We all have corn starch sitting quietly in the pantry waiting to be used to thicken a sauce or a gravy but did you know that corn starch can be used beyond the kitchen? I suggest you go buy a second packet today and keep it for the reasons I’m about to list below.


Removing oil stains – sprinkle a generous amount of corn starch on the stain to draw out moisture. Leave for a few hours then proceed with your usual cleaning technique.

Finger paint – Have a budding artist that hasn’t quite earned the right to use oil paints just yet? Make your own paint at home by boiling corn starch with water until thick. Mix in the desired amount of food colouring into the paste and voila! Home made paint that doesn’t cost too much.

Polish your silver – Mix water and corn starch to form a past and apply liberally to the silver items and let it dry. Wipe it off then buff to perfection.

Clean stuffed toys: Washing stuffed toys too often can lead to wear and tear and is quite a mission to get completely dry if you don’t own a tumble dryer. Using corn starch to get the job done is waterless and non-toxic and yet effective. Put stuffed toys in a pillow case with a cup of corn starch and shake to distribute evenly. Leave over night to allow the corn starch to absorb all dirt and grime. Remove the residue with a vacuum.

Get rid of cockroaches – Make a dough with the corn starch consisting of corn starch, boric acid powder, powdered sugar and a few drops of water. Break off small bits of the dough and place in areas were cockroaches are likely to get them such as under the fridge, in cupboards, under the sink and behind doors. The cockroaches will be dehydrated to death and best of all will leave your house to seek water,provided you have no leaking taps etc. Make a fresh batch every 3 weeks to get rid of an infestation and thereafter every 3 months for maintenance.

Dry dog shampoo – Dogs often soil their coats with all kinds of substances when they lay down, in between washes try applying corn starch to your dog’s coat and brush out.

Freshen up your shoes – Sometimes kicking your shoes off after a long days work leads to a very smelly situation. Sprinkle some corn starch into your shoes and let it sit over night. This will draw out the moisture along with the smell and your shoes will be ready for you the next morning. Be sure to shake out the corn starch before you wear them. I also advise not wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row.

Driveways – Nasty oil stains ruining the look of your driveway? Sprinkle some corn starch on the oily spots, leave over night and rinse away in the morning for a clean driveway.


*Tip: Because corn starch absorbs moisture, it is important to store in an airtight container, away from extreme heat and humidity.