Starching at Home

A few weeks back there was a Earn Your Spurs blog article circulating titled “How to ‘Rodeo Starch’ Your Jeans in 4 Easy Steps”. I read the article, laughed a little at her reference to the “stand on their own” heavy starch, pinned it and moved on with my life. Last week as I sat down to write my weekly fashion article, I found myself lacking in the creativity department, and set out to find inspiration.

After an hour of wasted time, I stepped away from the computer and into the laundry room in hopes that the fashion gods would hear my prayers. Colors, whites and jeans were stacked haphazardly around me waiting to hit the washer when the fashion gods spoke.

I was spraying the lovely green horse boogers with a Dawn soap/vinegar mixture that Pinterest had so kindly shared with me, contemplating what other life savers this site had generated. The fashion gods screamed, “try another Pin”. Dropping the shirt and the sprayer I sprinted for the computer. Rodeo starch, starching pants, where the H-E-Double Hockey Sticks is that….AH HA GOTCHA! “How to Rodeo Starch your jeans in 4 Easy steps”.

Grabbing the ingredients from the pantry (1 cup water, 1-2 tablespoons corn starch, put in a spray bottle and shake…vigorously), I assembled the homemade starch. It looked “questionable”, and closely resembled watered down milk. 

Every seen a Pinterest fail? There is an entire website dedicated to them, www.pinterestfail.com. Well I was curious if this “Rodeo Starch” tutorial was destined for the site or whether this was another Pin-spiration! 

Based on prior experiments and the milky look and texture of my homemade starch, I found a pair of jeans that I wasn't particularly attached to. I followed the instructions, you can see a before and after shot below. 

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Before

After

Curiosity got the best of me. Was this homemade starch that much better than the aerosol and spray cans of store bought starch? Back to the closet…retrieved two more pair of jeans and when back to the ironing board.

I ironed the next two pair, following the same instructions of spray the inside of the leg, press, spray the outside, press. Here’s what I found.

Before Aerosol Starch

Before Spray Store Bought Starch

After

After

As far as stiffness goes, I didn’t notice much of a difference between the 3 starches. None could stand on their own like the pair from the dry cleaners. The aerosol starch dries the quickest and seemed to have the least amount of flaking. The store bought spray starch was the least sturdy and middle on the drying scale. The homemade starch gave me the most flakes and was the slowest to dry (I’ll note that I only used 2 tbs of cornstarch and didn’t use boiling water).

I didn’t get the stand-on-their-own effect I was hoping for from any of the starches.

Tips for success when starching at home:

  1. A hot iron is your friend. Turn the temperature up as high as you can, and give your iron amble time to warm up.
  2. Placement is key. Make sure you lay your jeans out as flat as you can with the seams lined up how you want, BEFORE you start spraying and pressing. This will prevent wrinkles and lines that make your pressing unprofessional.
  3. Use the force! There is a reason they call is pressing. The harder you press the better the end result, especially on those crucial centers.
  4. Spray inside and outside the jeans. Just like the instructions from Earn Your Spurs said, spray the inside of the leg, press, spray the outside of the leg, press. This gives you the extra stiffness you crave without the flakes.
  5. Practice makes perfect. Just like anything else horse related if you want great end results you need to practice your technique. Become one with the iron and the starch.

Be sure to share your ironing secrets with me on any social media platform. Press on, my friends!

- Paige Morgan
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