Survival Uses for Steel Wool [20 Uses You Didn’t Know]

Have you ever thought about how useful steel wool could be in a survival situation? This common household item is actually a versatile tool that can come in handy in a variety of ways. 

From starting fires to deterring pests, steel wool has many practical applications that can help you out in a pinch. 

Here are 20 survival uses for steel wool that you should know about.

One of the most well-known uses for steel wool is starting a survival fire. Simply fluff up a small amount of steel wool and touch it to a 9-volt battery. 

The steel wool will immediately start to spark and can be used to ignite kindling or other fire starter materials. This technique is especially useful in wet or windy conditions when traditional fire-starting methods may be difficult.

Once you get a fire up an running, you just need to add tinder and watch it grow. Igniting it is the most important part – and a really important survival skill to have.

2. Water Filter

Steel wool can filter out impurities if you are in a survival situation without access to clean drinking water. Simply fill a container with water and place a piece of steel wool inside. The steel wool will help to remove sediment and other contaminants, making the water safer to drink.

3. Deterring Pests

Steel wool can be used to keep pests like mice and rats out of your home or campsite. Start by stuffing small gaps or openings with steel wool to block their entry. The rough texture of the steel wool will make it difficult for pests to chew through and will discourage them from trying.

4. First Aid

Steel wool can be used as a makeshift wound dressing in a pinch. The steel wool fibers will help stop bleeding and can be used to clean and debride a wound.

Speaking of first aid, have you prepared a first-aid kit for your dog? If not, that article is a great place to start.

5. Cleaning Pots and Pans

Steel wool can be used to scrub pots and clean pans if you don’t have access to soap and water. The steel wool’s abrasive texture will help remove stuck-on food and grime, leaving your cookware sparkly clean.

6. Polishing Metal

steel wool

Steel wool can be used to polish metal objects like jewelry, knives, and even car parts. Simply rub the metal surface with steel wool to remove the tarnish and restore shine.

7. Removing Rust

If you have a tool or other metal object that is covered in rust, steel wool can be used to remove it. Simply scrub the rust with steel wool until it disappears.

8. Improving Grip

If you have a tool or other object that is slippery or hard to hold onto, wrapping it with steel wool can improve the grip. The steel wool will provide a rough, textured surface that is easier to hold onto.

9. Insulating Electrical Wires

Steel wool can be used as makeshift insulation if you need to insulate electrical wires in a survival situation. The steel wool will help to prevent short circuits and reduce the risk of electrical fires.

10. Scent Control

In a survival situation, you may want to keep a low profile to avoid attracting unwanted attention. Steel wool can be used to help control your scent. 

Simply burn a small amount of steel wool and let the smoke waft over your clothes and gear. The smell of burning steel wool will help to mask your natural scent and make it harder for animals to track you.

11. Improving Traction

Steel wool can be used to improve traction if you are trying to cross a slippery surface like ice. Simply sprinkle a small amount of steel wool over the slippery spot to create a rough, textured surface that is easier to walk on.

Alternatively, you can also make your shoes sole or the ground rougher by rubbing the steel wool into it.

12. Marking Trails

If you are trying to navigate through the wilderness, steel wool can be used to mark your trail. This is a great navigation technique that you will need to keep in your back pocket.

13. Signal for Rescue

If you are lost or stranded and need to signal for rescue, steel wool can be used to create a bright, visible flame. Simply fluff up a small amount of steel wool and touch it to a 9-volt battery as described above. 

The flame from the burning steel wool can be seen from a distance and can help to attract the attention of rescuers.

14. Emergency Stove

In a survival situation, you may not have access to a traditional stove or cooking equipment. Steel wool can be used to create a makeshift stove. 

Simply place a small amount of steel wool in a container and touch it to a 9-volt battery to ignite it. The steel wool will burn hot and can be used to cook survival food or boil water.

15. Sharpening Tools

Steel wool can be used as a makeshift sharpening stone if you need to sharpen a knife or other tool in a survival situation. Simply rub the tool back and forth over the steel wool to sharpen the edge.

16. Protecting Plants from Pests

If you are trying to grow plants in a survival situation, steel wool can be used to keep pests like rabbits and deer away. Simply place a small amount of steel wool around the base of the plant. The rough texture of the steel wool will deter pests from trying to eat the plants.

17. Traps and Snares

Steel wool can be used to make traps and snares for catching small animals. Simply stretch a piece of steel wool across the opening of a trap or snare and attach it to a trigger. When an animal touches the steel wool, the trigger will be activated, and the trap will close.

18. Fishing Lures

Best DIY Survival Fishing Kit

You may need to rely on fishing for food in a survival situation. Steel wool can be used to make homemade fishing lures.  You just need to attach a small piece of steel wool to the hook of your fishing line. The steel wool will create a glittering, reflective surface that can attract fish.

19. Repairing Clothing

Steel wool can be used as a makeshift patch if you have a tear or hole in your clothing. Simply cut a piece of steel wool to fit the tear size and use it to cover the hole. The steel wool will help to reinforce the fabric and keep it from tearing further.

20. Improving Shoe Traction

If you are trying to walk on a slippery surface like ice or snow, steel wool can improve your shoes’ traction. Simply sprinkle a small amount of steel wool over the soles of your shoes to create a rough, textured surface that is easier to walk on.

Final Words

As you can see, steel wool is a versatile survival gear that can be used in various survival situations. 

From starting fires to repairing clothing, this common household item has many practical applications that can help you out in a pinch. 

Next time you are in a survival situation, don’t forget to bring along some steel wool!

Leave a Comment