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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.

  • JumbaTrimblett

    If you have a serious ant problem, as I did, the only thing that worked for me was: a combination of Borax powder (obtainable from Wal-Mart), pancake syrup, and powdered sugar. You use 70% syrup, 10% powdered sugar, and 20% Borax. Mix together and spread on strips of stiff paper where you see the ants. Have patience, it may take as much as a few weeks, but absolutely DOES WORK. Discard old strips and put down new ones with the mixture as needed, about every 3 days, if you have a lot of ants. Any more than 20% Borax, and the ants won't eat it; any less, it won't kill them. Talcum powder and black pepper will deter them to some extent, but I needed them killed, as they numbered in the 1000's!!

  • MARA

    To get rid of ants, I use finely chopped orange peel. They take it back to their nests, where it creates a chemical reaction that kills them. You can use either fresh or dried orange peel.

  • Tom

    Maybe different species of ants react to different things. I use Terro and it does a great job on ants here in Virginia

  • Rose

    I have taken a few pieces of chalk, put the pieces in cheesecloth. sock, etc. and beat it to a powder and then sprinkle it on the ants. It got rid of them. I have also used baby powder and it works just as well.

  • 44 Comments / 3 Pages

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