Zero Waste Home Essential: Metal Scrubby

A little comment on the blog related to butter wrappers confirmed one of my mottos last week. "There is no such thing as TMI", I like to say. Overall, it is the details that we cover and share on this blog that define the Zero Waste lifestyle. Every bit of information, no matter how trivial, can help someone's Zero Waste journey. In a new series called: A Zero Waste Home Essential, I will be occasionally sharing with you the little things that I have found to be essential to my Zero Waste.

Today, I am sharing one of my favorite tools:





No matter how trivial it may seem, a stainless steel scrubby is essential to my cleaning routine!

It has allowed me to clean my stove's toughest messes effortlessly (above, after canning tomato sauce), and without any cleaning product at all. I simply soak the stain in water and scrub. Over the years, it has saved us a great deal of money: I no longer need to buy specialty (often toxic) stove cleaners and (short-lived) green scrubbies. I have had the same scrubby for three and a half years. Since stainless steel is a ferrous metal, I could recycle it as scrap metal through my curb recycling...that's if it ever decides to fall apart!


37 comments:

  1. Hi Bea - I'm a BIG fan and you are an incredible inspiration! I have a typical white enamel apartment stove. Will a metal scrubby work on this? (since I'm a renter I don't want to damage the finish on the stove)

    Thanks for all you do!

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    Replies
    1. I have a white enameled stove, too, and I do not think the finish would hold up to the metal scrubbing. That said, I do find that spraying the mess with water and letting it soak a while does *wonders* for cleanup. I can usually finish the cleanup with a damp rag, maybe with a little soap added. Occasionally, I do need to use those blasted green things, though. Baking soda works well on baked on stuff.

      We have been using copper scrubbies on our outdoor grill. They do not typically make it through one summer. I will try the stainless steel ones to see if they last longer. Fortunately, I think the Chore Boy brand comes in a recyclable/compostable cardboard box with no plastic.

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    2. Anonymous12/06/2012

      No, don't try metal on any enamel surface. It will scratch it, obviously.
      The best way is to soak the mess for a while then scrub it with a plastic scrubby or scouring powder.
      The best is lime (calcium carbonate).

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    3. Yes, they will scratch the white enamel. I've found that baking soda and a wash cloth work really well. I make a little paste with the baking soda and let it set a few minutes and they just scrub a little with the cloth.

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    4. I use vinegar for my white enameled stove to clean the easier messes. When I need to get serious I let them soak with a bit of baking soda and then apply some elbow grease :-)

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  2. I love metal scrubbies! It was this blog that inspired me to try them - I'll never go back to (all that other stuff) I was using in the past. To Amy Elizabeth, we have a white enamel stove. I've found that wetting a dish cloth (or an old washcloth/hand towel) down, laying it on top of stovetop mess, then letting it sit for a good 15 minutes will soften it up enough so you can just wipe up the mess. Baking soda is reputed to be safe for enamel surfaces. Making a paste out baking soda and using it on the more stubborn stains with a damp cloth or a loofa scrubbie may work really well. Finally, be sure to clean each time after cooking. Disclaimer - our current stove is an antique electric one (it came with the house), so we may not get the same kind of cooked-on food stains.

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  3. they do seem to be indestructible! they do not rust unlike those steel wool things impregnated with some sort of detergent. my husband, who is from canada, calls them "curly kates"!

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  4. For me it's always the little details that make the biggest differences! And not only does the metal scrubby work well and last, you also save money by not having to constantly go out and buy more! Thanks for the tip, I love your blog!

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  5. I've had my metal scrubby for years. Being a minimalist, and living in the forest it rarely gets used. I fine pine needles are a great cleaner. Thanks for the great post.

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    Replies
    1. pine needles? i gotta try that! i was using spent grounds. those are great, but we recently stopped drinking coffee :-(

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  6. Solution parfaite, Béa ! Mais comment faire quand la gazinière est émaillée ?! Au secours...

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  7. I bought one over a year ago because I had seen it in your shopping guide. It's held up well and while I don't use it on our glass top stove it works wonders on my stainless pots and pans and the stainless kitchen sink. Thanks for all your good ideas.

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  8. I use mine for almost all my kitchen scrubbing jobs, except for the glass stove top. Now a question: Where can I find the comment about the butter wrappers? Those frustrate me so much, along with the plastic caps on the local milk I buy in glass bottles.

