Ten Amazing uses for Cornstarch outside of the Kitchen

Everyone knows about the myriad uses of cornstarch in cooking and baking- we’ve all used it at some point or another to alter the texture of our baked goods or to thicken up our sauces. But did you know that cornstarch has a wide range of uses outside of the kitchen? Here are some ideas for how to use cornstarch that you may not have heard of before.

1. HOMEMADE NATURAL MAKEUP OR TRANSLUCENT FINISHING POWDER

Ever since their debut, there’s been a lot of talk about mineral makeup powders, especially the “miracle” translucent mineral finishing powders. But did you know that the number one ingredient making up the vast majority of the volume of these expensive products is just cornstarch? If you have a light complexion, you can use cornstarch as-is to finish your look. If your skin is darker, you can use a blend of natural pigments (like cocoa powder for brown tones, turmeric for yellow tones, and beet powder for pink/red tones- mix one or more depending on the notes that make up your particular skin tone) to either tint your cornstarch finishing powder slightly or make a more opaque natural powder foundation. If you don’t want to bother with the natural pigments, you could also just mix some powder foundation that you already have on hand with the cornstarch to make a tinted finishing powder perfect for your skin tone. 

2. EASY AND NATURAL DRY SHAMPOO

Thinking about picking up one of those new dry shampoos? Save yourself the money and use what’s in your pantry! Simply apply cornstarch to your roots and comb through hair to absorb any oil. If you’d like to add scent, blend the cornstarch with your favorite essential oil before applying. If you have darker hair and are worried about the white cornstarch being too visible, mix it with an equal part cocoa powder first. You can also add a few drops of the essential oil of your choice for scent, if you like.

3. CLEAN CARPETS, WINDOWS, FURNITURE, AND MORE!

Cornstarch makes a great all natural cleaner because of its ability to absorb oil so well. If you have an oil stain on your wall, an article of clothing, or even your driveway or concrete patio, try putting cornstarch on the stain, letting it sit, and removing it once it’s had time to absorb the oil. If the stain is on a non-horizontal surface that can’t be moved (like a wall), mix the cornstarch with water until it makes a paste so it will stay adhered to the stained surface long enough.

You can also use cornstarch to clean your windows. Mix together a tablespoon of cornstarch to each cup of water in a bucket or bowl, and use a paper towel or cloth to rub the mixture all over your windows. Let sit for a minute or two and wipe dry.

If vacuuming alone isn’t cutting it when it comes to cleaning your rugs and carpets, try sprinkling with cornstarch and then vacuuming again after waiting a good 10-15 minutes for all the dirt and oil to be absorbed.

Clean your silver with a paste made from equal parts cornstarch and water. Apply with a cloth or brush and let sit until dry before rubbing clean.

Cornstarch is also a useful tool in easily cleaning your children’s plush toys without having to worry about damaging them in the washer and/or dryer. Just apply the cornstarch to the dirty stuffed toy, wait 10 minutes or so, and brush it off.

4. RELIEF FROM COMMON SKIN IRRITATIONS

Most common skin irritations can be soothed with a paste of equal parts cornstarch and water. Apply the mixture to poison ivy, bug bites, sunburn, and other skin irritations or rashes as needed. Cornstarch can help soothe your baby’s skin as well- use it in place of a baby powder to help calm or prevent diaper rash.

5. CREATE HOMEMADE GIFTS AND MORE WITH “COLD PORCELAIN” CLAY

Cold Porcelain clay is an air-dry clay with the appearance of porcelain. There are quite a few recipes readily available on the internet, and while ingredients vary from recipe to recipe, there is one constant between them all- cornstarch! Most recipes also involve water and some kind of glue (white, tacky/pva, wood glue, etc.), but there are many other ingredients included in cold porcelain recipes which serve different purposes. For instance, baby oil prevents cracking when the clay dries, and eucalyptus essential oil acts as a preservative. There are plenty of different recipes and preparation methods that you can find with a simple online search, but you can also experiment with different ingredients on your own to find what works for you. If you like, you can include pigments to tint the clay as well. Porcelain clay, when finished, is very smooth and easy to work with. Once you’ve molded it just like you would any other kind of clay, you leave it out exposed to the air for a couple days to dry; as it sets, you will see it get smaller and firmer. This clay is fun to work with, inexpensive, and great for creating anything from jewelry to housewares. Cold porcelain creations also make great gifts!

