How to Remove Pesky Scratches on Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is the top choice for an appliance finish. It has a sleek and luxurious look, but it is also functional and durable. Your kitchen’s stainless steel appliances look beautiful and shine brightly in your kitchen. And besides the fact that you want them always to look as good as the day you brought them home, kitchen appliances are an investment. The better you care for them, the longer they will last. As you live your daily life in and out of your kitchen, things will happen. A small scratch here, a big one there… Scratches on stainless steel are hard to avoid, but what can you do to fix them? Are you left with the scratches for good?
Thankfully there are some tricks to removing pesky scratches on stainless steel appliances – even the deep ones. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Remove Light, Fine Scratches From Stainless Steel
Some scratches that make their way onto your refrigerator door, for example, are light and fine. By gently rubbing your finger over them, you can tell they didn’t go deep into the surface. And that’s great – it means it is a simple fix if you are willing to put in a little work. Here’s what you will need to get started:
A few soft microfiber cloths
- Stainless steel scratch remover (Bar Keeper’s Friend or similar)
- Whitening toothpaste (optional scratch remover)
- Baking soda (optional scratch remover)
Step One: Clean the Surface
The first thing you want to do is grab one of your microfiber cloths and some vinegar. Wipe down the surface area where the scratches are, removing dust, dirt, food residue, and other stains. Rinse well and dry with a clean microfiber towel.
Step Two: Apply the Scratch Remover Solution
First, find the direction of the grain. You will have to look closely at stainless steel as it is not as pronounced as some other surfaces. You are trying to determine where it is going side to side or up and down.
Once you find the direction of the grain, put some of your stainless steel scratch remover solution onto one of your clean soft cloths. Then rub it into the stainless steel going in the direction of the grain. Keep working it into the scratch, back and forth.
If you do not have a designated stainless steel scratch remover like Bar Keeper’s Friend, then you can try using whitening toothpaste or baking soda. The key is to mix the latter with a bit of water to create a paste.
Step Three: Rest and Repeat
When you feel very confident that you have got as much of the solution into the scratches as possible, let it rest for about 5 minutes. Then, take a clean microfiber cloth and wipe away any excess remover solution.
Examine your appliance – can you still see the scratches? If so, repeat the process again starting with adding the scratch remover. Do this a couple of times until you no longer see the scratches. Then, remove the solution with some diluted vinegar and dry with a clean cloth.
If you can’t seem to get the scratches to dissipate, you may need to take a different approach as they could be more profound than you realize.
Remove Deep Scratches From Stainless Steel
It is essential to take caution when trying to remove deep scratches – and follow the directions carefully. This could very well cause additional damage to your appliances. If you want to take the risk, great. If you think it would be best in the hands of a professional, then that may be a wise route to take.
Either way, let’s go over what you need to do – and what you need to get started.
- Abrasive or scouring pad (400 to 600 grit)
- A few soft, microfiber cloths
- Rubbing compound or cooking oil. Or, a stainless steel scratch removal kit (like Scratch-B-Gone)
Step One: Clean the Surface
Just like you did with the smaller scratches, use a clean soft cloth and a little vinegar to clean the area of the appliance where the scratches are. Again, you are trying to remove any debris, dirt, dust, or food residue that may have attached itself to the surface.
Be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean microfiber cloth.
Step Two: Start Buffing – With the Grain
You will want to look closely and determine the direction of the grain, either side to side and up and down. Once you find it, add oil to the abrasive or scouring pad. Be liberal about the amount of oil you use. Yes, this can get a little messy. Use moderate pressure and buff the area going with the grain. This is key. Don’t press too hard or you may damage the surface.
Step Three: Rest and Repeat
When you think you have successfully buffed it out, give your arm a break and look closely at the scratch. Can you still see it? Could it use a bit more buffing? If so, repeat the process using more oil. If you need to move to a pad with a finer grit, that may help, too.
Once you think you have it to where it needs to be, it’s time to clean up. Use another one of your clean microfiber cloths and buff the area out – still going with the grain. You will likely have to keep repeating this until all the oil is pretty much gone. Then, wipe the area down with a clean cloth and some diluted vinegar.
Maintaining Your Stainless Steel
Stainless steel appliances are relatively easy to maintain, often only requiring wipe downs and buffed fingerprints or smudges. You don’t even need to use chemicals to clean them most of the time. They are designed to last for years while always presenting themselves beautifully.
Regardless of how clean you keep them, scratches are bound to happen. The good news is that with a bit of time and attention, you can remove those pesky scratches for good.