How Can I Make Starch?

Homemade starch can be put into a spray bottle for everyday use.
Starch helps set fabric in place and keeps wrinkles at bay.
Cornstarch, which can be used to make starch.
Potatoes, which are often used to make starch.
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  • Written By: J. Hahn
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2014
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Starch, which comes from plants and tubers, has both culinary and commercial uses. Perhaps its most common sources worldwide are corn, potatoes, rice and wheat. In the food industry, starch may be used to thicken a soup, or it may be used as an additive to a breakfast cereal. Commercially, starch may be used to make paper or to launder or stiffen clothing. It's relatively simple and inexpensive to make starch for laundering purposes, requiring only cornstarch and water.

There are a number of different ways to make starch for clothing, and experimenting may be the best way to discover which method gives you the crispest collar. The ingredients will cost far less than a can of aerosol starch spray, include no added preservatives that can damage clothes, and are completely biodegradable. To make it using everyday cornstarch, you'll need 1 heaping tablespoon (about 15 grams) of cornstarch, half a quart (1 pint or 473 mL) of cold water, and a spray bottle.

Add the cornstarch to the cold water and stir until it is completely dissolved. The solution will be cloudy, but there shouldn't be any clumps visible. Pour the mixture into the spray bottle, and use it with the fine-spray setting. Always shake the bottle before spraying. A cornstarch-based spray will give you a very stiff finish; if you prefer an even stiffer finish, try adding one additional teaspoon (about 5 grams) of cornstarch at a time until you get the result you want.


If you prefer a softer finish, you can use potatoes. You will need one potato, boiling water, a heat-resistant bowl, and a spray bottle. Wash the potato and peel it thoroughly. Place it in the bowl and cover it with boiling water; let it sit overnight. Strain the liquid to remove any solids and pour it into the spray bottle. This starch is perishable, so you will want to use it within 48 to 72 hours.

Starch is a multi-purpose laundry tool that can help keep wrinkles at bay as well as prevent dirt and sweat stains on collars. It also helps set fabric into place, which can ease ironing and keep pleats in place. To get the best results, make sure that you let the home-made solution sit on your clothes for about one minute to prevent any white marks from forming on your clothes. Using the steam setting also helps starch set properly.


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Post 7

I'm trying to find a recipe for starch made from flour and water. Flour is cheaper than corn starch. Any help would be wonderful.

Post 6

I would like to know the particular ingredients or added chemicals in the process of making cold water starch, since I'm trying to go into production, and my experiments show the starch does not react as it is meant to. Thanks for your help in advance.

Post 5

Can one add a bit of cornstarch to the washing machine?

Post 4

Thanks anon108462. That's exactly what I needed to hear.

Post 3

Thanks for this Wisegeek! I have a pretty but very soft and crumply cotton blouse which I want to 'spruce up' for a special occasion. I was about to go and buy a spray but I remembered using one a few years ago and although it was fairly effective it would produce a lot of messy white flakes when ironed, didn't last long as was pricey to boot so I stopped buying it. I've always got cornstarch which often sits in my cupboard until out of date- now it can be put to good use!

Post 2

I will definitely try making my own laundry starch, after reading how easy it is. I've been trying to use products in my home that are more friendly to the environment. Who knows what chemicals we have been spraying into the air we breathe for years.

It might not be as convenient to make my own laundry starch, but I think the benefits will greatly outweigh the inconvenience.

Post 1

What's all this about spray bottles? Grandma dipped the clothing and doilies into the bowl of solution, and hung it to dry.

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