Liquid chalk

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The term liquid chalk refers to several different kinds of chalk:

  • liquid-chalk marking pens (with water-soluble ink);[1]
  • liquid-chalk mixtures (for athletic use: rock climbing, weightlifting, gymnastics);
  • liquid-chalk hobby-craft paints made of cornstarch and food coloring (some with small amounts of flour).

Despite the term, some forms of "liquid chalk" contain no actual chalk.


Liquid chalk can be a variation of normal chalk (see: magnesium carbonate) used to improve grip for sports, such as rock climbing, weight lifting, or gymnastics.

Rock climbing[edit]

Rock climbers use liquid chalk to prevent their hands from sweating. It may be used by climbers in situations where powdered chalk is restricted. It is preferred by athletes because it remains effective longer and leaves less residue on rocks[2] and equipment.[3] Liquid chalk for rock climbers is made from magnesium carbonate, as compared to the more common powder chalk, which is calcium carbonate. Since liquid chalk does not leave a white residue, it is an environmentally friendly alternative. In four forms of climbing, liquid chalk may prove more useful than powdered chalk.

  • Bouldering—Climbing without a rope on small cliffs or boulders. Easier handling of difficult boulders.
  • Competition Climbing—Liquid chalk allows competitive climbers to take fewer chalk breaks, reducing the number of holds.
  • Indoor Climbing—Avoids banned powder dusts.
  • Outdoor Climbing—Chalk deposits on natural rock formations are ecologically harmful, and in many climbing locations, the use of chalk for climbing is strictly forbidden. Liquid chalk requires less material and causes less damage.
  • Deep-water soloing—Due to the risk of falling into water involved with deep-water solo climbing, some climbers opt for liquid chalk that allows them to apply chalk to their hands before starting the climb. They place a line of chalk on their forearms to re-chalk during the climb. This reduces waste of loose chalk and prevents having to dry out a chalk bag.

Liquid Chalk in Other Sports[edit]

In other sports, liquid chalk is less beneficial to the athlete, because re-chalking can be done more easily between sets or rounds. However, some gyms require liquid chalk because it leaves less residue on gym equipment. Liquid chalk adheres to the hand better, reducing the need to re-chalk.[4][5]


Some liquid-chalk mixtures for climbing are made with magnesium carbonate, colophony, and ethanol or an alcohol that dissolves the colophony and quickly evaporates from the solution (as isopropyl alcohol or ethanol).[6] Sometimes, resin or rosin is added to increase gripping properties[7] or an additive for aroma is included because of the bad smell of spirit.


Sports liquid chalk is sold in bottles. The user takes a small amount into their palms, spreading the chalk onto areas that require grip. The liquid evaporates when it comes into contact with the warmth of a users hand, leaving behind chalk. Alcohol disrupts the bonds between water molecules, reducing the energy needed to cause evaporation.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "cedar". cedar. Retrieved 2016-11-28.
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  8. ^ "Liquid Chalk".