Stainless Steel Scrubber: A New Favorite Tool

For the past few years in my pursuit of natural living, I have been stumped by the ever increasing toilet bowl ring stains and water/soap scum buildup in my shower. Natural cleaners just were not working real effectively for me for these issues (and I tried vinegar, oxygen bleach, hydrogen peroxide, etc). I wanted to avoid chlorine bleach or comet, but that seemed like the only solution, otherwise, just live with it, I thought.

I also have had difficultly finding an easy, natural, and effective means of scrubbing my stainless steel cookware clean. And lastly, the stove top loves to accumulate dried food particles that get caked thoroughly on.

My solution? Enter…Stainless Steel Scrubbers. They do not rust or splinter, are frugal ($2.50 for 2 on Amazon), can be easily disinfected (throw them in the dishwasher or laundry), and do not accumulate food particles like so many other scrubbers. With a little elbow grease, these scrubbers rid me completely of toilet bowl stains and shower scum, leaving me with sparkling clean results. My husband was absolutely thrilled. I had no idea how these things had annoyed him so, and yet he patiently endured all my experimenting.

I now keep one scrubber by the kitchen sink for all my dish washing, and one in the cleaning bucket. They will not last indefinitely, but so far mine have held up very well after three months of daily use. I understand they also work well for scrubbing BBQ’s and cleaning garden tools, shop tools, etc. I am sure you can come up with some more ideas. I did not experience any noticeable scratching on my porcelain, but use with caution and test a small unnoticeable area first.

My cleaning bucket has really simplified as of late. A stainless steel scrubber, my enviro cloth, oxygen bleach (for disinfecting the toilet), an old toothbrush (for those nooks and crannies) and a toilet bowl brush. Ahh! Simplicity…

What frugal tools have you found for effective natural cleaning?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

50 Responses to Stainless Steel Scrubber: A New Favorite Tool

  1. KarenDF January 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    I know I’m waaaaay late commenting on this post; but, I just discovered your wonderful blog & love the tips that come from conversations like this … Love my stainless steel scrubber! It’s wonderful for stainless steel pots & utensils. I keep a powdered cheese jar (the kind that are glass with a stainless steel perforated top … you can find them at dollar stores) filled with baking soda under the kitchen sink (& in the bathroom). I sprinkle baking soda & a drop of liquid dish soap in pans that have food stuck to them, fill them with a little water to soak. By the time we finish eating & are ready to do the dishes, the food is softened up. IF any scrubbing is needed, the stainless steel scrubber works all that nastiness out! I used to just use the drop of liquid soap; but, the baking soda works wonders lightening fast. i think it’s because baking soda softens hard water.

    The stainless steel scrubber (or an old plastic shower gel puff) works wonders in the tub, shower walls or sink with baking soda and or liquid soap. We use liquid castille soap in a foaming hand soap dispenser to wash our hands … a pump of that foam & a few sprinkles of baking soda works wonders.

  2. Jennifer S. July 15, 2010 at 11:17 am #

    Do you think this can be used for cast iron skillets? Also, what do you use to season cast iron skillets. I am a newlywed and received some as a present and I just have no idea what to do with those.

    Do you think the stainless steel would scratch a fiberglass shower?

    • Jennifer S. July 31, 2010 at 7:52 pm #


      The scrubber will clean up rust off a cast iron skillet successfully.

      Thanks for your post and blog. I have been a fan for a year or so actually and I love all the tips and variety of topics that you touch on.

  3. Wendy June 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    My absolute favorite cleaner is Restore the Earth Lime scale remover It is citric acid and is amazing. Compeletely non toxic and removes soap scum and hardwater spots, scale. I use it in the bathroom, kitchen sinks, even the toilet. I remove a couple cups of water from the toilet then spray this on the bowl, let it sit and then scrub a little and all the rings are gone. I can spray down my shower and after about 30 minutes come wipe down and it is clean. This stuff work better than any chemical cleaner such as lime a way, or other caustic cleaners. now it is not thrifty however, I think almost $5 for a bottle but it does last quite awhile. So my only cleaners are this and Mrs. Meyers countertop all purpose cleaner (very economical) and vinegar and microfiber towels.

  4. Erin May 4, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    Hi Lindsay, I love your blog!
    I have to say though that I tried the stainless steel scrubbers on my toilet bowl and they scratched it up pretty badly. I wonder if toilets are made of different materials.

  5. timbuck2mom April 27, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Pumice Stone is the answer. You'll think your scratching your oven or toilet bowl but it's not. It's amazing.

