for a streak-free shine.

playing cards, cornstarch usesCorbis
Pop the cards into a paper bag along with a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch. Shake the bag, then dump the cards onto a towel. Wipe the cards down.

Sprinkle cornstarch over the surface and let it sit for half an hour. Then vacuum the carpet as normal. The starch will draw out odors and dirt, cleaning and freshening in one quick step!

Out of spray starch? You can give your clothes a crisp, clean look by ironing with cornstarch. For a homemade spray starch, mix a tablespoon of cornstarch and a pint of water. Put the solution in a spray bottle. Shake well, spray on your clothes and iron as usual. This works just as well as expensive store-bought products -- for a fraction of the price!

Cornstarch is just one of the many items in your kitchen cabinet that can be used in surprising ways.

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