Homemade Starch Recipes and Tips
Unlike housekeepers of the past, modern domestic gods and goddesses can easily get their hands on quality starch. Any box of cornstarch off the grocer’s shelf will do. Modern refining practices ensure universal quality in terms of starch. Finding recipes and instructions on how to make homemade starch for lace curtain and other laundry items abound, but one thing they often forget is about boiling to reduce spotting and clumping, or the need to continuously shake the spray bottle.
For heavy starch, start with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Add enough room temperature tap water to make a smooth cream. Pour the cream into 2 to 3 cups of boiling water and remove from heat. Stir until all starch dissolves. Allow to cool to room temperature before pouring into a spray bottle. Spray directly on dry fabric before ironing. A spray bottle with a fine mist setting is best, but any clean spray bottle will work in a pinch.
You can store unused starch spray in the refrigerator, although for best results you should only make enough for each batch of ironing. For a lighter starch, simply reduce the amount of cornstarch used. A ratio of one tablespoon to two cups of boiling water makes a light starch.
For antique lace or truly crisp linens without an iron, you can also use a a fine starch bath or dip. Use the above recipe doubled, as the cloth will absorb more water. Once the water reaches room temperature, submerge the cloth in the dip. Rather than wringing out excess water and creating wrinkles, roll the cloth tightly as you pull it out of the bath. Hang on curtain rods or spread the fabric out on a folded bed sheet to air dry. Be sure the fabric is smooth when you hang it or lay it flat, as it will be very stiff once it dries.