Spray Starch Recipe

Homemade Spray Starch Recipe. Photo © Erin Huffstetler
  • Prep Time
    5 min
  • Cook Time
    1 min
  • Total Time
    6 min
  • Yield
    1 pint

Spray starch is a traditional aid for ironing. You can make your own spray starch with items you already have in your pantry and save substantially.

With spray starch, you can enjoy crisp collars and pleats. Quilters find it is one of their best tricks for piecing different fabrics and weaves, making and applying appliques. For many sewing projects, a bit of spray starch can make the job easier.

You can buy spray starch in aerosol cans. These, of course, contain propellants that are often flammable alcohols. They also contain other additives that keep the starch in solution and keep it from degrading. This may include formaldehyde and other chemicals you are probably better off avoiding. Often a fragrance is added, which can be an allergy trigger. If you get a headache or sniffles when using scented products, this could be a culprit. 

Eco-friendly brands come in spray bottles and are made with cornstarch, as we do below. However, you don't have control over the scent and you can make your own for pennies. By using this recipe, you have full control of the amount of starch and whether you include a scent or not. You also won't be disposing of the cans or bottles.


  • 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch. You can vary the amount to get a greater or lesser degree of stiffness.
  • 1 pint cold water
  • 1-2 drops essential oil (optional)
  • 1 clean spray bottle


1. Combine the cornstarch and water in a bowl, and stir until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. (The mixture will be milky in color)

2. Add a couple of drops of essential oil for fragrance, if desired.

3. Then, transfer to a clean spray bottle, and use. You want to use a clean spray bottle that hasn't been used for chemical products. Cornstarch is a neutral chemical, but it could still pick up traces of other products.

5. Label the bottle "Spray Starch" and you may want to add, "Shake well before each use" to remind you of that important step.

4. Alternative: You could heat the water to dissolve the corn starch first. Some people prefer this variation. Heat the water in a pan on the stove until boiling. Add the starch, boil for one minute to dissolve. Cool the starch mixture before transferring it to the spray bottle.

5. Your homemade spray starch should last for a couple of months, but it can eventually degrade. Toss it if you see any mold or if the solution becomes discolored.

Tips For Using Homemade Spray Starch

1. For best results, shake before each use. The starch will settle, and it needs to be remixed with each use.

2. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly.

3. If you get starch build-up on your iron, wet a cloth with white vinegar and iron it. This will refresh your iron.

Did You Know?

  • Commercially-produced spray starch usually contains formaldehyde and/or other chemicals you may not want to be spraying in your home.
  • Starching clothes makes them last longer because dirt and perspiration sticks to the starch and not to the fabric.