Brilliant Steel Wool Hacks You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

If you're only using steel wool to scrub your pots, you're tapping just a fraction of its potential! Find out how to put steel wool to work all around the house.

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Sideview of loose screw
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Take a cue from carpenters

This is an old carpenter’s trick: If you have a screw hole that’s too big, just wrap a bit of steel wool around the screw before you drive it in. It provides just enough friction to hold the screw firmly in place and takes less futzing than trying to fill a hole and re-drill.

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Use vinegar as a drain cleaner
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Looking for a disposable drain strainer? Use steel wool

Don’t end up with a clogged drain: Before you give Fido his next bath, use a wad of steel wool to block the drain. There’s enough room for water to get through, but nasty hair and gunk will get caught up in the steel wool.

Find out six things plumbers never do in their own homes.

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How to clean white sneakers
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Clean dirty sneakers

Don’t you hate getting scuffs on your white soled shoes? Use steel wool to fix this common footwear dilemma! Moisten a steel wool soap pad and gently scrub away at stains. Wipe them clean with a damp sponge or put them in the washing machine and they’ll be good as new.

These laundry hacks will also come in handy.

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Dirty garden tools
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Keep garden tools in shape

Nothing will extend the life of your gardening tools like a good cleaning at the end of each growing season. Grab a wad of fine steel wool, and saturate it with the same type of oil you use on squeaky door hinges. Rub rust off your shears, shovels, and anything else with metal parts. Wipe them clean with a dry rag, sharpen any blades, and reapply with a bit of oil before storing them for winter.

Here are more gardening tips to save you time, money and effort.

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Sanding wood surface
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Use steel wool after sanding a DIY project

Anxious to put varnish on that freshly sanded project? Well, just hold on a second! Before applying the finish, rub the project (moving with the grain—not against it) using steel wool. You’ll lift sanding dust from the grain and burnish and shine the surface fibres. Follow up with a Swiffer-style cleaning cloth to wipe away any specks of dust or steel wool. You’re now ensured a pristine surface for perfect results with oil-based (not water-based) finishes.

Got more DIY projects on the go? Check out these painting tips from the pros.

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Empty open electric oven
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Clean the oven

For burnt food stuck to the bottom of your oven, steel wool is a much better alternative than toxic oven-cleaning chemicals. After running your oven’s self-cleaning cycle, use steel wool to remove the burnt debris and make your oven shine like new.

Find out how to clean absolutely everything in your kitchen, according to Charles the Butler of CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show.

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Critter hole in wood
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Fill critter holes

Dealing with a mouse infestation is never fun. Once you’ve done your detective work, you can plug suspected mouse holes with a wad of steel wool. It’s inexpensive and mice won’t chew through it.

Here are more secrets exterminators want you to know.

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Rusty tools
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Clean rusty tools

At some point, every metal tool develops rust. Fortunately, steel wool excels at removing surface rust. Just grab a wad of steel wool and start buffing your tools. They’ll look like new in no time!

These genius home hacks will stretch your decorating dollar.

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Vinyl flooring
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Remove scuff marks on floors

Dark-soled shoes on vinyl floors can lead to scuff marks. Fear not—a few scrubs with a some steel wool and the scuff marks will be gone.

Discover 30 nearly-forgotten house cleaning tips from the past.

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Sharpen scissors

It may seem counterintuitive, but using your dull scissors to cut steel wool actually sharpens them! You won’t be able to grind a new bevel by any means, but a few snips through steel wool will renew the cutting edges of your scissors.

No steel wool handy? You can also use aluminum foil to sharpen scissors!

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Steel wool uses - multi-coloured crayons
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Remove crayon from wallpaper

If your miniature Monet was inspired to create a masterpiece with crayons on your wallpaper, don’t despair. Steel wool is just abrasive enough to remove the crayon marks. Just make sure to test it in an inconspicuous spot first.

Next, check out 13 cleaning hacks that take the hassle out of housekeeping.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

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