How to Get Rid of Scratches on Stainless Steel Appliances

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When it comes to modern homes, stainless steel appliances are a staple. From the microwave and toaster to the oven, sink, refrigerator, and dishwasher, stainless steel is a popular, shiny, and trendy material. However, stainless steel isn’t a single metal, but rather an alloy made up of a combination of specific metals, such as chromium or nickel. It’s a wonder material that has amazing properties, such as being heat-resistant, easy to produce, completely recyclable, and most importantly, corrosive-resistant, which means it doesn’t rust easily.

While cleaning stainless steel appliances frequently is not a problem, you have to be careful not to scratch the metal. This can be a tricky chore, but there are cleaners and scratch removers available that are safe for stainless steel.

Scratch Removers for Stainless Steel

Before attempting to remove scratches from your stainless steel appliances, be sure to check with the appliance manufacturer to verify which type of stainless steel you’re working with, as stainless steel comes in various grades and finishes, and home-grade stainless steel is typically used for all appliances. Here are some techniques you can try:

  • For fine scratches, non-abrasive cleansers like Comet, and Revere Stainless Steel and Copper Cleaner can gently buff stainless steel. They come as dry powder that needs to be combined with water, or as cream-based cleaners that go on the metal smoothly. Appliance manufacturers often make their own cleaners that are easy to find at home improvement stores.
  • For deeper scratches, wet sandpaper is recommended. Sandpaper comes in various grits, so check first with your appliance manufacturer about which kind of sandpaper will work best for your stainless steel.
  • If you have a lot of scratches, you can use DIY scratch removal kits, such as Scratch-B-Gone or the Siege 63001 Stainless Steel Sink and Cookware Scratch Remover pack. These kits feature products similar to the two described above in one kit and will cost you a little more out of pocket.

Regardless of the technique you use, always rub or buff the scratch with the grain of the metal, as going against the grain will only make the scratch worse.

If you’re unsure about how to remove scratches from your stainless steel, it’s best to call a professional. There are experts who can come to your home and give you an estimate for repairs. This may be more expensive, but it’s worth it if the job is too big or you’ve already tried everything.

Fun fact: Stainless steel is used as a roofing material, and the Chrysler Building in New York City has a stainless steel “crown” that covers its spires, making it one of the most recognizable structures in the world.

Frequently Asked Questions about Scratches on Stainless Steel

Q: Can scratches be removed from stainless steel?

A: Yes, there are special cleaners that contain a dry powder to apply to the metal. Some appliance manufacturers have their own cleaners, so it’s best to check with them first.

Q: How does toothpaste remove scratches?

A: Toothpaste essentially sands the scratches when rubbed onto a smooth surface, but it’s not effective for deep scratches.

Q: Can baking soda remove scratches?

A: Baking soda can remove light scratches by making a paste with water and applying it to the surface, then scrubbing lightly with a damp cloth.

Q: How can gouges be removed?

A: Gouges and deep scratches are more difficult to remove. Use sandpaper with 400 to 600 grit and a rubbing compound. Consider getting a repair kit from the appliance manufacturer.

More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Metal vs. Steel: Is there a difference?
  • 5 Tips for Cleaning Stainless Steel
  • How to Get Rust Off Stainless Steel

Sources

  • Allegheny Technologies. “Moly-grade stainless steel makes waves at Middle Eastern airport.” (Sept. 30, 2011) www.alleghenytechnologies.com/aerospace/docs/aerospace…/Doha.pdf
  • Comet Cleanser. (Sept. 30, 2011) http://cometcleanser.com/index.htm
  • The Consumer Link. “Revere Cleaner.” (Sept. 30, 2011) http://www.theconsumerlink.com/EZBrite/list/revereclean/15
  • Finishing. “Removing Scratches from Stainless Steel Appliances.” (Sept. 18, 2011) http://www.finishing.com/4000-4199/4148.shtml
  • International Stainless Steel Forum. “Introduction to Stainless Steel.” (Sept. 18, 2011) http://www.worldstainless.org/About+stainless/What+is/Intro/
  • New York Architecture. “Chrysler Building.” (Sept. 30, 2011) http://www.nyc-architecture.com/MID/MID021.htm
  • Scratch-B-Gone Homeowners Kit. (Sept. 20, 2011) http://www.scratch-b-gone.net/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1&osCsid=c6i3cn7b9pns4pq34h276sovb2
  • Stainless Steel Industry of North America. “Stainless Steel Overview: Tutorial.” (Sept. 22, 2011) http://www.ssina.com/overview/how.html
  • Whirlpool. “Stainless Steel Appliance Cleaner and Polish.” (Sept. 20, 2011) http://www.whirlpool.com/-%5B31462A%5D-1001017/31462A/

FAQ

1. What causes scratches on stainless steel appliances?

Scratches on stainless steel appliances can be caused by a variety of factors, including abrasive cleaning products, harsh scrubbing pads, and even contact with sharp or hard objects. Fingerprints and dust can also scratch the surface if not cleaned properly.

2. How can I prevent scratches on stainless steel appliances?

To prevent scratches, it’s important to avoid using harsh cleaning products and abrasive scrubbing pads. Instead, use a soft cloth or sponge and a mild cleaning solution specifically designed for stainless steel. Avoid using knives or other sharp objects near the appliance, and be sure to clean fingerprints and dust regularly.

3. Can scratches on stainless steel appliances be repaired?

Yes, scratches on stainless steel appliances can often be repaired. The method of repair will depend on the severity of the scratch. Light scratches can often be buffed out with a stainless steel cleaner and a soft cloth. Deeper scratches may require the use of a stainless steel scratch removal kit or the assistance of a professional.

4. What materials do I need to remove scratches from stainless steel appliances?

You will need a stainless steel cleaner, a soft cloth or sponge, and a stainless steel scratch removal kit (if the scratches are deeper). Some kits may include additional materials such as sandpaper or a polishing compound.

5. How do I remove light scratches from stainless steel appliances?

To remove light scratches, apply a small amount of stainless steel cleaner to a soft cloth or sponge and gently rub the affected area in a circular motion. Rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth. For best results, repeat the process until the scratches are no longer visible.

6. How do I remove deep scratches from stainless steel appliances?

To remove deeper scratches, use a stainless steel scratch removal kit according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The kit may include sandpaper or a polishing compound. Be sure to follow all safety precautions and test the product on a small, inconspicuous area before applying to the entire appliance.

7. Can scratches be removed from a stainless steel refrigerator door?

Yes, scratches can be removed from a stainless steel refrigerator door using the same methods as for other stainless steel appliances. However, it’s important to note that some refrigerator doors have a protective coating that may be damaged with excessive rubbing or abrasive products. Be sure to check your refrigerator’s manual before attempting any repairs.

8. Can scratches be prevented on stainless steel appliances with a protective film?

Yes, a protective film can be applied to stainless steel appliances to prevent scratches. The film is a clear, adhesive material that can be easily applied and removed. It’s important to note that the film may change the appearance of the appliance slightly and may need to be replaced periodically.

9. Should I hire a professional to remove scratches from my stainless steel appliances?

If the scratches are deep or extensive, it may be best to hire a professional to remove them. A professional can assess the damage and use specialized tools and techniques to restore the appliance to its original condition. However, for minor scratches, it may be possible to remove them yourself with the appropriate materials and techniques.

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