Cornflour to combat irritation

We already know cornflour is good for cooking – but what else can it do? Beware: most packets sold in the supermarket labelled “cornflour” are made from wheat. You may need to look carefully to find the effective version: made from corn or maize.

Burns and sunburn

Just dust cornflour onto burns or sunburn, or make a light paste with water and cornflour to dab on. This will take away some of the pain and redness.

Bites and stings

If you are suffering with itching after a bug bite, sting, plant scratch or cat scratch, dust the area with cornflour to relieve itches within a minute.

Reduce friction

A light dusting of corn starch can reduce painful friction where skin meets skin or between your body and any material next to it. Sprinkle it on your skin wherever there is irritation from clothing to prevent chafing, or spread it over bedsheets for a silky sleep that’s friction-free.

Get a grip!

Sweaty hands or weak grip can make it hard to maintain a solid grip on rougher items. Don’t try this with slippery ones! Before use, dust the handles lightly with cornflour to absorb moisture so you can get a better grip.

Sticky sweaty shoes, combat blisters

Dust inside shoes with a little cornflour if feet sticking to shoes, or rub on toes or heels if friction is making your skin red and sore. It works on shoes which are wet from the rain, too.
Sprinkle into new or tight shoes, and wear without socks to prevent blisters. If you get a blister, cornflour can help healing. Blisters and sores often secrete small amounts of fluid, which can attract bacteria and lead to infection. Apply a small amount of cornflour to the wound to keep it clean and dry. Do not use ointment, as this will keep it from drying and healing. You could paint it with iodine if you prefer.


Treat yourself and your skin to a relaxing and moisturising bath. A sprinkle of cornflour to the bathwater helps relieve dryness and itching, making it a perfect treat for dry and rough skin. You might add a little milk as well if you wish.
Cornflour is excellent at soaking up oil, which makes it a great dry shampoo substitute. Mix two parts cornflour with one part baking soda, sprinkle close to your roots and brush through thoroughly. The solution will absorb grease and make your hair look and feel fresher and thicker.
Cornflour’s ability to absorb moisture, along with it’s lack of scent, makes it an excellent ingredient for an all-natural deodorant. Mix equal parts of cornflour with baking soda in the palm of your hand and dust on – or use cotton balls. This is great for people having radiation treatment for cancer, as it won’t irritate your skin.

Detangle knots

If you want to avoid cutting out the tangles in a child or pet’s hair, try rubbing a generous amount of cornflour into the area, and work it into the hair or fur. Brush or comb with wide teeth to loosen the tangles.
If you are struggling to untie a stubborn knot, you might make it easier by sprinkling some cornstarch on the knot and rubbing it in with your fingers. The cornflour will reduce the friction between the fibres of the rope, causing it to loosen and making it much easier to untie.

Household cleaning

Cornflour has many uses as a cleaner. It’s great at removing furniture polish buildup on wood: just sprinkle it on, and add some elbow grease.
Glass cleaner can be made with a quarter cup each of rubbing alcohol and white vinegar, one tablespoon of cornflour and two cups of warm water. Mix it up in a spray bottle and use it on windows for a streak-free shine.
You can use cornflour to polish your silver. Mix with water to form a paste, then dip a damp cloth into the paste and apply it to silver items. When the paste dries, brusk it off, and then buff the silver with a soft cloth.

Egg-stra kitchen uses

Did you forget to buy eggs? A mix of cornflour and water can replace an egg in many baked items. The ratio varies between recipes but typically one tablespoon of cornflour and three tablespoons of water matches the liquid content of one egg. Dissolve the cornflour well in cold water to avoid lumps. This is also useful to make vegan baked goods.
You can make your morning omelettes extra fluffy with the help of cornflour. Add one quarter teaspoon of cornflour per egg, then beat well before cooking your omelette.

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