  6. Jill April 18, 2010 at 1:12 am #

    I'm not sure if this has been mentioned in the comments yet, but I just wanted to say that I love Pampered Chef's nylon scrapers. They come with their stoneware & you can also buy a 3-pk for for $2.25 I believe. Very frugal. Not something you want to attempt to clean a toilet with, and I'm not sure how it would work on shower scum, but for dishes – it's the best! I use it on everything – plastic, glass, stoneware, cast iron, stainless steel, etc. The life of the scrapers would be a lot longer than the life of a stainless steel scrubby I would think. I received mine when I got married, and my 3rd anniversary is coming up in June. They still look (and work!) great. And just in case you're wondering, no, I don't sell Pampered Chef. =)

  7. faith April 18, 2010 at 12:34 am #

    CLR is an “eco friendly” product that i use for the tough jobs……No bleach, no ammonia, no phosphates, septic safe. the beautiful part, no scrubbing…..Its my one cleaning indulgence!

  8. Kate of April 17, 2010 at 6:11 am #

    Okay, you've almost convinced me, but tell me this: What does it sound like? Is it anything even remotely close to nails on a chalkboard? Because I am super, super sensitive to . . . ick, I can hardly even write it, just the thought makes me shiver! This seems like it might have that creepy sound/feel? Does it?

  9. Kara April 16, 2010 at 4:22 am #

    I just got a scrubber, and I am impressed. I thought nothing was going to get the gigantic ring in my tub clean. I had tried baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, nothing was taking it off. Where is everyone finding the pumice stones though? I got them once, 2 years ago, at Wal Mart. But, my Wal Mart seems to quit carrying things that I like. So…they dont carry them anymore….

  10. MIA in Minnesota April 15, 2010 at 3:22 am #

    Thanks! I just knew it was too good to be true. : )

  11. kelly April 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

    A little bit of dr bronners almond and the scotch brite green scrubbers do amazing things for cleaning the soap scum in my tub!!

  12. Cath April 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm #

    I love those stainless steel scrubbers! I have been using them since my husband introduced them to me when we got married. I am a bit concerned about using them on my shower screen too. So I use one of those bath puff exfoliator things(!) OK not the most environmental of products but then it lasts for ever and gets rid of all the soap scum etc and is easy to care for.

    I have also been using a loofah for cleaning my dishes for the last year and have found it hygienic and it lasts about three months. They can then be composted. I didn't find them great for burnt on bits but otherwise a great buy. Husband loves them too:-)

  13. Amy April 12, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

    Funny, I never had seen one of these until I was married fifteen years ago. My husband brought one with him from his bachelor kitchen. I have used the same exact one daily at my kitchen sink ever since. It has never rusted. I do believe in 15+ years, I have gotten my money's worth!

  14. heatherbrandt April 12, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    Oh my goodness! This works on hard water stains in the toilet? I need this so badly! Thank you for sharing! You just use them with elbow grease?


  15. sherrindrew April 12, 2010 at 3:12 am #

    I had a cleaner last year due to back pain and a little baby to care for! She used steel scrubbers on my shower doors and it worked well. Unfortunately since then we haven't wiped them down as often as we should with our shower wiper, so it is building up again. I was surprised, though, that the steel scrubber did not damage the doors but did clean them well.

  16. Lisa April 12, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    I use a baking soda/ Bromers solution for soap scum. I do this once a week and works like a charm. If I cleaned less often it may take a lot more scrubbing.

  17. Amy April 11, 2010 at 7:08 pm #

    I use these little scrubbies on a regular basis! I clean apartments that have just come open and this guy is a living dream! You can use this scrubby on almost anything (metal window sills & frames, the oven (Fantastic for the oven!), kitchen floors, moldy tile in the shower… the list goes on. Although I will note that my experience is that they often scratch porcelain and other soft materials if you scrub too hard. I am also a huge advocate for the pumice stone. It works great on toilet rings and also sink rings (just make sure it is wet before you use it or it will scratch).

  18. Cassandra April 11, 2010 at 5:50 am #

    Thanks for this link! I'm going to order a set and see how they work on my icky tub. I can't get that thing clean, no matter how much elbow grease I scrub into it.

  19. Daniele Evans April 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm #

    Many have mentioned vinegar & I wanted to add that it will more effective on shower scum and toilets if you warm it up. Either in the microwave or on the stove top & it works very well along with baking soda (or not) to remove even tough water stains or toilet rings. I've tried this trick many times!

