When older chalkboards become tough to write on, it's a sign that they need to be reconditioned. Reconditioning a chalkboard removes debris from its surface, making it smooth and clean. If scrubbing the chalkboard doesn't work, a quick coating of chalkboard paint will renew the surface. This process should be repeated every few months, or more often if deemed necessary.
Fill a bucket with warm water. Dip a sponge into the water and wipe down the surface of the chalkboard with the damp sponge, paying careful attention to areas that are frequently used.
Spray the entire surface of the board with Dawn Power Dissolver dish cleaner and let the foam soak in for about 15 minutes. The cleaner will detach dirt and grime from the surface of the chalkboard.
Dip the sponge in the bucket of water and rinse the Dawn Power Dissolver off the chalkboard. Dry the board with a towel and try writing on it with a piece of chalk. If the Dawn treatment doesn't work, painting over the chalkboard with chalkboard paint re-establishes the surface.
Prep the surface for the chalkboard paint. Wipe down the chalkboard with the damp sponge and dry it thoroughly with a towel.
Open up the can of chalkboard paint and give it a stir with a paint stirrer. Apply the paint to the chalkboard with a paintbrush with long, even strokes, being careful not to leave brush marks, bumps or uneven sections on the board. Allow the paint to dry completely.
Test a piece of chalk on the painted chalkboard. It should glide smoothly across the surface of the board. Repeat the cleaning, or painting, process every few months, or more often if necessary.
Chalkboard paint is a black paint that can be purchased at most hardware stores. Its finish imitates that of a chalkboard.