Few crops are as versatile as corn. This humble grain can be used to make everything from tortillas to cornbread. In fact, corn is a key ingredient in many of your favorite foods. It can be found in products like cereal, salad dressings, ice cream and even candy. But food is just the beginning when it comes to corn!

The truth is that corn grown in states like Nebraska plays a critical role in a wide range of finished products. When you look around your home, you may be amazed to learn about the items that are made with corn. That’s why continued research into new uses for crops like corn is so important! To help you understand just how versatile corn is, here are 10 surprising products that use corn.

1. Toilet Paper

To much surprise, corn is a soft and absorbent material. When used in products like toilet paper, it can keep sheets softer and more comfortable to use. The corn kernels are ground up and mixed into the paper. Cornstarch can also be used to bind the materials together.

2. Drywall

Cornstarch’s binding properties are also used in construction-grade materials like drywall. Its adhesive strength is tough enough to keep everything together and produce a smooth texture.

3. Toothpaste

Corn is used in toothpaste as a gentle abrasive to help clean your teeth. Cornstarch acts as a polishing agent and helps to remove any buildup on your teeth. It’s also a natural source of fluoride, which can help to prevent cavities and ensure a brilliant smile!

4. Crayons

Three crayons

The next few products get a little more interesting. In 2021, a Japanese company pioneered the use of vegetable materials like corn in the production of crayons. The wax is made from rice while corn is mixed in for its brilliant yellow hue. Other colors use vegetables like carrots and cabbages. And with traditional crayons, corn is used in the glue underneath the wrapper as well as in the molds for easy removal.

5. Diapers

The absorbent properties of corn come in handy for even the youngest generation when used to make diapers. Cornstarch is used as a binding agent to keep the diaper held together. A corn-based gel is also often used due to its ability to absorb many times its own weight.

6. Spark Plugs

Wait, what? Corn can even be found in your car? Certain materials, like corn, feature a high melting point, which can withstand extreme temperatures. Corn can be fashioned into a ceramic-like material that insulates the spark plug and prevents it from overheating.

7. Hand Soap and Sanitizer

Both soap and hand sanitizer use different compounds from corn including ethanol or citric acid. Depending on how it is used, corn can serve as an emollient (softening the skin), as a gentle abrasive, a thickening agent and even for fragrances.

8. Aspirin

Are all these technical terms giving you a headache? Common and helpful medications like aspirin come with a special coating that helps release the medicine in steady amounts while minimizing any unpleasant flavor. This coating, which is designed to resist stomach acid and break down in the intestines, is often made from… you guessed it! Corn.

9. Rubber Tires

tire tread

Two of the most important aspects of quality tires are the pliability and grip. And luckily, both can be accomplished with corn. Cornstarch is added to the rubber for flexibility, making it easier to work with. Then, corn oil can be applied to keep the rubber from drying out. It also improves the tires grip the road, ensuring safer driving. The next time someone eats your dust, they’ll also enjoy a little corn too.

10. Fireworks

And to finish this list with a bang, corn is also a key ingredient in fireworks. They need to combust at the right moment and burn evenly. The dextrin in cornstarch aids in this process by keeping the materials bound together until it’s time for the big finale.

New Research Will Continue to Expand Corn’s Versatility

Whether you’re enjoying an afternoon snack or taking care of chores around the house, corn plays a big part in creating a useful product. Nebraska Corn strives to seek out research opportunities discovering new uses for this crop. From ethanol to fireworks, the importance of corn in each product is inevitable.

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