No hardware store in neighborhood, try toothbrush instead! This seems to be the mantra of astronauts Sunita Williams and Akihido Hoshide and NASA engineers.
It so happened that a bolt was creating a nuisance for the astronauts while fixing an electrical switching unit. They decided to clean it up, but this simple task proved to be quite a headache for them.
Alas, there was no hardware shop in their neighborhood to arrange the requisite tools and nearest supply station was thousands of miles away back home. So they decided to make an unusual move for resolving this issue.
After some brainstorming the astronauts struck upon a novel idea. The toothbrush was fixed to a pole and used for cleaning the notorious bolt.
Sunita Wiliam's blog
Note that spacewalking is an inherently difficult activity. Astronauts have to put on heavy protective gear to venture out there, which makes making simplest of moves quite strenous.
Sunita Williams writes in her blog, "You don't just 'go outside.'" She added, "Usually that is the fun and easy part of the entire thing -- suit sizing, tool gathering and preparation, equipment gathering and preparations, studying new procedures, reviewing and talking through how to get us suited and how to get the airlock depressed, reviewing the tasks we will do with each other and with the robotic arm, talking about cleaning up, and then talking thru a plan to get back into the airlock, and any emergencies that can come up -- loss of communications, suit issues, etc.
"Yes, that took a lot of our time leading up to Thursday last week. Even planning when to go to sleep and what to eat are important. Remember, you are in that suit usually about 8 hours for a 6 hour EVA.
"To my surprise, the most intense part for this EVA happened to be outside when we encountered our 'sticky' bolt. That resulted in a long EVA, and over 10 hours in the suit. No bathroom and no lunch."