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Using Cornstarch on Laundry: Go-To Tips for Stains and Odors

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Struggling with stubborn stains on your favorite clothes? The solution might be simpler and more affordable than you think: cornstarch!

This common kitchen ingredient is also a laundry lifesaver. It’s readily available, easy to use, and effective. So read on for my favorite ways to cornstarch on all sorts of stains and laundry odors.

What is Cornstarch?

Cornstarch, known as cornflour in the UK, is a gluten-free product made from finely ground corn kernels. It’s commonly used in cooking, but its superpowers extend beyond the kitchen.

From greasy stains to unpleasant odors, cornstarch is a go-to solution for a variety of laundry challenges.

Use Cornstarch on Greasy Stains

On Fabric

To remove grease stains, blot the spill and dust both sides of the fabric with cornstarch. Wait 10 minutes for the powder to draw out the grease. Shake off the excess, dab it with white vinegar and launder right away.

On Leather or Suede

You can also use cornstarch to get greasy stains off of leather and suede: blot the area gently with a cloth and generously sprinkle it with cornstarch, then let it sit overnight. The next day, brush off the powder and dab the spot with vinegar. For suede, use a soft brush to restore the nap.

Pro Tip

Always spot test for colorfastness before using any cleaning method. Although cornstarch is generally safe for removing laundry stains, the liquids you use after it might not be.

Use a Cornstarch Paste for Set-In Stains

To remove old or set-in stains, apply a paste made from cornstarch and water to both sides of the stain and rub it in. Let this sit for an hour then brush it away. Dab the area with dish soap on both sides, rub it in with your fingers, then rinse stain-side down under running water. Voilà no more stain.

Sunscreen and Ointment Stains

Use cornstarch to get rid of stains from sunscreen, zinc, or petroleum ointment. Scrape off any excess goop with the edge of a spoon, heavily dust the spot with cornstarch, and let it sit overnight. The next day, brush off the powder, rub in a little grease-cutting dish soap and then launder the item right away.

Smelly, Dingy Mattress Messes

You can even use cornstarch to clear up sweat stains and pee on your mattress. Sprinkle on a generous amount and work it in with a brush so it bonds with the moisture and odors.

Let it sit until the powder is dry, then vacuum it up. If the area is discolored, spray on hydrogen peroxide to eliminate the mattress stain as it air dries.

Sour or Smoky Laundry Odors

If you’re dealing with the lingering smell of cigarette smoke or body odor, cornstarch can help freshen things up.

  • For clothing, place the item in a plastic bag with cornstarch, shake well, and let it sit overnight.
  • For carpets and upholstery, sprinkle cornstarch, work it into the fibers, and vacuum after an hour.

Don’t forget about freshening smelly shoes! A mixture of cornstarch and tea tree oil will absorb moisture and odors, leaving your shoes smelling fresh

Tips for Using Cornstarch for Stain Removal

While cornstarch is a fantastic stain and odor remover, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure the best results.

  • Always test a small, inconspicuous area first, especially on dyed fabrics, to ensure colorfastness.
  • Launder the clothing immediately after treating the stain with cornstarch.
  • Use the warmest water temperature advised on the care label.
  • Check that the stain is completely gone before tossing your clothes in the dryer since heat can make some stains permanent.

Did these ways to use cornstarch to remove stains surprise you? Then you’re going to love what I’ve got to tell you about using vinegar in your laundry routine.

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