22 September 2011

Prep30: Store Less, Accomplish More, part 5: Corn Starch

This is another in the Store Less, Accomplish More (SLAM) sub-set of posts within the Prep30 series. Each post in the SLAM "mini-series" focuses on a single preparedness item that you can stock and use in many different ways. Whenever possible, we've selected items that store very well, either lasting indefinitely or at least several years.

Use your Prep30 time to become familiar with today's SLAM item, which is Corn Starch.

Corn starch is primarily used in cooking as a thickening agent for soups, sauces, gravies, and so on. However, here are a number of helpful preparedness and self-reliant applications for corn starch, courtesy of the Hodgson Mill website:
  1. Use for diaper rash: Use corn starch as a baby powder to help sooth diaper rash. To protect your baby’s skin, add 1/4 cup corn starch for each gallon of bath water.

  2. Sooth sunburn: Mix 1 cup corn starch into a bathtub of warm water. Soak 20 to 30 minutes. If water's limited, apply a wet corn starch and baking soda dressing: Stir 1 tablespoon each of corn starch and baking soda into 2 quarts warm water; dip very thin towels or rags into the solution and let them rest on sunburn for 20 to 30 minutes.

  3. All natural relief from skin irritations: For rashes, hives, insect bites, poison ivy etc., stir 1/4 cup corn starch with 3 tablespoons water until a thick paste forms. Apply lightly to irritated skin.

  4. Use as a dry shampoo: Between regular shampoos, a sprinkling of corn starch will help absorb excess oil. Be sure to brush thoroughly to remove excess corn starch. This works to dry shampoo your dog too: just rub corn starch into fur, then comb or brush out.

  5. Underarm deodorant substitute: Use alcohol (or vodka) to remove bacteria, then apply corn starch.

  6. Help your feet: To prevent excess moisture and chafing in athletic shoes, dust the insides with corn starch. Sprinkle corn starch both on your feet and in your shoes to absorb moisture, reduce friction, and lessen itching from athlete's foot.

  7. Make rubber items easier to use: If you use rubber gloves for dishes or gardening, sprinkle some corn starch inside before slipping them on to reduce  moisture and chafing. Dust rubber equipment (like rubber gloves, swim gear, etc.) with corn starch to prevent sticking while items are stored.

  8. Get a grip: A light dusting of corn starch will also make the rubberized handles of some tool or sports equipment easier to grip.

  9. Remove grease stains: Corn starch can also be used to remove some grease stains on washable clothing or tablecloths. Sprinkle spots with corn starch. Rub into the stain, and then brush off. Repeat until grease is removed, then launder as usual. Note: this works on other surfaces too; for example, you can absorb excess grease and oil stains on driveways by sprinkling with corn starch.

  10. Mildewed books: Remove mildew in books by lightly sprinkling with corn starch. Let sit for a few hours and then wipe and shake clean.

  11. Clean rugs and carpets: Mix 1 part baking soda to 2 parts corn starch. Sprinkle onto carpet or rug, wait 5 minutes, then vacuum.

  12. To patch small plaster walls or wallboard: Mix 2 Tablespoons of salt, 2 Tablespoons of corn starch and 4-5 Tablespoons water to make a thick but pliable paste. Fill in holes and sand as necessary.

In addition to the 49 Hodgson Mill tips on corn starch's alternate uses, you can find 6 here14 here, and 23 here.

Corn starch lasts indefinitely, according to the Argo & Kingsford's corn starch website, which makes it an ideal SLAM item for your preparedness supplies. It's inexpensive and stores forever in cool, dry conditions, so this is an item that's worth stocking up on if you use it regularly and have the space.

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