How Aluminum Foil Can Replace Your Steel Wool Pads In A Pinch

When it comes to cleaning, nothing quite gets the job done like steel wool. The rough-textured, often silver-colored pads scrub away the worst caked-on messes, but if you've ever left a steel wool pad on the side of the kitchen sink, you know that it can rust pretty quickly (via How Stuff Works). The mixture of water, oxygen, and iron from the wool can create the perfect environment for the pesky brown stuff. This can ruin pots and pans, so it's important to toss that steel wool at the first sign of rust. Of course, extending the life of your steel wool pad is ideal, but sometimes you just have to throw it away. If you find yourself in the middle of cleaning and don't have your trusty steel wool, don't fret! There is a simple swap we're willing to bet you have on hand.

You probably know aluminum foil is perfect for shaping cakes, covering leftovers, and handling many kitchen tasks, and you've likely seen DIY hacks using the kitchen staple — but did you know it is possible to use aluminum foil to replace your rusty steel wool scrubber?

Make a foil scrubber ball

If you're in a bind and need a steel wool pad, grab a roll of foil instead. Maids By Trade says to wad a sheet of foil into a ball and use that as your scrubber, explaining foil won't last as long as a steel wool pad, but it will definitely get the job done.

Great for cleaning grout and other intricate surfaces, Thrifty Fun reminds readers not to use steel wool or foil on anything that has a non-stick surface, as there is a protective layer that you don't want to damage. (While newer non-stick pans no longer contain cancer-causing chemicals, you still don't want to scratch your pots and pans.) Instead, How Stuff Works says to clean anything with a nonstick surface using warm water, soap, and a nylon sponge — and never place them in the dishwasher.

When a steel wool pad isn't available, reach for the aluminum foil, crumble it up, and scour away!