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Unusual Uses for Chalk

Filed Under: Essential Skills, Know-How

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Think chalk is just for teachers and kids? Think again. This sidewalk staple gets high marks as a household helper.

Walking around the neighborhood in spring, I see all kinds of wonderful sidewalk chalk art. For many of us, chalk is a throwback to childhood. But did you know that white playground chalk can help with everything from stains to pest control? Let's take a closer look at this multitasking material.

Lifts Stains
Grease stains and ring around the collar can benefit from some chalk treatment! Rub a piece of white chalk into the stain and let it soak up the grease for a few minutes. Then, dust off any excess chalk and launder as usual. The chalk dust will get into the fibers and absorb the oils, making the stain easier to wash out.

Absorbs Moisture
Moisture and humidity can cause silver to tarnish. To slow the process, wrap a small bundle of chalk in cheesecloth, tie it off and store it with your silver absorb excess moisture and keep silver from tarnishing. This same method will work in your toolbox to keep your tools from rusting. (See also: How to Clean Silver)

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Stabilizes Screwdrivers
Rub some chalk on the business end of a screwdriver, and it's less likely to slip as you turn the screw.

Combats Mustiness
Hang a bundle of chalk in your closets and cabinets to keep them from getting damp and musty. The chalk will absorb excess moisture from the air -- humidity that otherwise leads to mustiness.

Perfects Patterns
The next time you need to trace a pattern for a craft project, use the item tailors have used for ages: chalk. The markings will be clear and easy to see, and when you want to erase them, simply dust away the lines.

Repels Ants
To keep ants out of your house, draw chalk lines around your doorways and windowsills. Ants won't cross a chalk line. Why? It's not entirely clear, but some say the ants don't like the particles sticking to their feet, while others say they're averse to the calcium carbonate in the chalk. Whatever the reason, this nontoxic solution will keep ants outside where they belong.

  • JOHN

    Considering the calcium carbonate content, pulverize it, dissolve it in water, it might make a good remedy for a belly ache. But dont take my word for it, ask a medical professional or pharmacist before attempting ingestion. Brioschi move over.

  • Dave

    as a retired teacher....I have been known to drink too much coffee in the morning, bringing on that 'coffee burn' during classtime. knowing the basic ingredients in chaulk and the commercial acid relief products were similar, many times I grabbed a new stick out of the box, broke off a piece, and chewed it up.....tasted TERRIBLE but worked wonderfully!

  • Pamela

    i use cinnamon powder when the ants come - i find their hole and i put a little line of cinnamon around it and catch the others and put them inside the line...after a day or two they are all gone.

  • alex

    cinnamon powder on their hole, that gotta hurt!

  • Courtney

    Yea, chalk does NOTHING to keep out ants. They walk right over it. and into my kitchen...

  • maddie

    Yah it doesnt WORK

  • Rachel

    Regarding ants & chalk, forget that. Use powdered A-jax or powdered Cleanser along walls or in cracks. That ALWAYS works to get rid of ants. It irritates them, so they stay away from it.

  • Nik

    Try baby powder. I have used it & it worked for me. The great thing about baby powder is it is non-toxic. Works great if you have children around!

  • donna

    no I tried chalk and also talcum powder for the ants and they did to cross the line

  • Marian Ott

    Try using baby powder. Ants won't cross it.

  • Marc

    Having heard that one about ants not crossing a chalk line, my granddaughter and I decided to put it to a test. ___ Buzz! ___ Wrong. _ Ants were not even slowed down when they encountered a chalk line. _ Just another urban myth given some undo credence here.

  • jenny

    perement help reple ant from the house just spread sroundthe hous they hate it cause of the smell ect

  • paul

    Maybe I can translate this into legible English. I believe Jenny is talking about peppermint (peppermint oil, for instance). I have also heard that ants are repelled by the smell.

  • arggg

    Peppermint also repels mice, but you have to refresh it at least once a month. Maybe Jenny's first language is not English? No need to be snarky.

  • reptar5

    If you are in a cemetery and having a hard time reading a headstone, use chalk.

  • Leslie

    If the chalk is thickly spread on the floor and some water is added to make it a bit pasty, the critters will not like crossing it. However, if that doesn't work make a hop scotch on the floor and have fun.

  • Aquilus

    chalk dries out an ants external layer thusly hurting or killing it, that's why they don't care for chalk (or anything real powdery), they can, however, walk over it and not be affected at all. one must turn the chalk into dust and sprinkle directly on ants. even then they can continue to live for a while. i don't know who writes this stuff, but they need to do better research before posting.

  • carol

    Chalk to keep ants out LOL.....thats BS!

  • will2dmax

    I put some chalk down for the ants,the next thing I know they're drawing
    F OFF with the chalk.

  • Jay Tee

    Thats too funny!! LMAO!


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