  20. mommyoffaith19 April 10, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    great idea, thanks

  21. Jamie April 10, 2010 at 7:53 am #

    I love these scourers. And they just last and last and last. Very cost effective. My mum always had one on the sink when I was growing up and I've always done the same. Hadn't thought to use it in other areas of the home, though.

    I use Sonett decalcifier in the toilet at times. We have very hard water out here. Bore water which travels about 100mi to reach us.

  22. Dana April 10, 2010 at 4:46 am #

    Clay Powder by H2O at home is awesome!! It's a multi surface scrub.

  23. Melinda April 10, 2010 at 2:21 am #

    I bought one, tried it, and it didn't work at all. I had to go over the same spots over and over again. An envirocloth, water, and a little elbow grease work much better.

  24. Melissa April 10, 2010 at 2:06 am #

    I love simple! However, I would not recommend using stainless steel scrubbers on porcelin/ceramic because over time you will lose the surface glaze and permanently ruin your toilet or tile etc. My tools of the trade are baking soda and white vinegar (not dilluted). I get both in bulk at Sam's Club. A little bit of thick baking soda paste, made by adding just a little water, works wonders on stains on porcelin or ceramic w/o damage and you can use the same on stainless steel. I have a large garden type spray bottle filled with straight vinegar for cleaning sinks, toilet, tables, floors, anything! The smell goes away shortly. I've read in several different places if you want to safely disinfect something and get the same results as bleach this is what to do – spray straight vinegar, then spray on straight peroxide (or spray peroxide then vinegar – the order doesn't matter). Wait a minute, then wipe off. It's not effective if you mix the 2 ingredients together . You have to spray one then the other. I heard a lady recently talk about how she uses lemon rinds to rid her tub of scum w/o scrubbing. She saves up 12 rinds of lemons and puts them into a full tub and leaves it overnight. When she gets up she drains the tub and supposedly it's grime free! I do use hydrogen peroxide bleach in the toilet and let it sit for as long as possible to disinfect and keep stains down. If you have somethign with water scale build up you can soak it in straight vinegar for as long as 48 hours if possible and you should get good results. Hope all this helps someone. Thanks for your blog. I enjoy it!

  25. MIA in Minnesota April 10, 2010 at 1:56 am #

    Has anyone ever used one of those steam cleaners that I see on infomercials. You know, the ones that miraculously clean and disinfect your bathroom w/a handy little steam wand?

    • Lynne May 6, 2010 at 12:15 am #

      I’ve seen those advertised too. My daughter (who has the job of mopping) really wants one. I’d be interested to hear from others what they thought of them? And can you use them to clean your bath too?

      • Lindsay May 6, 2010 at 5:32 am #

        Yes, my bath looked brand new because it did an amazing job scrubbing all the soap scum stains away!

  26. Owl Naturals April 10, 2010 at 1:50 am #

    My cleaning staples are baking soda, vinegar, cloth prefold diapers and my handmade soap. I love to clean my stainless steel sink baking soda and then spray it with vinegar. Wipe with a prefold…and it shines!

    Love your blog!

  27. Miriam April 9, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    I will have to try this again, for some reason I remember mine getting rusty- maybe I had used something different? I try always to soak things first, baking soda and warm water. Sometimes vinegar too, just like others have mentioned.

    I really just wanted to comment to say that I am thrilled to have found this blog for I can see we share lots of common, most of all our faith in Christ and the desire to live a simple, frugal and healthy life. It will inspire me perhaps in keeping a blog myself, sharing my the ordinary ups and downs of living at home, raising my kids, and God raising me as a mother, wife, home keeper and child of His :)

  28. JanaMiller April 9, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    I'll have to try these! I use a pumice stone on my toilet now.

  29. The Chatty Housewife April 9, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

    I love my stainless steel scrubbers, but I would agree with one of the comments above, they are not for use on ceramics. I also would not use them on plastic or glass. At first you will not notice the etching, but slowly and surely, the layers thin and etching is left behind. Some of my dishes in the kitchen are no longer shiny in spots because the top coat was worn off and now those areas collect dark marks. Same goes for crockery, tile, ceramic etc.

    I've heard the cleaners pumice stones are great and have had one on my shopping list for a while, they're just a little easy to miss in the cleaning isle!

