Can You Use Steel Wool To Clean Glass?

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Different kinds of glass are exposed to all different kinds of elements. For instance, windows are exposed to external elements like animals, insects, and debris, while glass doors are subjected to dust and fingers. But using the wrong equipment for cleaning can do more harm than good.

You can use steel wool to clean glass, but only glass-rated, super-fine steel wool marked #0000 should be used. Apply a soapy solution to your glass and use the steel wool to scrub the dirt, grime, and other hard stains. Avoid using other grades of steel wool. 

Streaks, damaged tints, and scratches are problems that arise from using the wrong tool for cleaning. One tool that’s often debated is steel wool. So will it scratch glass? What cleaning products can you use with it? Are all types of steel wool safe to use? Let’s take a look at the answers to all these questions.

Will Steel Wool Scratch Glass?

Steel wool soap pads

One tool commonly used for scrubbing away contaminants and dirt and polishing glass is super fine steel wool. It’s highly effective in removing scum and microscopic debris that makes the glass appear cloudy.

So, steel wool won’t scratch glass, but you need to be careful of the kind of steel wool you use and how you use it.

Why Steel Wool Doesn’t Scratch Glass

We need a short science lesson to understand why steel wool doesn’t scratch glass. The hardness of anything is typically measured using the Moh’s scale, which measures the hardness of different materials and rates them from 1 to 10, with the latter being the hardest.

So, for instance, diamond is rated at 10 while talc is rated at 1. Scratch tests are used to make a comparison between two objects. So if one scratches the other, the object that gets the scratches is deemed softer than the one that caused the scratches. 

On Moh’s scale, steel is rated between 4 and 4.5, while glass is rated at 5.5. This is why, theoretically, steel wool can’t scratch glass.  

What Cleaning Products Work Best with Steel Wool?

You can use steel wool on dry glass, but it’s better to increase its effectiveness by soaking it in soapy water. You can also use glass-safe detergents that don’t leave behind an oil film, mild detergent, and water, along with steel wool. 

Warm water and steel wool can make dislodging dirt and grime easier.  

Can You Use Any Type of Steel Wool?

You shouldn’t just use any kind of steel wool you can get your hands on; you should only use glass-rated steel wool, which is super fine, slightly abrasive, and removes stubborn debris, oils, and deposits efficiently without detergents or water. It’s typically used for polishing delicate surfaces such as marble, copper, stainless steel, and porcelain. 

Steel wool is made of strong wires that dislodge debris and dirt almost effortlessly. But there’s a reason why you shouldn’t choose anything other than the finest grade steel wool marked #0000. 

For starters, anything else will easily scratch your glass. Second, removing mineral deposits from glass using steel wool is less messy than soaking them in some lime solution or vinegar. And finally, fine-grade steel wool can help remove scratches and even polish glass.    

But the story doesn’t end there. Even if you’ve chosen the correct grade, you must use scrubs that are in excellent condition. Damaged, overused, or rusty steel wool will lose its properties, be less effective, and eventually scratch the glass. 

So make sure you get new steel wool pads as soon as you notice ruffled wires, rust, or grime and dirt build-up. Avoid using abrasive-grade steel wool like medium fine 0-grade pads used for paint, varnish, and rust removal since they’re not very flexible and aren’t made for glass surfaces in the first place. They’re relatively more abrasive and can ultimately scratch the glass.  

How to Clean Glass with Steel Wool

Attractive asian girl cleaning window glass

Steel well essentially serves as the scrubbing pad. So once you apply a soapy solution to the glass, you can use steel wool and scrub the glass very gently. Because of its fine nature, a steel wool pad can eliminate stuck-on grime, dirt, and tough stains and naturally polish the glass to restore its shine.  

When cleaning window glass with steel wool, you can use a window scraper to deal with large contaminants. And since scrapers tend to leave tough stains and streaks behind, you should use a steel wool pad to eliminate fine debris and stains.

When You Should Use Steel Wool 

Steel wool is often used for window cleaning. In fact, it’s probably one of the most potent tools present in a cleaner’s arsenal. But there are times when using steel wool is necessary.

For instance, you can use it to get rid of streaks. While window razor blades remove stubborn stuck-on contaminants, it usually leaves behind ugly streaks. But glass-grade steel wool can remove those. 

Similarly, instead of using a scouring pad to remove tough stains like hard water deposits, it’s better to use steel wool since it’ll remove the stain without causing any scratches. It’s also a better option for polishing glass surfaces to make them streak-free and shining. Buffing glass with fine-grade steel wool can even restore its sheen.

However, steel wool can damage some coatings and window tints. So if your windows or glass is tinted, it’s better to be safer than sorry and use a squeegee and soft sponge instead.

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