8 Life Hacks With Steel Wool




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8 Life Hacks with Steel Wool


Steel wool has been around for over 100 years and is commonly thought of as a polishing or sanding tool. But we have found several more uses for steel wool.

We have tested these ideas with success. I hope you can benefit from some of these awesome life hacks.

All of the following hacks are used with the Ultra Fine #0000 grade of steel wool.

Hacks Included:

1. Catch Animal Hair

2. Fix a Loose Screw

3. Wash your Windshield

4. Remove Black Heel Marks

5. Mice Barrier

6. Start a Fire

7. Clean old Tires

8. Clean Sneakers


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Lifehacks are great techniques, tricks, shortcuts, or novelty ways to reuse, repurpose, recycle, and upcycle certain products in uncommon ways to make life easier.

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Step 1: Catch Animal Hair

Catch Animal Hair

If you have a dog or cat, there is a good chance a bunch of hair will go down the drain the next time you wash them.

This is an easy fix if you have some steel wool.

If you unroll a piece of wool and roll it back up long ways, you can now wrap it around your drain.

The fine mesh of fibers will allow the water to pass by, but it will catch the animal hair.

This will help to keep your drain free flowing.

When you are done, just gather the steel wool and hair and toss in the trash.

Step 2: Fix a Loose Screw

Fix a Loose Screw

If you have loose screw in a hole, there is an easy way to tighten the bond.

First remove the screw. Then take a thin layer of steel wool and wrap it around the screw.

Then reinstall the screw.

The screw should now have tighter tolerances and hold better.

Step 3: Wash Your Windshield

Wash your Windshield

Do you have bunch of water marks and imbedded dirt on your windshield?

Have you ever tried steel wool?

Make sure you are using Ultra Fine #0000 grade for this hack.

If you wet your windshield and wet the steel wool, you can gently use the wool to clean your windshield.

I did this on my own car and it worked great.

Step 4: Remove Black Heel Marks

Remove Black Heel Marks

Have you ever walked across a nice floor only to realize that you left a black heel mark?

Here is a simple way to fix it.

Use a wet piece of steel wool and gently rub the flooring and the black heel mark should disappear.

Step 5: Mice Barrier

Mice Barrier

If you have pipes entering your house, then that is a great place for mice to get in.

To help prevent that from happening, just take some steel wool and place it in all of the gaps between the pipe and the wall.

Mice do not like the taste of it in their mouths.

Step 6: Start a Fire

Start a Fire

Have you ever needed to start a fire and did not have any dry matches?

Then it is a good to carry some #0000 steel wool and a 9-volt battery.

If you gently rub the connections of the battery on the steel, it will burn the wool.

This will even work if the wool is damp.

Then place some dry paper, dryer lint, dried leaves, etc on the sparks to create a fire.

Step 7: Clean Old Tires

Clean Old Tires

If you have some old tires that have lost their luster, you can use some steel wool and WD-40 to return that shine.

Just spray the WD-40 on to the steel wool and give the tire a good rub.

Then thoroughly wash the tire to remove any residue.

The original shine of the tire should be returning.

Step 8: Clean Sneakers

Clean Sneakers

Do you have a good pair of sneakers, but they are just too dirty to wear in public?

Here is a great way to clean them.

Using some steel wool and some plain (non-gel) toothpaste, gently rub the white bottoms of your sneakers.

The dirt and grime should come off relatively easy.

Make sure to wash all of the residue off before wearing.



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    95 Discussions


    1 year ago

    You left out the most useful application of all. Use steel wool and kerosene to remove surface rust from just about anything that has been plated. Bicycle rims and spokes, steel table legs, tyre rims, old bumper bars etc. Depending on the surface rust it can end up looking almost brand new.


    1 year ago

    Thank you for the instructable. While there may be (some) better ways to do some of the tasks as I have seen in other comments they are off topic. I feel that the topic is on uses and life hacks for steel wool. Yes Steel wool is quite versatile. Many of the comments do mention some valid points like rust marks and galvanic reaction.
    So use with caution.
    I have successfully used Stainless steel wool (course pot scourers) to block potential mouse holes. It also makes a versatile backfill when patching holes around pipes before using filler. -Watch out for rust marks if you are not using stainless steel.

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Don't forget about brass wool. It is useful when steel wool might rust.


    2 years ago

    i don't think it will work for mice...

    I had a tool chest in the shed with steel wool in it.

    One day i found a mice nest in the bottom part of the tool chest.

    The nest was made out of.... Steel wool they took from the other drawer :)

    12 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    LOL, mice eat anything. I've seen bags of laundry detergent that were ate through by mice.


    Reply 2 years ago

    The steel wool has to be crammed into the crack or hole very tightly. I can see their stripping off pieces from a pad of steel wool--or even from the loose ends sticking out of the hole in the picture in the article. I wouldn't think steel wool would be comfortable to sleep on, but I'm not a mouse.

    Steel wool crammed in cracks and around pipes also stops small insects, according to our exterminator.


    Reply 2 years ago

    You are right enough on this. Other sites and pest control suggest cramming steel wool in the cracks. If they do chew on it, it goes into their digestive trachs and the little buggers die later I am told. (I know, sounds cruel, but they ARE rodents.)


    Reply 2 years ago

    Digestive tract. I'm the language police. Woot-woot-woot. Pull ovah.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Steel wool fragments easily, and when eaten/chewed by mice(or rats) cause sores in the mouth, throat, stomach, and digestive tract. Most mice and rat poison uses a chemical used in human medicine - warfarin. It is a long known blood thinner and in high does can cause ulcers and sores in the digestive tract. Combined with the blood thinning action, the pests hemorrhage and die due to internal bleeding. Not pretty, but they ARE a major pest in human habitation around the world.


    Reply 2 years ago

    it sure was comfortable enough to raise a new family of 5 new mini mice :)

    Funky Divernovielo

    Reply 2 years ago

    Who also didn't have to worry about clogging their drains after bathing :D


    Reply 2 years ago

    Metal pot-scrubbers work better for this application, as it is much harder to pull pieces of it off.


    Reply 2 years ago

    I had a camp trailer with a mouse problem.

    After smoking them out with cedar smouldering at one end and a computer case fan pushing out the other end, I stuffed steel wool into some spray foam then sealed it with more spray foam.

    No more mice, but plenty of chew marks until I put a small piece of galvanized duct over it.


    1 year ago

    Steel wool gets rusty real quick. I wouldn't put it anywhere in the bathtub. Anyways, good ideas. I may try to make a fire with the steel wool.


    2 years ago

    I ruined the glass of a fish aquarium before by cleaning the algae with steel wool. It seemed like a good idea at the time but it creates fine scratches in the glass; which in turn attracts alga and becomes harder and harder to clean. The scratches the steel wool makes become quite noticeable over time

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    Glass varies greatly in its hardness and abrasion resistance. Another major issue with surface abrasions on glass it that even un-tempered glass has much of its strength in its surface layer. Break the surface layer and the glass is substantially weakened.