8 Surprising Household Uses for Chalk

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You probably don’t give chalk a whole lot of thought on regular basis–but maybe you should. Chalk isn’t just for old-school classrooms or for kids who want to (temporarily) beautify their driveways and sidewalks: No, the porous sedimentary rock actually has a considerable amount of practical uses around the house. We’ve told you about a few of them here and there over the years, but it’s time we put all the uses in one place so you can see how versatile this artistic and educational staple of childhood really is.

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Rub oily spills with plain white chalk to pull the oil right up and out, as we’ve told you before. After you rub it, leave it alone for about 10 minutes to let the chalk residue do its job, then wipe it off and toss the garment or fabric into the wash.

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Ants hate chalk, which is a weird discovery some kids inadvertently make on their own during lazy days in the driveway. We don’t need to get into the science of it (which involves a disruption to their pheromone trail); all you have to know is if you don’t want them entering your space, draw a big, fat chalk line and they won’t cross it, as we’ve said. This temporarily confuses them, but it doesn’t kill them, so you’ll need to find a different way to deal with more serious ant issues.

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Chalk is really absorbent because it’s really dry. Keep some stored with your fine silver to pull moisture and sulfur compounds away from it and keep the pieces from getting tarnished, per Bob Vila.

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You can also use some just-abrasive-enough chalk to polish pewter and marble, according to Bob Vila. Grind up some pieces, add vodka until it forms a thick paste, and rub it onto your surface. Let it stand a few minutes, rinse it off, and polish with a soft cloth until the residue is gone.

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Stick a little bit of chalk anywhere you notice getting musty from time to time, like the space under your bathroom sink or in your closet. Add some to your toolbox to battle rust. Every little bit helps get rid of unwanted moisture, and chalk is great at absorbing it.

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According to One Good Thing by Jillee, you can use chalk when you’re having a hard time getting your screwdriver to stay in place during a project. If it keeps slipping around when you’re trying to spin a screw, rub the head with chalk to create some grip.

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One Good Thing by Jillee also recommends rubbing chalk on keys that have started to get a little sticky or finicky in their locks. The chalk gives the key some grip while helping it pull dirt and moisture out of the lock, enabling both components to work better.

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If your wall has a scratch or imperfection, find a piece of chalk that matches its color and rub it over the blemish, says One Good Thing by Jillee. Are you fixing the real problem? No! Are you making it much harder to spot with the naked eye? Yes!


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