Steel wool became a popular item around the time of World War I. This was also when aluminum cookware was developed and replaced most cast iron cookware. The steel filaments were spun into shapes and used as an abrasive for polishing, finishing and repair work. The steel wool, which is also known as wire sponge or wire wool spun into bundles made cleaning metal objects, sanding surfaces, cleaning cookware, metal doors and windows easy. During the nineteen century mechanics used to gather up metal shavings from their lathes and used them to polish metal surfaces to keep them shiny and working efficiently. By the turn of the twentieth century steel wool was manufactured for use in homes and comes in eight grades ranging from extra-fine to extra-course to accommodate a variety of different jobs. Steel wool has a full range of household projects it can tackle whether it is used for just cleaning or to renovate a home project. You’ll never know when some of this versatile material will come in handy and every homeowner should keep some steel wool on hand in the house and in the garage for any unexpected job or task around the house.
Steel wool makes a great drain stopper when a wad or ball of it is placed over a bathroom tub drain. Doing this allows water to pass through the drain while catching loose hair before it is able to travel down the pipes causing a hair blockage in the plumbing. People with long hair and pets when bathing has a tendency to shed more hair, making clogs occur faster, whereas having the steel wool in place captures those loose or shedding hairs preventing clogged drains. It is important to remove the steel wool after using it immediately to prevent the drain cover from rusting.
Over time scissors can become dull, not create crisp cuts and tatter paper that is being shaped or used for wrapping packages. When this happens, it is easy to sharpen the scissor blades simply by cutting through some steel wool. The edges of the scissors used for cutting will instantly become sharp again as if they were a new pair of shears. Plan on doing this periodically or on a regular basis to keep all the scissors in the house sharp and ready to tackle any project that may be at hand.
Using steel wool that is extra-fine works wonderfully as a substitute for sandpaper. It works better depending upon what wood surfaces need sanding because it is more flexible than a sheet of sandpaper and conforms into irregular shapes, grooves and intricate patterns of the wood more easily allowing for more sanding to be completed in a more timely manner.
Tighten a loose screw
Over time a screw might become loose or if that screw was removed the hole could become oversized once it was removed. A few strands of steel wool can fix that problem without having to drill a deeper hole or replace the screw with a larger one. Place a few strands of steel wool around the screw once it is halfway back in the hole. The screw the remaining part of the screw in place, the screw will set properly without leaving extra space in that small area so it will remain in place and tight as if it was just installed.
Keeps pests and rodents out
Temporarily fills gaps, spaces and holes around the house, inside and out where small mice or rodents can enter. Many times there are gaps around doors, spaces just large enough around where cable lines or electrical wires enter a home of business. By packing these areas with steel wool it prevents mice from chewing through and causing damage in the home. Mice and rodents can’t gnaw through steel wool. Once the steel wool is in place caulking, wall board, concrete, foam insulation, silicone or wood planks can be used, over these areas to permanently prevent any rodents or pests from ever entering those areas again.
Provide new life to gardening tools
At the end of each season it is a great idea to spruce up those gardening tools to keep them working better the next time they are needed. After rinsing the tools of soil and clinging grass blades rub the tools with some steel wool dipped in a little vegetable oil. Once the garden tools are clean from debris, wipe them down with a clean cloth and be sure they are completely dry before storing them for the winter. Come spring all those garden tools will look new and be ready to tackle another season of digging or poking around in the garden. This trick works on metal railings and outdoor tables and chairs that are made of metal or cast iron to keep them rust free.
Removes scuff marks on vinyl flooring
Applying a light hand with some extra-fine steel wool can quickly eliminate scuff marks that are usually left behind by rubber heeled shoes. A soft scrubbier on a sponge or a toothbrush can also do the trick, although the process takes more time and requires a lot more elbow grease to get the job done.
Remove grime from car rims
A little dish soap mixed into hot water and some extra-fine steel wool is all that is needed to make car rims look new again. Drip the steel wool into the soap solution and gently rub off all the road grime that gets stuck on car rums. The flexibility of the steel wool allows for easy access to smaller areas on the rims and can wrap around the spokes. Now the road dirt, grease and grime that can get into these areas will be clean and skinny in no time at all. This also works on aluminum storm windows and doors as well as on bathroom and kitchen fixture to remove all traces of soap scum and hard water marks that may be left behind over time.