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Whether you’re eating hush puppies, fried green tomatoes, Nashville style hot catfish, fried chicken, beignets, or chicken fried steak, there’s no denying the fact that Southerners love fried food. If you have been known to whip up a batch of crispy fried okra or coconut fried shrimp in your kitchen, you may want to start keeping a supply of chalk nearby. It’s not to keep track of your calories (heavens no!) or update your grocery list on the fly, but because chalk is the perfect antidote to grease stains.

You know how gymnasts cover their hands with chalk before trying those death-defying feats on the uneven bars? That’s because chalk is so good at instantly absorbing oil and sweat that its use has been incorporated into the sport. Inspired by the gymnasts doing back flips, the clever folks at Apartment Therapy point out that incorporating a pack of white chalk into your kitchen can make it easy to harness chalk’s grease-absorbing powers to quickly blot out oil stains on your clothing.  One note of caution, Apartment Therapy notes that some varieties of chalk, especially brightly-colored sidewalk chalk, can contain wax or coloring, which is not good for clothing. Stick to plain, old white blackboard chalk for your stain-removing bag of tricks.

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Here’s how it works: the next time you’re frying up a batch of chicken and grease splatters on your favorite apron, wipe off any excess food or oil with a clean paper towel. Then grab the white chalk and start scribbling. Cover the entire spot with chalk and give it a few minutes to absorb the oil completely. When you have a moment, wash the clothing in your washing machine’s hot water cycle, covering the stain with either stain remover or laundry detergent before tossing it in the washer. When the wash cycle is over, the memory of that greasy chicken stain on your favorite apron should be long gone. The trick works so well that if you’re a messy eater (no judgment), you may be able to swap chalk for the Tide Stick you keep in your purse for soaking up greasy stains before they set.

The next time you haul out the deep fryer to whip up a batch of deep fried pickles or catfish bites, make sure you keep a few pieces of white chalk nearby. When something splatters—and it will—grab the chalk and scribble the stain away, keeping in mind that it will work best if you act quickly.