Steel wool vs. 3M greenpad on stainless

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?

Re: Steel wool vs. 3M greenpad on stainless

i'll let you know when i get my robin (see pic)


Re: Steel wool vs. 3M greenpad on stainless

Moto Guzzi. Cool..

Re: Steel wool vs. 3M greenpad on stainless

I'd personally always reccomend super superfine anything with abrasives......I ususally use a combination of baking powder and water with some elbow grease if i've got some really sensitive stuff i'm working on. it's a super super fine abrasive, and works well on jobs you don't want to mess up.

Re: Steel wool vs. 3M greenpad on stainless

For some of us the chrome or whatever on the bikes is in pretty bad shape so getting the rust off is the major concern. In my case I had some pits in the chrome that were down to the steel and jsut wanted it cleaned. I wanted a dull chrome effect to it. But for high polishing steel wool is defmnitely better. Even the kitchen bads that you got that are not abrasive do scratch. Its like a rough plastic. SOS pads work good too. I used those on my dads truck rims and they worked great and did not dull or damage the chrome.

Re: Steel wool vs. 3M greenpad on stainless

John Joedicke /

Do you know there is different grades of 3M pads available? Why use just the coarse green crap. Sheet metal places use this stuff all the time when working with stainless sheeting.

Re: Steel wool vs. 3M greenpad on stainless

Most people discuss the 3M pads in simple terms of red or green (coarse and fine). I wouldn't be surprised if there were multiple grades of each, but I've never looked into it. The 0000 wool has always worked well for me.

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