Brillo Pad Vs Steel Wool (In-Depth Comparison)

By - Hs Saini

Updated -

When cleaning our dishes, toilets/bathrooms, walls, and so on, deciding which scouring pad to use can be quite an issue.

The reason for this is that different surfaces require different scouring pads. You should not clean all surfaces with a Brillo pad or steel wool.

It is essential to know their differences and similarities and which one is suitable for cleaning this or that.

Brillo pads and Steel Wool are both scouring pads with the same purpose. They work in similar ways but are also different in many ways. The Brillo pads are a trademark name for a scouring pad, while the Steel Wool could be any made. These pads are different in texture, color, and physical appearance.

What Is A Brillo Pad?

Brillo® Steel Wool Soap Pads, Lemon, 10-Count

A Brillo is a scouring pad that is trademarked. It is made up of steel wool and has soap in it. It is known for its pleasant scent and color.

The Brillo pad is unique because it doesn’t rust. As much as Brillo is made of steel wool, it has an anti-rust formula of twenty-nine percent. 

The Brillo is four square, making it easy to clean the edges of utensils. It is soft and easy to handle and does not scratch your surfaces because it is not 100% steel wool.

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Last update on 2024-01-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Sometimes, the Brillo can be used even without soap because it was manufactured in a way that it produces soap while cleaning. 

Brillo is simply a scouring pad. The name “Brillo” shouldn’t get you confused. It’s just a company that produces scouring pads that are named Brillo. 

What Is Steel Wool?

Homax 10120000 Steel Wool, 12 pad, Super Fine Grade #0000, Rhodes American, Final Finish

Steel wool is an abrasive used to polish wood and metal objects. This has made it suitable for cleaning hard surfaces and cooking utensils.

It is called steel wool because of how it looks. It is grey with some thin metal strings bunched up together to have the form of wool.

The steel wool is quite challenging. Its toughness is one reason it’s abrasive and used to clean stubborn dirt from surfaces such as pots.

However, it is not suitable for all surfaces to avoid scratching. So, if you’re washing your dishes, this is not suitable for it except there’s a tough stain. 

Safety precautions should be taken when using steel wool. The metal strings can cut your hands if not handled with care.

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Last update on 2024-01-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is why it is essential to wear safety gloves before using steel wool. Again, it is flammable and should be kept away from fire. 

Is Brillo The Same As Steel Wool?

Brillo is not the same as steel wool. Although brillo pads are sometimes called steel wool pads, they are different with few similarities.

The Brillo pads are made from steel wool; it doesn’t make it steel wool. 

The fact an item is made from something doesn’t make it the same as that thing. This is because other materials have been added, and it has undergone some processes to become new.

This is the same for Brillo pads. Colors, foam, soap, and steel wool make up the Brillo pads. So we can’t say it is the same as steel wool

Besides that, physically looking at the steel wool and Brillo pads answer the question already.

They don’t have the same shape but are similar because they’re both scouring pads.

Are Brillo Pads Made Out Of Steel Wool? 

Brillo® Steel Wool Soap Pads, Lemon, 10-Count

Yes, Brillo pads are made out of steel wool. They have 8% more steel wool than any other scouring pad.

Steel wool is made from steel wire. Brillo pads are made when steel wool is threaded, spooled, cut, and injected with soap. 

A good amount of steel wool is rolled for making the Brillo pads. Depending on the method the company wants to use in forming the pads, the ribbons should be sprayed with soap in each layer with a nozzle.

The ribbon is then put in a machine for separation and then cut into short lengths. 

At this point, a first and second drive gear is rotated intermittently, as also toe pad lengths.

As the process continues, the lengths of the ribbon will be torn, thus separating it from the others. However, there’s a manual method of separation with a knife. 

A Brillo pad comprises steel wool and other materials earlier mentioned. Since it is made out of steel wool, it has metallic wool.

Hence, soap is dispersed in the wool uniformly, providing each layer of the steel wool with soap.

In manufacturing the Brillo pads, efforts have been made to provide a sufficient amount of soap throughout the practical life of the steel wool. 

Difference Between Brillo Pads And Steel Wool

They are both scouring pads with the same purpose: clean. This alone is a similarity coupled with the Brillo pads containing steel wool.

However, they have noticeable differences that can be used to differentiate between them.

Their differences are in how they look and what they can clean. The Brillo pads and Steel Wool don’t look the same, aren’t made up of the same materials, and don’t clean some items.

The table below briefly shows the differences between the Brillo pads and the Steel Wool;

Brillo PadsSteel Wool
The Brillo pads have colorantThey do not have colorant(natural form)
The Brillo pads contain soapIt does not contain soap
Does not have different gradesIt comes in different grades
It can be used to clean the ovenNot all types are suitable
Not suitable for cleaning cast ironSuitable for cleaning cast iron

Which Is Better, Brillo Pads Or Steel Wool?

One can’t point out that this is better because of individual perception. I might say steel wool is better, and someone else might have a contrary opinion.

The better one between the Brillo pads or steel is a question for you to answer. Which one serves you best? 

From the reviews on the product, many customers prefer to use the Brillo pads because they don’t rust easily, bring out soap, last long, and are portable.

It removes tough stains and is also recyclable. It will interest you that brillo pads also remove light dusting rust on items.

The Brillo pad is good, but it also has a few disadvantages. Not all items require soap because the soap might cause damage.

Also, because of the soap in it, it causes other soaps to defoam when they come in contact.

It can scratch your wood floors, stainless pots, and painted surfaces. Hence, they shouldn’t be used on them. The Brillo pad can shrink with time and rust, but this is not an issue.

Some people would say steel wool is better. Why is that? Steel wool is an abrasive that is fluffy and can be used not only to clean but also for sanding surfaces.

When the regular scouring pads can’t clean off stubborn dirt, steel wool is used to do that. 

Again, the steel wool comes in different grades of coarseness or fineness, making it easy to choose which grade is suitable for cleaning. This is an excellent quality of steel wool. 

Its ability to remove tough stains has made it unsuitable for all surfaces. It can rust and can injure if not used with care.

Again, it would help if you had soap before with the steel wool for effective cleaning.  This has made the steel wool in most homes used only when it’s time to get rid of tough stains. 

Both the Brillo pads and Steel Wool are essential. One can’t tell which is better than the other.

However, you can decide personally on the scouring pad you are more comfortable with. The good thing is that most homes use the two scouring pads to complement each other. 


As someone dislikes stains, dirt, or rust in your home, you’ll need to get one of the Brillo pads or the steel wool.

Getting the two isn’t bad because Brillo is not steel wool. It is just made out of steel wool. Knowing their differences and similarities would help, too, so you don’t mistake one for the other.

Generally, they’re both perfect scouring pads when used appropriately.

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