I know that it's often said that you should not use steel wool, but rather a 3M greenpad to clean surface rust & corrosion from metal, but I just cannot agree with this. I thought I'd try it out again tonight..
I needed to clean up the stainless front fender from my Motobecane, and I tried both the greenpad and some 0000-ultrafine steel wool. This is a standard kitchen greenpad, and some steel wool that was $2.75 for 12 pads at Menards. I used the greenpad wet, and the steel wool dry.
Results: The greenpad immediately scratched the hell out of it! If I had continued, the whole piece would have had a haze of swirl marks... Ick!! The 0000 steel wool cleaned it quickly, and left a very high luster. I had to work the steel wool hard to undo the damage the greenpad did in just a few seconds.
This is consistent with what I have seen over 20 years. Why do people keep saying to use a greenpad? Have they ever tried 0000-ultrafine? Any comments?