Signs of a Chemical Reaction With Steel Wool and Peroxide

Steel wool contains iron which rusts in the presence of peroxide.
••• NA/ Images

Steel wool is fine, soft steel strands used as an abrasive for polishing wood during furniture refinishing. Peroxide is the short term for 3% household hydrogen peroxide. Both plain steel wool and hydrogen peroxide are available at most supermarkets. Steel wool reacts vigorously with hydrogen peroxide, but only under the right conditions. Something may be needed to initiate the reaction.


It is important to use steel wool that is free of any coating. Sometimes there is an unseen thin film of oil on the wool. A light washing with soapy water followed by a rinse will remove that. If this wool is placed in hydrogen peroxide, it may react so slowly that it doesn’t seem to react at all. This is because the iron in steel wool needs to give off electrons to achieve a reaction. However, hydrogen peroxide is not a good electrical conductor. To make it conductive, a small amount of table salt can be stirred in; then the steel wool would be added. This should result in vigorous bubbling and abundant rust production.

Related Articles

How to Dissolve Steel
Hazards of Copper Sulfate
How to Harden Steel With Motor Oil
How to Remove Bee Propolis Stains
How is Iron Made Into Steel?
What Happens When SO2 Reacts With Steel?
Chemicals Used in Gold Plating
How to Heat Treat Steel
The Use of Phosphorous in Light Bulbs
How to Make Rust Powder
Methods of Plating Stainless Steel
How to Galvanize Metal
Difference Between 316 & 308 Stainless Steel
Things Made Out of Tungsten
Are Tin Cans Attracted to a Magnet?
Different Types of Alloys & Use
How to Flame Harden Steel
Aluminium Welding Techniques
Causes of Gold Discoloration
Penny Tarnish Reverse Projects