9 Clever Alternative Uses for Sandpaper

The abrasive quality of sandpaper is good for more than painting prep and getting a smooth finish on wood furniture. Check out our favorite alternative ways to use this woodshop workhorse to sharpen, seed, and even clean.

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  1. Make Grout Gleam

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    When it comes to stained grout, sometimes you need to bring out the big guns. Carefully mask the edges of your tile with painter’s tape to protect them. Then fold a piece of sandpaper in half and slide the bent edge precisely into the crevice that houses the grout to sand out persistent stains. Prevent the problem from returning by sealing the grout before using the area again.  

    Related: 8 Unusual Tips for Your Cleanest Bathroom Ever

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  2. Get a Grip

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    New shoes have a tendency to slip and slide on smooth surfaces. Scuff up the soles with sandpaper to give your kicks more tread and avoid any embarrassing tumbles. You can also apply sandpaper to slippery stair treads as an extra precaution to reduce slips and falls.


    Related: 8 Smart Shoe Racks You Can Make Today

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  3. Remove Rust

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    Often-used gardening tools can get rusty after a good season’s work. Use sandpaper to remove rust and debris from shovels, spades, hoes, and other tools before sharpening the blades and putting them away for the winter.


    Related: 10 Things to Do Now for a Better Garden Next Year

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  4. Sharpen Tools

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    You can still sharpen your chisels even if you don’t have an expensive sharpening stone. Glue or tape sandpaper to the top of a super-flat, smooth surface. Then gently and evenly lay the angled part of the chisel down onto the sandpaper and draw it back toward you in smooth strokes. Start with coarse grit, then slowly move on to finer and finer grit.


    Related: 10 Toolbox Hacks for Your Next DIY Project

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  5. Loosen Lids

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    Keep a square of sandpaper in one of your kitchen drawers and use it when you need to battle a stubborn jar lid. Simply place the sandpaper grit side down onto the lid, and squeeze while you turn. 


    Related: 3 Fixes for a Stubborn Jar Lid

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  6. Deter Slugs

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    Slugs don’t like to traverse abrasive surfaces that irritate the underside of their soft bodies. Put 80-grit sandpaper around the top of your raised garden beds and on the sides of your container pots to keep these slimy creatures away. Make sure to use the waterproof variety, though, or you’ll end up not only with slugs, but also with a soppy, gritty mess to clean up.


    Related: 10 Zero Dollar Garden Hacks

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  7. Remove Fuzz from Fabric

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    If you're engaged in a constant struggle trying to remove pills from your sweaters, upholstery, or blankets, try using sandpaper to take off those annoying fuzzies. A few strokes in a single direction should return your fabrics to like-new status. If you're concerned about ruining the fabric, test in an inconspicuous area first to be safe. 


    Related: 9 Smart Hacks for Laundry Day

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  8. Speed Up Seeds

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    Some seeds have a particularly water-resistant exterior that makes it difficult for them to sprout quickly. Speed up the process by rubbing the sides of the seed with medium-grit sandpaper to wear away the hard coating and allow water to penetrate more easily. Avoid making deep scratches, and plant immediately after for best results. 


    Related: 12 Tiny Gardens You Can Grow on a Tabletop

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  9. Simple Sharpener

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    If you often find yourself needing a pencil sharpener in a pinch, then this trick is for you. Fold a piece of sandpaper around the tip of a pencil and twist it back and forth until the lead is sharp again. Then, resume doodling! 


    Related: Under $50: 10 Must-Haves for an Organized Desk

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