6. ENJOY A ROMANTIC AND PLAYFUL NIGHT IN WITH EDIBLE BODY POWDER

Edible body powders are often sold by cosmetic companies and purveyors of romantic toys, and while they are fun, they also tend to have a high price tag (for what you get). But you don’t have to pay anything to enjoy a creative and fun night at home with your significant other, because you can use cornstarch and other ingredients that are probably already in your cupboard to make this kissable body dust yourself! Just mix four parts cornstarch to one part confectioner’s sugar and one part flavoring powder (like honey or vanilla powder). Blend thoroughly and then use a feather or a makeup brush to dust the powder onto the places you’d like your sweetie to kiss!

7. REMOVE YOUR LATEX GLOVES MORE EASILY

You might know that latex gloves sometimes have powder on the inside to make them easier to remove, but what you might not have realized is that powder is just cornstarch. If you happen to have a box of non-powdered latex gloves that are hard to get off, simply sprinkle cornstarch inside before putting them on your hands.

8. FIGHT SWEATY AND STINKY FEET

If you find that your feet become uncomfortably sweaty or develop an unpleasant smell (or both!) while they’re cooped up in your shoes all day, then mix equal parts cornstarch and baking soda with the essential oil of your choice and sprinkle in the bottom of your shoes before putting them on. Peppermint and tea tree are a couple of the scents that cover foot odor best.

9. MAKE YOUR OWN SPRAY STARCH FOR CLOTHES

If you make your own laundry spray starch, you not only save money but you also get to control the stiffness of the clothes you’re starching. Add anywhere between one and two tablespoons of cornstarch (depending on your preference) for each pint of water in a spray bottle and mix well. Make sure to shake before spraying in case of any separation.

 
10. MAKE YOUR OWN NON TOXIC PLAY DOUGH

You can also use cornstarch to make a non toxic and fun colored dough for children (or whimsical adults!) to play with. To make the play dough: combine 2 parts cornstarch, 3 parts water, and 4 parts baking soda in a pot or saucepan and cook over medium heat. The mixture will start to pull away from the sides of the pan and will eventually form a ball when it’s done. Once cool, you can knead in non toxic tempera paints/powder or other pigments to add color. The dough should be stored in an airtight container when it’s not in use.

Great new Kitchen Products Reusies

An average school lunch contains a lot of “trash” – a plastic sandwich bag, a water bottle, an empty bag of chips, a milk carton, a banana peel – and where does most of it end up? The garbage can, of course . . . but that shouldn’t be the case. The bottle, carton, and plastic bag can be recycled, the banana peel can be used for compost, and the chips bag. . . well, that actually is trash (unless it says that it can be recycled). The world’s landfills are overflowing with things that aren’t really garbage, and it’s our job to put a stop to it before the planet becomes one big wasteland. Unfortunately, people can and will recycle things only to a certain extent – and that’s where ReUsies come in.

While it would be ideal to put an end to the production of plastic bags and bottles, it’s just not realistic. The next best thing would be to stop using them, but that would definitely be hard without alternatives of equal or higher efficiency. Everyone has seen reusable water bottles, so that’s covered, and now there’s an amazing new sandwich bag that can keep your lunch fresh and safe: the ReUsie. This little bag is made of cotton and has a nylon lining that is completely leak-resistant. It can be cleaned by hand  with soap and water, in a dishwasher, or even in the washer/dryer. Best of all, the ReUsie can be used again and again and again, so lunches can once again be waste-free. 

