How to Remove Scratches From Stainless Steel

Nowadays, it is typical to walk into a kitchen full of stainless steel appliances. From the sink and oven to the refrigerator and dishwasher, even the microwave and toaster! There is just something about the shiny, trendy, and classic appeal to stainless steel finishes we all know and love. What we don’t love are those pesky scratches that show up on the finish. Caring for your appliances should be top priority, as these are typically planned on using for years and years to come. But we know with daily use of major appliances, scratches here and there are more likely to occur (we’ve all been guilty, right?).

Stainless steel is a blend and mixture of specific metals to give it those defining characteristics. With the proper cleaning and maintenance, stainless steel can almost always retain its radiant glow and remove those scratches. Follow the steps below to get rid of those scratches and have your stainless steel appliances looking brand new.

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Step 1- Identify the grain

Before you start to clean your stainless steel products and remove those scratches, it is important to work in the direction of the grain.  Polishing and cleaning the direction of the grain reduces scratches.

Look closely at your appliance and you will find faint lines or strokes running along the finish. That is the direction you will want to follow when cleaning.  

Step 2- Remove dirt & grime from your fridge

You must begin your work on a clean surface, so you do not cause further damage.

You can use your standard white vinegar or cleaning vinegar to do this. The acid will carve away the greasy fingerprints and allow the surface to be prepped. Be sure when you are cleaning your appliances you are moving in the direction of the grain.  

Step 3- Removing your scratch from your Stainless Appliances

  • Sanding 

Always check with your stainless-steel manufacturer on what sandpaper is best to use. We recommend using three things you can find at your local Home Depot, Lowe’s, or car repair. We use two different colors of Scotch Brite pads, the maroon (more aggressive) and gray. You want to be sure when you apply pressure to your products that you are taking nice, long, even strokes so that it is uniform. Over time you will blend away your lines to create a smooth surface. Check out this how-to video “Refinish Stainless Steel” on YouTube for a demonstration.

  • Buffing

Buff out with a soft bristle toothbrush and toothpaste.  Unlike some polishing cleaners, whitening toothpaste is mildly abrasive to help with the removal. Use the brush to apply the toothpaste and buff out the scratch by moving in the direction of the grain. Periodically wipe away the toothpaste to assess the scratch.

  • Non-Abrasive Cleaner

This might be the gentlest method of erasing a scratch from stainless steel. Non-abrasive cleaners can come in both liquid and wet form so be sure to mix it with water if needed. You can use a moist cloth or sponge while rubbing in the direction of the grain.

Throughout daily use of your stainless steel appliances, the occasional scratches will inevitably happen over time. Fortunately, through these techniques, the beautiful shine will be maintained and will keep your stainless-steel appliances looking in mint condition.