Thursday, November 8, 2012

Guest Post: Beyond the Kitchen: 6 Household Uses for Cornstarch

Have you ever wondered what else you can with all the seldom-used dry goods filling your kitchen shelves? Commonly used as a thickening agent in soups, pudding, and sauces, cornstarch is found in most kitchen pantries, but its uses go way beyond cooking. Save money on cleaning, pest control, and even art supplies with these useful ideas for cornstarch. Who knew the stuff could do all this!

1. Clean windows
Say goodbye to pricey, toxic window cleaners. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap with 1 gallon of water. Mix well and apply to windows with a sponge. Squeegee off excess for a streak-free shine.

2. Polish silver
Old becomes new again when you mix up a paste of 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part water. Apply using a soft washcloth and let dry. Buff to a shine using another clean washcloth, and you’re ready for a classy dinner party.

3. Iron clothing
Military creases are easy to achieve if you are out of spray starch. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 pint of cold water in a spray bottle and shake well until cornstarch is dissolved. Spray on clothes and iron as usual for a perfectly pressed look.

4. Get grease stains out of fabrics
No need to throw out a nice shirt because you were clumsy at dinner and got some oil on it. Start by blotting as much grease as you can out of the fabric, then sprinkle some cornstarch over the stain. Let sit for ten minutes, then shake it off. Launder as usual.

5. Keep the roaches at bay
Cockroaches are said to be able to live through nuclear wars, so what is an effective, easy  way to treat them? Here’s a solution: mix 1 part cornstarch to 1 part plaster of Paris. Spread this mixture in areas and crevices where cockroaches are found. The roaches will eat the mixture and die. Don’t forget to vacuum up the dead bugs!

6. Make finger paint
Battle boredom and get the kids excited about a finger-painting project with cornstarch paint. Mix ¼ cup of cornstarch with 2 cups of water. Boil the mixture until it has a slightly thick consistency, like paint. Pour into small dishes and add food coloring to each dish. Mix well and you’re ready for a fun (but messy!) afternoon. Bonus: cornstarch finger paint is non-toxic.

Youa V. writes about about baking tips and family recipes for Become A Better Baker, a guide for bakers of all ages and levels. Become A Better Baker offers dozens of instructional videos, delicous recipes, and great tips for baking with kids.


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