Elbow grease is an important part of many labor intensive tasks. Maybe it's just me but I find that a surprising number of people out there don't like to use this. In this node, we'll explore some proper methods for applying elbow grease, as well as a few work arounds in case you run out.

Frozen in Time

Elbow grease is always used when something is stuck and will not budge, especially in the case of nuts and bolts. Our resident gearheads will smile dryly as they mentally tally the frequency with which they encounter frozen nuts or bolts. Other DIY addicts will encounter such fasteners on a regular basis around their household projects.

To remove a stuck nut or bolt, you'll need to get a properly sized wrench or socket for the fastener, as well as a properly sized tool to hold the fastener on the other end. Otherwise you're just going to spin the nut and bolt combination for hours on end, depleting your supply of elbow grease. Place the tools about the fasteners and turn in the proper direction. Remember that it's righty tighty, lefty loosey. If the fastener is still stuck, remember to grunt as this facilitates the flow of elbow grease. Swearing at the parts in question is helpful. Keep trying as long as you have elbow grease left.

It's Fantastik!

Elbow grease is also frequently used as a stain remover on most household surfaces like tile, hardwood or linoleum as well as counter tops and bath tubs or showers. You'll need a rag or scrubbing pad of sort for this job, but be warned that some flooring surfaces are damaged by certain cleaning agents or scrubbing materials. Read the packaging carefully. As above, grunting helps to induce a flow of elbow grease. Getting on hands and knees also helps to properly apply the power of elbow grease on stains.

If you're up against a big job and you run out of elbow grease early, fear not! If you're stuck on a troublesome fastener, consider picking up some penetrating oil and apply liberally. Breaker bars also help you out by multiplying torque. For those persistent stains, elbow grease acts as a catalyst for cleaning agents like Mr. Clean or Soft Scrub.

Field Trip

Alternatively, if you need more elbow grease, you can go pick some up at the local auto parts store. Be sure to get some blinker fluid while you're there.


Yes, you in the back, elbow grease is in fact just how much force you apply to the problem. Now get back on the short bus.

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