ReUsies come in two sizes: sandwich size and snack size. The sandwich size is about 7.5 by 6 inches and large enough to store an average sandwich or bagel, or a few snacks if that’s what you plan to eat. The snack size ReUsie is just a bit smaller at 6 by 5 inches, so it can store items like cut-up fruit, cookies, crackers, or even chips. For the most eco-friendly lunch, buy the big bag of snack items like chips, cookies, and pretzels, so that you can pack a serving or two in your ReUsie instead of wasting individual-size bags.

ReUsies are convenient, fun, and great for the environment. They are definitely going to be a hit with kids, but adults enjoy these little baggies, too. Who wants a plain old plastic bag when you can have a funky picture dressing up your lunch? You know you want a ReUsie, so go ahead and buy yours today!

The Pros and Cons of Digital Cookbooks

If you have the passion for cooking, whether you are simply an enthusiast or actually plan on making a career out of the culinary arts, you are always looking for new recipes to test out. In most cases, you may have gotten many recipes online and printed them out. But, cookbooks take up a lot of space and you need to factor in the accumulated weight of all these physical cookbooks. If you decide to print recipes from the Internet in place of an actual cook book, you have to factor in how much clutter it could generate if you’re the disorganized type. Plus, there is also the amount of paper and toner you will be using in the process. When factoring these reasons, you may want to download digital cookbooks in place of buying actual cookbooks. There are plenty of benefits of buying a digital cookbook.

Pricing

The first difference you should think out between a soft copy and a hard copy is the pricing. Buying a digital copy is generally cheaper than buying a physical copy; with a physical copy, you have to think about the printing and distribution costs. When factoring those additional costs, the price of a physical copy is usually higher than a digital copy.

Space

Having a bunch of digital cookbooks instead of a bunch of physical cookbooks does wonders in terms of space. When you think of it that way, you have extra space to use for whatever you want to do with it. If you kept cookbooks in your kitchen, that space can be used for other things such as a spice rack or other containers. If you have a small kitchen, then you do not want to use up all that space for.

Ease of transport

When having a couple of digital cookbooks, there will always be a medium to store that information in. You can store those books on a tablet computer, a laptop, a smart phone, an SD drive, a jump drive, or some other transportable medium of storage. That is a lot of weight you would not have to deal with in terms of transportation. You have a medium of storage that weighs a few ounces to a few pounds compared to a lot of cook books that could weigh over twenty pounds.

Storage

With improvements in computer technology, storage devices are smaller and more compact. One example would be your SD and Micro SD Cards which can be inserted into smart phones, tablets, and other devices. With SD cards that are up to 32GB a piece, one of them could be dedicated simply for cookbooks. At least five shelves worth of cook books can be stored digitally on an SD Card or through online cloud storage.

Ease & speed of access

If you are in the mood to make a certain dish, digital cookbooks will make things faster and easier for you. Instead of having to find a specific cookbook and turning through the pages, you can go on your phone or other mobile device and search there. Thus, easy access to recipes right at your fingertips. With one mobile device, you can access several cookbooks at once. That should be easier than having to go through several physical cookbooks at the same time.

However, digital cookbooks are not all pros. There are cons to digital cookbooks that you need to think about.

Updates

If you want to get the latest recipes, you will need to update your digital cookbooks. There are updates at any given time. On the same note, there could be new versions of those cookbooks which require you to buy the full version.

Online connectivity

You may have a digital cookbook or two that requires you to go online to access them. If you have no Internet connection at home or wherever you are at, then you would not be able to access those books. For those that are using an online storage plan, one needs to consider the data fees and other charges.

Data corruption

Something could happen to make the data go bad. When the data goes bad, your digital cookbooks are no more. That means you need to download new copies. If you cannot, you will have to repurchase those digital copies. You want to make sure that the data does not get corrupted. Once the data is corrupted, you will not be able to access the file unless you can repair them.

