Best Cleaning Products – Steel Wool Soap Pads

One of the best and often overlooked cleaning products is the steel wool soap pad. When two of my other favorite cleaning tools mentioned in a prior post (the blue scrubber sponge and the Scrub Daddy) are not up to the task of getting certain surfaces clean, steel wool soap pads will do the job. These pads are sold under the S.O.S and Brillo brand names. Both were invented in the early 1900s according to Wikipedia. The Brillo pad was introduced in 1913, but the steel wool pads came with a separate bar of soap (see photo of soap found in grandmother’s house). Brillo pads saturated with soap came out in the 1930s. S.O.S (with the missing last period) contained soap when they were introduced in 1917.S.O.S Box and pads

Steel wool soap pads are very good at cleaning off baked-on food from pots, pans, stoves, and broiler pans. Of course, soaking prior to cleaning always speeds up the process. For thicker build-ups, start with a Scrigit Scraper. This will keep the steel wool soap pad from getting clogged with food and reduce the amount of scrubbing. Then use the soap pad to clean and polish the item being cleaned. The soap in the pad helps remove the greasy parts of the stuck-on food. Generally, you don’t want to use these pads on cast iron skillets because they will strip off the pan’s seasoning. A Scrigit Scraper is the best way to start cleaning a cast iron skillet.

A lot of people don’t realize that S.O.S and Brillo pads can be used on glass bakeware. The hard surface on glass bakeware will not be damaged by these pads. The S.O.S box also says their pads can be used on car windshields, but I have never tried this.

Brillo soap bar

Brillo Soap – 2.5″ square

When using steel wool soap pads, use some water to dampen the pad but not so much that you flush off all soap. The soap is needed to cut through the grease and enhance the cleaning action without scratching the surfaces being cleaned. The soap also keeps the pads from rusting. When you are done cleaning with the pad, squish the pad between your fingers and thumb to remove excess water and distribute the soap over all the steel wool. Once the soap is gone or there are a lot of food particles stuck in the steel wool, discard the pad.

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