10 Surprising Things You Can Do with Cornstarch

updated Jun 14, 2021
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Corn starch container and measuring spoon with corn starch
Credit: Kitchn

Collecting tricks to use what we have on hand in new, useful ways empowers us all of the time. In today’s installment of Things You Can Do with What You Already Have at Home, we present you with 10 surprising things you can do with a humble and “usually there but not too often used” pantry staple: cornstarch. 

Credit: Photo: Christine Han; Food Styling: Pearl Jones

1. Make scrambled eggs extra creamy.

To make creamy scrambled eggs, whisk cornstarch and milk together before adding the mixture into your eggs. Go to We Tried 7 Methods for Scrambling Eggs — And Found a Clear Winner for full instructions. 

2. Soothe insect bites and stings.

The idea of eating meals outside (even if it’s just on the porch or a backyard picnic) has us very excited. We’re less excited about stinging and biting insects, though. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a bug bite, make a thick paste of cornstarch and water and apply it to the bite. 

Credit: Erika Tracy

3. Absorb oil stains.

Oil stains are some of the worst, and if you don’t get the oil out before washing and drying, they become nearly impossible to get rid of later. If you get oil splatters on your clothes, sprinkle some cornstarch over the oil as soon as you can. It lifts the oil from the fibers of the shirt. 

4. Detangle knots.

Got an old kite with a tangled string? Shoelaces you can’t seem to get undone? Sprinkle some cornstarch on the offending rope to reduce friction and make it easier to untie. 

5. Refresh grubby stuffed animals.

Teddy looking a bit worse for the wear? Put him in a zip-top bag with some cornstarch and shake him around. Leave him in the bag overnight. Shake him clean and use a nozzle attachment to vacuum him off. 

6. Address musty odors in books.

Books that smell musty can be revived with a sprinkle of cornstarch. 

Credit: Kitchn Video

7. Polish silver.

If you’ve ever pulled out the silver, only to find that it’s seen better days, cornstarch will come to the rescue next time. Make a paste of cornstarch and water, spread it over your silver, and let it dry. Wipe it off with a damp towel and then buff the pieces with a dry towel. 

8. Remove scorch marks from clothes.

If you ironed a bit too long and scorched your fabric, hope is not lost. Try wetting the stain with cold water and sprinkling with cornstarch. Once it’s dry, brush it off. 

9. Make an exceptional glass cleaner.

Mix up what’s known as Alvin Corn (cornstarch is the secret ingredient) and you’ll have one of the best DIY glass cleaners known to man. 

10. Make dry shampoo.

Out of shampoo? Don’t feel like washing your hair? A sprinkle of cornstarch absorbs grease and will help you look presentable at that next meeting.

Got any other fun uses for cornstarch to add to this list? Leave them in the comments below.