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A New Way to Save Money at the Supermarket

June 12, 2009 by Joan Nova in Potpourri | 11 Comments

See this powdery white stuff sitting on a spoon? It can save you money. And, no, it’s nothing I’ve been mis-using in any manner to create some drug-induced delusion. But I am on a high!

It’s corn starch. And it’s magical.

I read somewhere that the best glass and mirror cleaner was 2 tablespoons of corn starch mixed with 1 quart of water. Being frustrated with the streaks that even the best (highest priced) cleaners left, I decided to try it. I’ve been experimenting for several weeks before going public with the news…it really works! 

I’ve been using the solution:
• in the shower;
• around the bathroom sink basin/countertop, faucets;
• all glass tables;
• mirrors;
• kitchen countertops;
• stove top;
• stainless steel work table;
• and to clean the inside of the refrigerator.

It was working everywhere so, today, I gingerly sprayed some on a cloth and wiped down leather furniture and even passed it over the wood. And I can’t wait to try it as a spray starch when I iron. OMG, did I say that? Maybe I am inhaling some because I never, ever said that before! I mean, really, not ever!

My Research
I looked at several brands of corn starch in the supermarket and, interestingly, not one of them has ‘household cleaning’ as a suggested use, so I looked on the internet and found this website that says corn starch is one of the lesser known natural cleaning agents. 

How Much You Can Save
The highest priced corn starch was Argo at $1.69 for 1 lb.; most others were about $1.29. If more mathematical minds than me can figure out how many tablespoons of corn starch are in 1 lb., then divide that by 2 (2 tablespoons) to figure out how many quarts of solution can be made, I’d love to know. I’m thinking a lot. 

Meantime, as comparison, this could be your savings (x how many times a year you buy these products) versus a $1.50 or less for corn starch.

Arm & Hammer All Purpose Cleaner, 32 ozs. $2.99
Sprayway Stainless Steel Cleaner, 15 ozs. $4.19
Windex, 26 ozs. $2.99
Arm & Hammer Shower Spray, 32 ozs. $2.49
Weinman Leather Wipes, 30 sheets, $3.19
Pledge, 16 ozs. $4.29

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend my money in the wine aisle! And it’s so empowering to not buy in (figuratively and literally) to the hype. Let’s save money and help the planet.

I invite you to share any similar tips in the comments section of this post. 

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. Karen says:

    I love hints like this. My Mom cleaned windows and mirrors for years using a white vinegar/water solution but she claimed what really made a streak-free window was by using crumpled up newspaper. That's how I do it still – no streaks!

  2. My Carolina Kitchen says:

    Some really terrific ideas here and some I definitely didn't know. Thanks for the tips.

  3. ARLENE says:

    The woman who cleans my condo in Florida uses vinegar for just about everything. Wonder if she will consider giving corn starch a try?

  4. _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver says:

    Oooh, thanks for the tip. I wonder how it compares with the vinegar-water solution for cleaning things.

  5. Joan Nova says:

    Yes, everyone seems to be referring to the vinegar & water. All I can say is try it…what have you got to lose? If you don't like corn starch as a household cleaner, you cold use it to thicken your gravy!

  6. Joanne says:

    Just wondering if this solution can be kept in a spray bottle for any length of time, like I do with the vinegar and water solution, or does it clump up?

  7. Joan Nova says:

    Good question, Joann. I thought the same thing so every time I use it, I just shake it first.

  8. Lori Lynn says:


    Your photo is interesting. Would have been fun to make it a guessing game, but, alas, now we KNOW!

    Thanks Joan.

  9. Robin Sue says:

    Very cool post Joan! And all we do with is is cook with it and sometimes let my kids play with it in some water. Does it leave a powdery residue? I quess not if you are loving it so much. Must try!

  10. Joan Nova says:

    No powdery residue. Maybe because it's so fine and mixes well with the water. I give it a good shake before I spray.

  11. Ivy says:

    Thanks for passing from my blog even if I haven't been around lately. Great tips Joan. Thanks for sharing. I certainly shall try this. Here is one tried and tested tip from me. When you soak your beans overnight to cook them, next day do not throw away that water but put your silverware in for an hour and then rinse and dry them.

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