Jun 25, 2023

The Hack That'll Extend The Life Of Your Steel Wool Scrubber

Steel wool scrubbers make excellent cleaning helpers since they're compatible with so many needs. You can use these pads to scrape stuck-on residue off your pots and pans, polish your wooden furniture, or even sand down surfaces. But if you're not careful, you might start to notice this beloved tool can turn into a rusty mess fairly quickly, especially after consistent use. To make matters worse, this rust can spread to your favorite cookware, like your cast iron skillet.

When that begins to happen, you'll have to toss your current pad (and possibly your cookware) in the trash and buy a new one, only for the cycle to repeat itself. Who wants to keep buying new scrubbers? These cleaning tools aren't very costly, but when they're used multiple times a day, they rust very quickly due to their iron content and their lifespan begins to dwindle. Luckily enough, we've discovered a hack that will extend the life of your steel wool scrubber to minimize how often you replace this item. The best part is that you likely already have everything on hand — no more money spent! All you need is some aluminum foil, your steel wool pad, a space in your freezer, and voila! Say goodbye to the chance of rust.

Is your steel wool scrubber currently sitting next to your kitchen faucet? We thought so. If you're looking to extend the life of your cleaning helper and prevent rust from forming, it's time to give it a new home in the freezer. While the current placement isn't the leading cause of rust developing on your cleaning pad, it's the water that can easily come into contact with the metal of the scrubber that's the culprit.

As your steel wool sits out in the open, it's penetrated with oxygen from the air. When the oxygen meshes with H2O from your sink, that combination begins to form rust. The best way to keep your steel wool scrubber from developing rust is to wrap it in aluminum foil and then place it in the freezer. The extreme cold will stop the moisture from seeping into the metal before it has a chance to set in. The aluminum cover then stops the chemical reaction further by protecting your scrubber with its oxide layer that keeps excess oxygen out. This will prevent the reaction from the air and water and keep your scrubber rust-free!

Ran out of aluminum foil? No problem. You can place your scrubber in a Ziploc bag as an alternative and still achieve the same result. The freezer alone shocks the scrubber and takes away the moisture that seeps into the metal, but the Ziploc bag removes another key element of rust: oxygen. Just remember to seal the top of the bag to keep the scrubber free from moisture and air.

When you're ready to use your steel wool scrubber again, you might be wondering if thawing is in order. The quickest way to un-freeze your scrubber is to run some hot water over it for a few seconds. It should loosen up fairly quickly and be ready to tackle your dirtiest of pans. It's not a bad idea to let a paper towel or dish towel soak up some of the excess water as well before you wrap it back up in aluminum foil or the Ziploc bag and store it in the freezer.