Back in the day, we used chalk to draw on the sidewalk or do math in the classroom. And while schools have moved past blackboards, those old sticks of chalk are still incredibly useful. Sure, you can use them in crafting or to keep the little ones in your life entertained, but it turns out a stick of chalk comes in handy to solve a multitude of problems. Read on for 13 genius uses for chalk. If you don’t have any on hand, you’ll be racing to the dollar store to stock up on this little lifesaver!
1. Chalk makes a screwdriver slip-proof
The home -improvement project you’re busy working on is proving to be a tough task because the screwdriver keeps slipping from the screwhead and out of your grip. The easy fix? Rub the tip of the tool with chalk before trying again. The dry, slightly abrasive calcium sulfate (the main component of chalk) creates friction on the top of the hardware so the tool doesn’t move when you don’t want it to . Problem solved!
2. It leaves your skin looking radiant
“The best way to harness the beauty effects of chalk is to use it in a homemade face mask for oily skin,” says Heather Smith, founder and CEO of bareLUXE Skincare. To do: Grind a piece of chalk into a fine powder, then mix it with enough milk or yogurt to form a paste. Apply to your face, gently massage and let it sit for 5 minutes. Rinse away with warm water. “Chalk is an unconventional skincare ingredient, but it has excellent oil-absorbing properties,” she says. “Your skin will be left with less visible oil and a soft, matte look.”
3. Chalk keeps a hamper smelling fresh
Damp towels and dirty workout clothes can leave your hamper with a stale, musty odor. To outsmart the problem, drop a few pieces of sidewalk chalk into an unsealed plastic baggie and place it in the bottom of the hamper. The chalk will soak up excess moisture, preventing stinky mildew from lingering. For best results, replace the chalk every few weeks. (Click through for the surprisingly important laundry step most women forget.)
4. It makes sanding a breeze
You restored a table last weekend but had a hard time figuring out whether you sanded the surface evenly. Next time, rub chalk over the surface before you start. When all the chalk dust is gone, you’ll know you’ve sanded it evenly.
5. Chalk keeps ants from invading your dog’s food dish
You like to keep your dog’s food and water bowls on the porch, but you’ve spotted a few ants trying to share his food. To keep them away, use a piece of chalk to draw thick lines around the bowl. Chalk’s calcium carbonate is a natural insect repellent, so the pests won’t cross the border to get to the food. (Click through for more ways to get rid of bugs).
6. It hides paint splatters
While giving your dining room a fresh coat of paint, you got some splatters on the ceiling — and you’re all out of ceiling paint. The in-a-pinch fix: Use a piece of white chalk to color over the spots to hide them until you can get to the paint store.
7. Chalk protects silverware from tarnish
You only use your grandma’s silver on special occasions, but every time you pull it out, the utensils have tarnished. To prevent this from happening again, wrap a few pieces of chalk in cheesecloth and store it with the silverware. The chalk will soak up the sulfur compounds that cause silver to tarnish, so your utensils will remain perfectly polished between uses.
8. It makes it easy to rearrange furniture
You want to move your sofa to the opposite wall in the den, but your measurements show that doing so may make it tough to open the closet door. To test it out without moving the heavy couch, use chalk to mark the floor where the sofa would go. The chalk lines allow you to see if the new arrangement works before you move anything. When you’re finished, simply sweep up the chalk dust.
9. Chalk outsmarts ring around the collar
Notice some yellow sweat stains popping up the collars of your husband’s white button-down shirts? “Chalk can help absorb oil and grease stains on clothing,” says Petya Holevich, domestic cleaning expert and supervisor for Fantastic Services. To do: Rub a generous amount of white chalk over the problem areas and let sit for 10 minutes, then wash as usual. Note: “Make sure to wipe off any chalk dust before putting your clothing piece into the washing machine,” Holevich adds. The chalk will absorb the body oils that cause ring-around-the-collar, leaving shirts looking like new. (Click through for more laundry hacks).
10. It makes it easy to hang a picture
You can’t wait to display a new frame in your living room. To make pin- pointing where to put the nail easy, rub colored chalk on the hanger of the back of the frame; press the frame against the wall in the spot you want it to go. The chalky residue will let you know exactly where to put your nail.
11. Chalk lifts grease stains from leather
Oops! While out to lunch with a friend, you spilled salad dressing on your leather bag. The save: Cover the spot with chalk, then top with paper towels and a heavy book and let sit overnight. The book will press the chalk into the leather so it can absorb the grease.
12. It keeps a key from sticking
If the key to your desk drawer gets stuck when you try to turn it in the keyhole, don’t rush to call a locksmith. Instead, just rub a piece of chalk over the tip of the key and along its teeth, then slide the key in and out of the lock a few times. The dust from the chalk will coat any lock-sticking dirt particles, ensuring the key will turn with ease.
13. Chalk makes chrome fixtures shine
A low-cost way to make chrome fixtures sparkle: In a small bowl, smash a few sticks of chalk into a fine powder. Then dip a dampened soft cloth in the dish and wipe the chrome. Rinse with warm water and dry thoroughly. The slightly abrasive chalk breaks down residue to reveal shine.
For more genius life hacks, keep reading!