  30. ashbash87 April 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    We cloth diaper and we used to use the prefolds with a cover over them but we switched to one size back in December. So I have a ridiculous amount of prefolds that I wasn't using. We quit buying paper towels and now use the prefolds in place of them. I just keep a hamper in the pantry and we store them in their own drawer. When we run low I wash and restock! It works wonderfully for us. WE just use linen napkins for meal times.

  31. Jenny April 9, 2010 at 5:28 pm #

    I have to echo all the pumice stone comments. It works fantastically for those hard water rings!

  32. Rachel O. April 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    I'll probably be commenter #965 to mention this, but baking soda is one of the best cleaners out there for stainless steel. Just sprinkle some on a lightly moistened cloth (or straight on a pan) and rub it out. It works fantastic for burnt on grease and and food. (You can generously sprinkle the pan with baking soda and moisten with a spray of water and then let it soak for a while. That really powers through stuck-on food.) If you get a baking soda residue, just rinse with a little bit of (diluted or full strength) vinegar. I seldom get residue, but I think it may depend on the hardness of your water. Best of all, baking soda is super cheap. Small boxes cost something like 32 cents in my area. Best of luck!

  33. Amanda April 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    Pumice stone also works great on the toilet bowl too and lasts forever!

  34. Diane April 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm #

    I've used a stainless steel scrubber for years but, I would be afraid to use it on my shower walls or toilet! I definitely agree with the pumice stone though, I usually say “Give me some vinegar or baking soda, water, and a pumice stone & I can get any pot clean! :) (Just make sure your pumice stone is wet, so it doesn't scratch)

  35. Vika April 9, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    This looks useful! Thanks! I have had very good luck cleaning my shower and toilet with baking soda though. I just use straight baking soda and a wet toothbrush (or toilet brush as applicable) and it seems like everything comes off easily. I have a tile surround on my shower.

  36. Jen April 9, 2010 at 2:14 pm #

    This sounds good. My sister and I just started a cleaning business so this might be helpful. I am a bit worried about scrubbing tiled showers and tubs though in fear that it may scratch it. Are there tiles in your shower? Thanks!!

  37. sara April 9, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    I second the idea for the pumice stone with the toilet bowl. We have hardwater and often live by the philosophy “if its yellow let it mellow” (I know that is outside of the comfort zone of some). My sister suggested the cleaning pumice. Where she told me to buy one and I found one successfully is walmart in their cleaning aisle (I usually fine myself at walmart 2-3 times per year). They have lasted me a year or two (i don't have to use it every time I clean the toilet, just when there is build up) and I think they cost around 3 or 4 dollars.

    • Jb April 11, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

      Hi, we’ve been trying to “let it mellow” for about 6 months now, but there is a horrible stain at the bottom of the toilet. Do they sell pumice stones on the end of a stick, by any chance?

  38. laryssaheaveninthehome April 9, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    These sound great!

  39. dmoms April 9, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    i just cleaned my toilet the other day with baking soda and vinegar. It just didn't do so well. I will have to give these a try. thanks

  40. Shannon April 9, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    Interesting. I am assuming these are different from steel wool, which I use to scrub some pots and pans with. I really have a hard time with hard water deposits in the toilet too, so I will bookmark this and budget them in.

  41. Kim April 9, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    Be careful with those on ceramic. I didn't notice any visible scratching at first either, but over time it got worse and now my ceramic crockpot insert is ruined.

    For my stainless steel cookware, I sprinkle baking soda and wipe with a sponge/cloth. The baking soda absorbs grease and acts as an abrasive that doesn't scratch.

  42. Sue April 9, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    A pumice stone works wonderfully on toilet rings. A lemon rubbed on your shower door will remove water spots like a charm and smells good. Vodka (cheap) is a great cleaner and disinfectant. Borax and a bit of lemon juice makes a great non-abrasive paste for the tub and shower walls.

    • Lindsay April 9, 2010 at 8:50 am #

      Great new idea to me! I always thought those were just for callused feet!

  43. Linda April 9, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    I LOVE these! However.. do be careful when cleaning pots and pans.. sometimes it can loose small 'threads' which can show up in food and are very dangerous!

    Greetings from the netherlands :)

    • Lindsay April 9, 2010 at 8:51 am #

      That is definitely a good caution. Throw away at the first sign of shedding.

  44. Betsy April 9, 2010 at 11:29 am #

    Yanno, I have one of those. Under the kitchen sink, and it's rarely used. I was just thinking I'd have to hang on to one toxic cleaner to get rid of hard water deposits in shower and toilet bowl, but now I have something else to test. Maybe I CAN avoid buying any more!

    Thanks for a very useful post.