10 Ways To Use Steel Wool That Are Borderline Genius

published Mar 20, 2018
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(Image credit: Kath Nas)

Steel wool isn’t exactly a jack-of-all-trades item. It’s bristle-y, scratchy, and abrasive, and that’s what most of its uses involve: sanding wood and cleaning your pots and pans chief among them. But there are more uses that you should have on your radar for easy life hacks that will help you out around the house.

1. Mice-Proof Your Spaces

If you have mice in your basement, or find suspicious holes in your walls, then just shove steel wool either under the door, or in those empty spots. Mice won’t chew through it.

2. Restore Chrome

Blue dish soap, warm water, and 0000-grade steel wool (AKA super fine) are your best friend for chrome. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bike fender or a vintage chair, it removes pitting and makes the metal shine like you never thought it could.

(Image credit: Kath Nas)

3. Sharpen Your Scissors

Aluminum foil is expensive and I never remember to take my scissors in to be sharpened professionally. If you’re forgetful like me, just use your scissors to cut through a pad of steel wool and you’re all set. (Save the shredded bits to use in the next project below.)

4. Distress Wood in a Flash

Don’t want to wait for new wood to weather naturally? Just add white vinegar to a jar and drop in a pad of steel wool. Give it a few days to work some chemical-reaction magic and use the new solution just like you would any stain.

5. Dirty Shoes? Clean Them Up!

Although steel wool is abrasive, it works true magic on rubber. (Formerly) white soles on your shoes? Get the new bright look back with a little warm water and some light scrubbing.

6. Help Out Small Screws

Is your hole too big for your screw? Need to change screws and all you have are ones that technically a little too small? No worries. Just pull apart a steel wool pad and wind a few strands around the screw and insert it once more. Problem solved.

7. Drain Catcher

Steel wool placed snuggly in/on top of a drain can help catch hair when washing pets. They are also great for the kitchen when you can’t find the sink strainer or yours is in the dishwasher. Just make sure water can still filter through and your sink doesn’t fill up.

8. Start a Fire

This should be in everyone’s emergency kit, especially when prepping for the apocalypse. (Kidding.) (Kind of.) Fact: When you touch steel wool to both poles of a 9-volt battery, sparks start and fire happens. It’s magic! And also dangerous! Be careful, is what I’m saying.

9. Wall Scribbles Be Gone!

Need to remove crayon from the walls, or shoe marks from your kitchen floor? Steel wool works great to cut through those thick waxy marks.

10. Polish Brass Bits

Want to polish your brass collection? Just squeeze on a little lemon juice and shake a little salt in your steel wool pad and buff.

What do you use steel wool for? There’s a reason it was in your grandparents garage as well as your parents and most likely under your kitchen sink too — it’s just so darn handy….