Rusty steel wool experiment

Rusty steel wool experiment

Children love to learn and experiment with new things. Try this easy science experiment that is fun to do and will teach your kids about chemical reactions.

What you need:

  • 5 small jars with lids
  • Wire wool
  • Water
  • Boiled water
  • Salt
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Texta

Number of players:


Line up the small glass jars and place a small piece of wire wool in each jar.

Label the jars as 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 so that you can record what you have placed in each container.

Pour water into your first container labelled ‘1’ and put the lid on it.

Pour boiled water into the second container labelled ‘2’ and put the lid on it.

Leave the third container labelled ‘3’ open and exposed to the air (air contains water vapour).

Mix some salt with tap water and pour this into the fouth jar labelled ‘4’ and place the lid on it.

Add a pinch of bicarbonate of soda to the fith container labelled ‘5’ and place the lid on it.

Leave the jars for one day.

Check the jars the next day and write down your observations.


  • Rust is a very common chemical reaction which happens to iron and the metals containing iron. Rust is caused by a combination of water and air and is exalerated up by adding salt to the equation.
  • The jar to show rust first should be number ‘4’ as it has salt added to the water.
  • Containers ‘1’ and ‘3’ will begin to rust more slowly.
  • Containers ‘2’ and ‘5’ will only start to show rust if there is air and water vapours trapped under the lid in each jar.

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