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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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Use vinegar as a drain cleanerPhoto: Shutterstock

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 .

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How to clean white sneakersPhoto: Shutterstock

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.

Find out more pro tips on how to clean white sneakers.

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Dirty garden toolsPhoto: Shutterstock

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.

These simple yard tool hacks will make your life easier.

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Sanding wood surfacePhoto: Shutterstock

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 the pros don’t want you to know.

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Empty open electric ovenPhoto: Shutterstock

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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Aged dark hardwoodPhoto: Shutterstock

Use steel wool to instantly “age” wood

If you want to make new wood “age” quickly, use a mixture of steel wool and vinegar as stain. The brown-gray liquid, when applied to new lumber, gives it a silvery patina. It’s a much faster way to create this in-demand look than letting your wood sit outside for a few years (and it’s non-toxic, too!).

Check out 100+ more clever uses for vinegar all around the house.

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Critter hole in woodPhoto: Shutterstock

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.

Could these pests be hiding in your attic?

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Rusty toolsPhoto: Shutterstock

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!

Find out more cleaning hacks for hard-to-remove stuff.

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Vinyl flooringPhoto: Shutterstock

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.

Here’s more expert advice on how to clean vinyl floors.

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ScissorPhoto: Shutterstock

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 crayonsPhoto: Shutterstock

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.

Psst–you can also use toothpaste to remove crayon from walls!

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Sideview of loose screwPhoto: Shutterstock

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.

Now that you’ve got these steel wool hacks under your belt, find out 25 genius ways to use plastic wrap around the house.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest