how to use liquid starch

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I am a new convert to liquid starch. It was a product I'd never thought much about until I received some lovely pillowcases  from a certain Ebay seller who takes pride in her laundering. Most of the textiles I buy on Ebay come unlaundered, in the exact condition they were acquired. But these pillowcases were different. They were so smooth and crisp that when I began making one of them into a little dress, the fabric handled so nicely, I had to find out her secret! So I emailed the lady and she uses Sta-Flo liquid starch in the rinse cycle, dries the cases part way, sprays on a little spray starch, and presses them in an electric mangle.
A what? Commercial laundries and some households used these starting in the 1940's. Pillowcase Lady's vintage one still works- I'm guessing she's elderly. Who else would know about liquid starch and mangles?
Miele still makes one, but they are called rotary irons now. I'm gonna have to make do with a regular iron because the Miele Rotary Iron retails for $1999!

Thus began my search for liquid starch. I think I can afford liquid starch. I tried the drugstore, Target, Super G, and Superfresh with no luck. I was thinking of mail ordering some, and then I thought to go to the market that my elderly neighbor prefers (Acme) and violĂ ! They had it, but not Sta-Flo. I got Linit instead.
Now I'm a regular Mrs. Tiggy-winkle (I love that Beatrix Potter story)! After my usual long soak in Oxy Clean, I laundered my first batch of pillowcases normally and then put the liquid starch in the rinse cycle. Pillowcase Lady didn't say how much to put in, so I guessed and put about 1 to 1 1/4 cup  into my small load thinking that was pretty generous. I did not get Pillowcase Lady's results. Then I read the bottle and it said don't rinse, only soak, then spin. And the ratio was higher than I thought: 1 part starch to 6 parts water for a light starching. So then I did it Tiggy-winkle-style in a small tub, did the spin cycle only, dried part way, and ironed with a touch of spray starch for good measure.
This batch came out rather nice. No puckers, no slubs, just smoothness. The liquid starch method definitely gets the starch more into the fibers than using only the spray kind.  I am baffled why only elderly people know about this product. Young people like exceptional laundry too.
The dress came out cute, by the way, so I it listed in the shop.

PS- if you read an earlier version of this post, I revised the starch ratios I had originally stated. My mistake. Just did another batch to make sure I was right this time.


Liana said...

Thanks for this post. I know it's somewhat old, but I googled "how to use liquid starch" and this popped up. I have been wanting to try liquid starch for my husband's work clothes, but was intimidated by the idea. I finally bought a bottole of Sta-Flo this evening (haven't tried it yet) and am excited to do laundry tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

holy 25 and live in dallas and have been using stay flo liquid starch since i was 15 or 16 and going on dates and wanted to put a nice crease in my jeans or blouse....

Becky said...

I love it! The younger generation in bringing back liquid starch!

HLN said...

I tried spray starch but tossed it out after it left marks on the cloth. I just tried Sta-Flo liquid yesterday and love it. It is available at Smart and Final in Southern California, fyi

Anonymous said...

I use this stuff for my military uniforms since the 90's and it works amazing!

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