Need for storage

You need a medium to store those files. However, this con should not be much of a problem. With the wonders of mobile technology, you can store multiple cookbooks on a small memory card. If something happens to the memory card to make it go bad, you will not be able to recover that information. Anything that is digital requires a medium of storage. If you dedicated one memory card for cookbooks and you forget to switch the cards out, you will find yourself without a cookbook when you feel or see the need to cook.

Online purchases

While purchasing things online should not be a problem, there are concerns to think about. If and when purchasing online, there are risks involved. There is the risk of someone getting your credit information and everything else. It could be the result of a firewall being breached, a virus attached to the file, etc.

Everything has their pros and cons; but, the pros will outweigh the cons in most cases. Luckily, many mobile devices are user friendly which means you do not need to be tech savvy to access digital cookbooks.   

Digital Cookbooks

Do you remember being a kid and watching your mother cook dinner or bake your favorite pie – a cook book holding all her delicious secret lying open-faced on the counter? Even if she did not use it often, you at least probably noticed this book on a shelf or in a drawer somewhere in your kitchen. Each year this book would be wiped of its dust for holidays or special family occasions. Cook books have been embedded into so much of American history, it only makes sense that it would advance with the beings who made it family. Now, digital cookbooks are being created. While this may at first seem discernible and quite fitting, there is definitely some consideration to be taken! So what are the advantages and disadvantages of digital cookbooks?

Advantages

In a continuously upgrading world, it is easy to see the benefits of being able to upgrade recipes! The new digital cookbook eliminates hard-to-read-but-easy-to-lose handwritten recipes from your great, great grandmother. In addition to that, saving paper can help eliminate waste and is better for the environment! And now, you can download as many recipes as you would like and gather it in one place – not just one recipe for one entree from the same author. You can accumulate all of your favorites without wasting money, paper or space. This high-tech cookbook also includes pictures from cameras that can better display the lustrous entree or decadent dessert. With touch screen availability, the recipes can be enlarged so you do not accidentally add a tablespoon of salt rather than a teaspoon (all your guests would thank you)! And do not forget, of course, the issue of size! Where one person might have a cook book of recipes held in the binding and scraps of paper tucked inside, the digital cookbook allows for more recipes in a thin, easily- stored electronic slab.

Disadvantages

With all of these benefits, it seems unlikely that there would be perishable disadvantages. But taking a deeper look may make even the most excited people feel a tad irresolute. First of all, there is the worry that comes with every advancement – losing the tradition. Children will no longer be turning the food crusted pages of the beloved red and white checkered book. Cooking in itself is a tradition in America – mom’s apple pie, thanksgiving dinner – and to lose this talisman of America may seem more than just jilting. Another concern that may be drifting through your mind may be using the device while cooking or baking. If your hands are covered in butter and flour from hand mixing a puff pastry, you may not want to touch your high tech device to see the next directions or enlarge the screen. With a paper cookbook, you probably would not mind as much to get a little crust on the paper, which is easily replaceable or just in need of character! But this digital screen may force you to get the screen dirty, cause a malfunction or force you to wash your hands even at the most unnecessary of times. And what about the battery life? Suppose no one does use a cookbook enough to kill the battery in one sitting, but it could die when you least expect it- say, when you just grabbed the stuffing for your turkey with your bare hands, or are kneading the dough for some homemade cinnamon rolls, or your meat is finally starting to sizzle in the pan and you need to know the next step, now! Since these digital cookbooks might not be used as often as people use their phone, it might be easy to forget to charge it.

The digital cookbook surely has extravagant advantages and few setbacks. Deciding where you stand on the scale of advantages and disadvantages is the first step to deciding what type of cookbook is right for you. Do not forget that every product must be used to be improved! And purchasing a digital cookbook does not mean you have to immediately throw away your accustomed friend. So open your heart, open your mind, and open your mouth to all of the possibilities cookbooks have to offer!