15 Clever Survival Uses For Steel Wool

by | Oct 27, 2020 | Do It Yourself, Featured, Homemade Survival Equipment, Practical Prepper, Prepper Supplies, Survival Gear

You might have steel wool lying around the house. But do you know that it might save your life someday? Check out this list of survival uses for steel wool!

Survival Uses for Steel Wool

Steel wool has officially been around since 1896, and you’re probably familiar with it as a great tool for cleaning pots and pans. The steel wool scouring pads that you keep under your kitchen sink are actually soaked in soap to enhance their cleaning abilities, but you can purchase standard steel wool in a variety of grades and for a multitude of uses.

Standard steel wool is made of thinly shaved, flexible fibers of low-grade carbon steel wire, aluminum, bronze or stainless steel. It is called “wool” only because of its fuzzy appearance. Super fine steel wool is grade 0000, while the coarsest steel wool available is grade 4.

Survivalists and Preppers will want to stock up on standard steel wool in a variety of grades. Not only is it inexpensive and will last for years, but it has tons of practical uses, especially in a SHTF situation.

1. Start Fires


All you need to start a fire is some steel wool and batteries. A 9V battery works best, but multiple AA or AAA batteries will achieve the same end result. Just rub the battery leads with the steel wool and add some tinder as it sparks. Cotton balls make for great tinder to ignite the flames.

2. Remove Rust

Your vehicles, tools, and firearms can all become susceptible to rust, which can be removed with steel wool. Steel wool is one of the most popular ways to remove rust from guns.

3. Sharpen Scissors

Scissors are a great tool, especially when you’re asking children for their help with tasks. But once they become dull, they’re close to useless. You can keep your scissors sharp by using them to cut through steel wool.

4. Maintain Gardening Tools

Maintain Gardening Tools | Survival Uses for Steel Wool

When your household is totally self-sufficient, you’ll be spending a lot of time tending to your garden, which will be your primary source of nutrition. Maintaining your gardening tools in top form will be a priority, and you can do so with dampened grade 000 steel wool.

5. Repel Rodents


Rodents are one of the biggest threats to your food stockpile, but you can use steel wool to keep them at bay. Just stuff steel wool into any entry cracks or holes that the rodents are using to access your home, and keep it in place with duct tape. Chewing on the steel wool will cause the mouse or rat to die, and your food stores will be safe from contamination.

6. Tighten Loose Screws

In a true SHTF situation, there will be no more stopping by the hardware store and replacing items as they break. You’ll be repairing what you have again and again. Even as you screw into a hole that is getting too big, you can use steel wool wound around the screw to hold it in place.

7. Hide Your Steps

If you’ve left rubber heel marks on a vinyl floor, some water and steel wool will remove the evidence that you traveled through the room.

8. Cleaning Your Knives


The same way that you can clean rust off of your firearms, you can use steel wool to clean your knife blades. Just be mindful that rubbing steel wool on the edge of the blade can dull it; this application is for the sides of the blade.

9. Remove Scuffs from Sneakers

With interrupted supply chains and the demise of society, you’ll want to keep what you do have, in good shape. Your tennis shoes can be easily cleaned up with grade 00 steel wool and water.

10. Finish Woodwork


Grade 0000 steel wool is great for removing dust particles on a piece of wood furniture prior to its final coat of shellac or stain, or to finish the piece with a distressed look. Chances are that you’ll be learning how to build your own furniture if you’re handy, and it may become a business opportunity for you.

11. Clean Glass

Not sure about you, but Windex is not in my Bug Out Bag. Grade 0000 steel wool with water can be used to scrub glass windows and windshields when they get dirty. Steel wool will even remove especially offensive stains like tree sap or adhesive glue.

12. Remove Crayon from Wallpaper

If your children are becoming restless inside while you work outside, and they take their artwork to the walls, don’t freak out. Steel wool with water can be used to clean wallpaper, but remember to be gentle and only wipe in one direction, not scrub.

13. Polish Real Brass

Polish Real Brass | Survival Uses for Steel Wool

Not for use on plated brass, but real brass can be polished using grade 000 steel wool, salt, and lemon juice.

14. Clean Your Tires

WD-40 on some grade 0000 steel wool will have them looking good as new.

15. Prevent Clogged Drains

Prevent Clogged Drains | Survival Uses for Steel Wool

You may not have access to a plumber when SHTF, so before everyone takes their bath or shower, cover the drain with steel wool. It allows the water to make its way through, but hair and debris will get caught and can be easily removed without clogging the drain.

There are some Preps that provide a myriad of uses, and steel wool is one of them. Now is the time to stock up, and be sure to purchase a few different grades so you don’t unintentionally damage the items you’re cleaning or repairing.

Do you have other survival uses for steel wool you’d like to share? Please let us know in the comments section!

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