How to Keep Steel Wool Pads from Rusting? (3 Ways!) + More!

How to keep Steel Wool Pads from Rusting

Having to always toss out rusted steel wool pads before getting value for your money can be a bit frustrating.

We bet you can’t remember the number of times you’ve had to throw out a pair of steel wool pads you’d just bought not too long ago that rusted quickly.

If you’re looking for ways to keep steel wool pads from rusting, then don’t worry, there is a solution (more than one). We have it, and you will also have it, by the end of this article.

How to keep Steel Wool Pads from Rusting?

Method 1- Up Your Storage Game

The way we store our steel wool pads goes a long way to determining the lifespan of the steel wool before rusting. Proper storing methods promote longevity and efficient utilization.

A lot of people make the mistake of storing their steel wool pads in just water or in a damp spot on the sink.

At this point, it is necessary to give a recap on the conditions necessary for rusting. These conditions are water, oxygen (which is present in the atmosphere), and iron contained in the steel wool pad.

When these three agents meet, a chemical reaction occurs which gives rise to hydrated iron three oxide, a brown coat commonly known as rust.

Now when you store your steel wool pads in just water, you might as well have constructed a neon sign that says “Welcome rust!”

How to Properly Store Your Steel Wool Pads with Water?

Does it mean that water is completely bad for steel wool pads? It all depends on the storage method.

You can store the steel wool pad in water only if you’ve boiled it off to remove reactive oxygen then store the steel wool pad in a container with a lid.

The lid is necessary because you would have to fill the container to the brim with boiled water and close it off with the lid.

That way you’re eliminating atmospheric oxygen from the equation and reducing the chances of rust ever occurring. Do not use salty water as it accelerates the rusting process.

Alternatively, you could go with this second water storage method, using the following steps:

1- Find a transparent glass jar with a lid, wash and clean with a dish rag.

2- Pour cold water into the glass jar until halfway full.

3- Put a good amount of baking soda into the water in the glass jar. There really isn’t any standard measurement, just about one or two tablespoons depending on the size of the jar.

4- Shake shake shake! Do this to properly mix the water with the baking soda.

5- After using your steel wool pad, rinse well with cold water and squeeze out as much water as you can.

6- Submerge the steel wool pad in the baking soda and water mixture, making sure the water level is completely over the steel wool pad. Then close the jar with the lid.

When you want to make use of your steel wool pad, simply take it out and rinse before use, also rinse after use and squeeze properly before re-submerging in the solution.

Make sure to prepare a new solution using this same method after every two weeks to change out the old one.

Method 2- Drying

Another method is by drying your steel wool pad and storing it in a dry container. The logic here is trying to eliminate moisture that could facilitate rusting.

You can either leave it out to dry in the sun or you could microwave it. Either way is fine as long as there’s no moisture remaining in the steel wool pad.

Method 3- Freezing

While steel wool isn’t edible as most of the other stuff that freezers help preserve, freezing steel wool pads work by freezing off the water particles that could cause rusting thereby rendering it inactive.

In that state, the steel wool pads could be protected from loss as long as when you decide to take them out.

Steps to follow

1- Put the steel wool pad in a ziplock bag.
2- Put the bag in the refrigerator to freeze.

You can take it out whenever you want to use it again then wash and replace back in the freezer after each use. This would preserve and elongate the lifespan of your steel wool pad before it rusts.

Note: Brillo pads defrost easily when they come in contact with warm or hot water.

How does it work?

Typically when you store the steel wool pad in a zip lock bag, you’re restricting atmospheric oxygen, one of the facilitators of rust, and when you freeze, you’re freezing water left on the steel wool pad thereby deactivating the second causative factor that could react to form rust.

By doing this, you could basically preserve and stop your steel wool pad from rusting for a very long time, or until the next time you decide to use it.

How to Keep Brillo/SOS Pads from Rusting?

Here are some tips on keeping your brillo and SOS pads from rusting.

1- Store them in a sandwich bag. It’ll last longer and your counter would be clean too!

2- Lay your SOS pad on tin foil after use. Those that used this tip testified that their brillo/SOS pad doesn’t rust with this method.

3- Put a layer of baking soda on the pad wherever it is stored.

Also freezing and baking soda solution method described above, work for brillo and SOS pads.

TIP: A tip to make your brill, SOS, or steel wool pad last longer is to cut it in half.

How Long Does It Take for Steel Wool to Rust?

Steel wool is composed of mostly iron, which is a metal that easily rusts. Because air contains plenty of oxygen, the time it takes for steel wool to rust is relatively faster when steel wool is exposed to water and left open to the air.

It can take about 48hrs or more before you begin to see rust discolorations on the steel wool pad.

For an entire pad to rust, it would depend on the volume of the steel wool pad and the degree of exposure to the conditions that promote rusting.

There are also some abrasive wools you will find online, that can resist shedding, corrosion, and rust. These can also be crumble-resistant.


Although Steel wool pads are inexpensive, having to change rusted ones constantly is frustrating and an unnecessary expense. You could save your steel wool, brillo, SOS pads from rusting by using the simple methods given in this article.

Make sure to always keep the steel wool pads clean after use. We have also given alternate options for abrasive pads that won’t rust easily.

1 thought on “How to Keep Steel Wool Pads from Rusting? (3 Ways!) + More!”

  1. Pingback: Brillo Pad Vs Steel Wool (7 Comparisons!) »

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