Something For Nothing #1 - Steel Wool

In any survival situation, you must make the best of what you have...but what if what you have isn’t the best?


Steel wool may not seem like a survival tool, but it absolutely has a great many uses. After making this list I’m going to go add it to my regular stash of cleaning supplies. I always thought it damaged anything you rubbed it on. Turns out I was very wrong.


But enough of that stuff, this week let’s see what Steel Wool can do!


#1 – Sharpen Scissors. No, really.

And its even easier than you might guess as well. Just bundle up some steel wool and cut it with scissors. Knives can also be sharpened this way, but make sure you only rub it on the sides of the blade. I could not find an explanation as to why scissors work by cutting the wool and knives would be dulled, but I’m sure that info is out there.


#2 – Rodent Control. Because uncontrolled rodents are so much worse.

Unfortunately, this method is not very humane. So only use this in situations where you absolutely must keep rodents out of your food or other areas. It works by killing the rodents when they chew it, hence the inhumane nature of it.


#3 – Erase Your Steps. If you really need to.

Water and steel wool will remove most heel marks from vinyl floors.


#4 – Tighten Screws. Because loose screws are unhelpful.

Wrap the screw in some steel wool and then screw it in as normal. This helps keep the screw in place as well.


#5 – Scraping Rust. Use gloves though, no one wants tetanus.

Simple metal care here. Just grab a big bunch of steel wool and liberally apply some elbow grease. Now if only they sold elbow grease in stores.


#6 – Stain Wood. Yes, really.

Mix steel wool and vinegar to get an ebonizing stain. I did manage to find a link for this, and apparently, it works great.


#7 – Prevent Clogs. By creating a clog.

Stuff the steel wool into a drain and then do whatever you need to do, and the steel wool will catch the unwanted potential clog.


#8 – Remove Crayon. Why it's there in the first place? Can’t help with that.

If you somehow manage to get crayon on your wallpaper, use steel wool lightly on it to remove the bits of wax without damaging the wallpaper itself.


#9 – The Coolest Fire Starter Ever. Yup, another way to make fire.

You will need a 9V battery to help you with this, but it really is one of the coolest survival tricks out there. Mostly because its flashy. Make certain if you do this that the steel wool is bare, not S.O.S. pad type steel wool. That has chemicals in it you may not want to breathe in. I don’t have specifics, but I’ll trust my gut and say if it isn’t actual air and nothing else, you probably shouldn’t breathe it in.


Anyway, grab a bunch of steel wool and some tinder. Also have your kindling and marshmallows ready. You can put the steel wool just near the tinder, be it paper, sawdust or whatever tiny twigs you find, or you can wrap the steel wool around the tinder and stick tinder inside the bundle of steel wool.


Once you have it set up as you want, touch it with both contact points of a 9V battery. From that point the steel wool should spark in a bunch of places, easily sparking up any sized fire you need.

Add kindling and skewer some marshmallows and you are all good.


I’m certain there must be more uses, can any of you think of any? If you do, remember to make notes and/or let us know in the comments below.


Until next week, here are some links to keep you going! 1, 2, and 3.

© 2019 GEMCAT, Inc.

 T 905.404.3639 / F 365.800.1213 / rachel@emcat.ca

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