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    Replies
    1. It was in Bea's last blog on the chicken liver pate. Hint for future searches: Just type whatever you're looking for in the search box on her site and it'll come up.

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    2. Anonymous12/31/2012

      Those plastic caps... save (including the little strip) and then give back along with the bottle when you take back to the store. Consider sending a little message in the bottle ... "we love your milk, thanks for selling it in glass jars... we'd love to see you do something about the plastic cap." /jc

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  9. I don't think they do fall apart! I have stainless steel cookware for my stove and my stainless steel scrubby is almost 10 years old! My stove is one we bought from the local colleges home economics department. We found out they buy new ones every two years. I think we paid $200.00 for it. We've had it about 15 years or so. Have a wonderful Christmas season :)

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  10. Bea - love your recommendations. My favorite so far is the AMAZING Le Parfait jars....as much as I've always loved the Ball canning jars, these are so much more beautiful. I use them for all the things I keep in the 'fridge....mayo, dressing, herb butters, etc. What a lovely sight when I open the door!

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  11. It is important to point out that these are very specifically STAINLESS STEEL scrubbies, and not just what is often sold as "Steel Wool." I used to get those and found that they rusted. A friend of mine, originally from England, told me about Stainless Steel ones, that that is what they use in England and I finally found some here in the supermarket. I do find that mine gradually "shed" bits and pieces with lots of use, but perhaps it is the brand I'm using and perhaps I shall have to try the specific one that Bea recommends.

    Also, I too have a white enamel stove, and I use all the various means mentioned in other comments to clean it (soaking first, using baking soda and elbow grease). Honestly, there are some things I never do get out, but that is not a big deal to me. I do, however, use the stainless steal scrubby on the big, heavy metal grates that I have on my stove. I soak them in warm, soapy water and then scrub with the scrubby (that's when I lose most of those little pieces!).

    I love that we'll be discussing lots of little things like this, Bea. It is all those little things that add up to big differences. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous12/06/2012

      Be careful regarding grates: many newer stove's grates are enameled and can get scratched as well.

      BTW, interesting to read Choreboy's description of how to use their copper and stainless steel scrubbers

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  12. Anonymous12/06/2012

    Great post Bea! Thank you for the little, but every helpful tip. I am going to try to use one of these in my kitchen.

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  13. Anonymous12/06/2012

    For any surface (except wood), including enamel, I use a metal razor blade paint/window scraper. It scrapes up dried and burnt food with little effort. Dry the blade and put away for next clean up.

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  14. I love a simple and yet so valuable tip like this.

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  15. Anonymous12/06/2012

    Just the kind of tip I'm looking for! Thanks.

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  16. tiffany12/06/2012

    i haven't bought a metal scrubbie in years, my stovetop is enamel so it can't be used... instead i use baking soda/bicarbonate of soda and re-use the nylon netting used as packaging for onions/oranges.

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  17. Je viens juste de décrasser mon grille pain en inox. Avec le côté grattant de l'éponge : je l'ai complètement *RAYE*. C'est de la camelote (mais MADE IN FRANCE)... :'(
    Dégoûtée...
    J'ai l'impression que les designers de matos de cuisine ne réfléchissent pas du tout au fait qu'on va les nettoyer souvent

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  18. I use a very scratchy nylon scrubbie that many of the Amish women in our area crochet. I have had mine for over a year now and still going strong. Sometimes I toss it in the washing machine. You can buy them on etsy or make your own. You need to use the scratchiest yarn you can find, like nylon or canvas yarn or this website tells you how to reuse the netting from fruit or vegetables to crochet a scrubbie. http://www.myrecycledbags.com/2008/06/12/my-greenie-pot-scrubber/ This website has lots of patterns also http://dishandwashclothmania.com/cloths-with-scrubbies/

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  19. I have one of those and I love it! I keep a couple on hand always, although it last so long I'm not sure when I'll need them.

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  20. I love my metal scrubbies, although the ones I've found in the normal supermarkets here in the UK do tend to fall apart quite quickly. Another top tip that somebody gave me is to keep an old credit card by the sink, they are great for cleaning pots and pans. Might also be ok for enamel stove tops? I know friends who use them on their glass induction hobs with good results.

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  25. Anonymous1/11/2013

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  27. Anonymous1/23/2013

    I use mine to scrub buildup in the bathtub! Cuts through the oil (im guessing from castile soap) right away.

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