Stainless steel appliances are popular for their sleek, modern look. Refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, sinks, cookware, and other items contribute to the aesthetics of your kitchen. But while exceptionally durable and rust-resistant, stainless steel can become scratched and scraped with daily use. These secret tips can enable you to successfully remove scratches from your appliances.
Make Sure it’s True Stainless Steel
Many argue stainless is should not be magnetic. While technical, only austenitic stainless steel is non-magnetic, meaning if you put a magnet to it stick it won’t stick. The difference is a minor amount of iron-chromium in the metal’s composition. Additionally, you can easily see fingerprints on the surface of stainless steel appliances, which have a brushed finish. In addition to this, stainless steel appliances have a linear grain, which runs continuously in a single direction. It’s important to always clean or wipe the surface in that direction, and that goes for removing scratches too. Working against the grain can make a scratch worse.
Clean the Surface
Remove dirt or oily films with a vinegar solution and then rinse with water. Stainless steel cleaning products are your other alternative. It’s best to follow any directions the manufacturer has provided in cleaning the appliance. To dry, wipe with a clean cloth in the direction of the grain.
Removing the Scratch
There are many methods of removing a scratch in stainless steel. Fine scratches can be removed with common store-bought consumer cleaning products, such as Revere Stainless Steel or Comet. If the manufacturer supplies its own cleaner for your appliance (often available at home improvement stores), use that. Stainless steel polish can also conceal minor scratches, although must be reapplied frequently to protect it.
For minor scratches, you can also use:
- Non-Abrasive Cleanser: If using a powder-based cleanser, mix it with water. This will form a thin paste to spread over the surface, in the direction of the grain, using a moistened cloth or sponge. Wipe the cleanser away often to see if it’s working. If the scratch is removed, coat the surface with a stainless steel polish or olive oil.
- Stainless Steel Scratch Removal Compound: Add water to create a paste. It should look somewhat like toothpaste. If using a cream-based compound, apply it to a microfiber cloth, rubbing it back and forth along the grain. Once the scratch is buffed out, wipe with the cloth to remove any residue. Use another microfiber cloth to dry the surface and repeat the process until the scratches are completely removed.
- Toothpaste: If you need a slightly more abrasive approach, apply a whitening toothpaste to a soft-bristle toothbrush. Brush over the scratch, periodically wiping away the toothpaste to see if it’s working. If necessary, keep brushing and add more toothpaste. Once the scratch is gone, clean the area and finish the surface.
How to Remove Deep Scratches from Stainless Steel
When the previous methods haven’t worked, you may need to sand out a deeper scratch with sandpaper. Use an abrasive pad if one is specified by the manufacturer. Otherwise, start with extra-fine wet/dry sandpaper. Wet the sandpaper and make sure it remains wet while you’re working. Dampen the affected area with a sponge and sand the scratch using light pressure. Make sure to go in the same direction as the metal’s grain.
Work the surface for a few minutes. If the scratch still isn’t removed, choose a different sandpaper with a slightly courser grit. Sand the area lightly and gently outward. This will help blend the scratch with the rest of the surface. Wipe the area with a wet cloth or sponge using plenty of water to remove loose grit. Dry the surface with a soft towel or cloth and then polish the surface.
Contact Wilshire Refrigeration & Appliance
We are factory-certified to repair Sub-Zero, Wolf, and ASKO appliances. Serving clients throughout Southern California, our team can handle any repair or maintenance job. If you have questions about removing stubborn scratches from stainless steel or prefer to have a professional look at your appliance, contact us at 800-427-3653.