Uses for Steel Wool range from stopping infestations of rodents, starting a fire, refinishing wood and metal surfaces and even keeping mice out of the house.
Steel wool is a bundle of very fine, abrasive steel filaments that are used to solve problems about the house. Steel wool has several different grades from 0000#, which is very fine and usually will not scratch to 4#, or the extra coarse type that can scratch surfaces. Steel wool is most often used in refinishing furniture, but it has many other uses. You may have used steel wool in the kitchen as the ever popular Brillo pad, which is steel wool with soap in it. The following are unexpected uses of steel wool that really work. Always wear gloves when working with steel wool so that the fibers do not stick into your skin and cause pain and problems. The gloves need to be slightly thick like garden gloves, construction gloves or heavy rubber kitchen gloves.
Woodworkers have been using steel wool to remove old varnish, paint or stain for years. It is also used to apply paint, varnish and shiny lacquers. For an interesting effect soak a pad of fine steel wool in vinegar and use it to apply paint. It gives the wood an aged and slightly distressed look. The vinegar method used with super fine wool gets nasty old furniture wax off and your arm won’t get as tired sanding when you are refinishing the project. You can also dip fine to superfine on wood water so that the surface will not scratch. Do a test area first to make sure no unsightly scratches are a result.
Aluminum and Other Metal
Scrub caked or burnt on food from pots and pans with steel wool. Never use steel wool with stainless steel because often causes rust. However, you can use steel wool on aluminum, glass, porcelain, iron and other metal pans. Also get gunk off stove and barbeque racks. Use a fine grade with water on bathroom or kitchen fixtures to get rid of soap scum and hard water marks. Buff up aluminum lawn furniture and storm windows by buffing with 00 grade steel wool.
If members of the family have long, thick hair that tends to get stuck in the shower drain and clog it up, steel wool will come to your rescue. It also helps if you are bathing a dog that sheds in the bathtub. Carefully stuff steel wool in the drain. Do not push it so deep it will hard to get out again. Pack it good so that it won’t go down the drain with the force of the water. Once you are done, remove the drain cap and the steel wool. It is porous enough to t water go down the drain, but not the hair and you can remove it before it gets slimy and nasty.
Heal marks on vinyl flooring are sometimes hard to remove. Dip some steel wool in water and gently scrub to remove them. Do you have a Picasso that enjoys writing on the wall or wall paper with crayons? Use some fine grade steel wool and rub it lightly in one direction, not in a circle, to get rid of it. You can dip the wool in water first if you desire. Use fine grade steel wool and water to keep sneakers white. Just buff with the wet steel wool and wipe clean with a paper towel.
Household scissors often go dull after a while since they are used so much. Take a pad of steel wool and cut through it several times. This also works on garden tools. At the end of the season or when the tools get a little dirty and dull, just use 000 grade and add household oil to it. Rub it on shears, clippers, shovels and hoes. Not only will it get rid of rust, it will sharpen the tool too. Just wipe them dry with a rag when done.
Ever have a problem when a hole is too big for a screw to fit and therefore, it doesn’t hold as well. Stuff the hole with a bit of steel wool and it will solve that problem for good. Did you forget matches when you went on your camping trip and have to rub two sticks together to start a fire? Steel wool would have come to the rescue here too. Touch the terminals of a 9-volt battery to make a spark and set the wool on fire. It will burn well even in wet conditions so you can get a fire going with a match in wet weather. It works as tinder. Stuff nooks and crannies in the eaves of the house or around pipes and you will no longer have any rodents in the house. Rodents will not chew steel wool because it hurts them.
The uses of steel wool are endless so it is a good thing to have a few different grades around the house just in case it is needed. The grades most used around the house run from the superfine 0000# to Fine grade or 0#. Always wear gloves when using steel wool and avoid using it with stainless steel and it is safe and convenient to use.