Everyone knows the pain of that first scratch or ding in a new car, phone, appliance or other pricey piece of property. Wear and tear is a fact of life – doubly true when kids and pets enter into the equation – but sometimes it’s surprising how effective minor repairs can be. One example of this is stainless steel. Far from unsalvageable, some dings and scratches can indeed be removed from this glistening metal with a relatively simple polishing and sanding process. Here’s how to do so with your appliances.
Note: Sanding stainless steel only works on plain (uncoated) panels. This should never be attempted on simulated stainless steel or stainless steel with a fingerprint-resistant clear coat. If your appliance easily collects fingerprints, it’s likely plain stainless, but always consult your manual, vendor or other expert if you’re unsure.
Faint scratches may simply require a polishing cleanser, available from brands such as Bon Ami, Comet, Revere, Ajax or Sprayway. For most medium sized scratches, you’ll also need sandpaper (400 to 600 grit), a sanding block and a rubbing compound (or water). Serious scratches short of gouges may require a stainless steel repair kit such as Scratch-B-Gone.
- Determine the grain (direction) of your stainless steel’s brushed pattern. You must clean, polish and sand only with the grain and not against (perpendicular) to it. Consider practicing the following steps on an inconspicuous part of your appliance to get a feel for the process and result.
- Clean and polish the panel using your cleansing polisher of choice according to the product’s directions.
- Begin with the finest grit (highest grit number) paper or pad and apply water or rubbing compound to it.
- Sand the area of the scratch with the grain. If the scratch does not disappear after sanding for a few minutes, move up to the next coarsest grit (lower grit number). If the scratch still does not disappear, consider using a stainless steel scratch removal kit or contacting a professional.
- When the scratch is gone, sand the remainder of the panel until everything blends in.
- Clean and polish the panel once more with your cleansing polisher of choice.
If your scratches aren’t too formidable, these steps and a little elbow grease should restore your stainless steel to its pristine best. If this process sounds too imposing or fails to banish your scratches, try contacting a professional for an estimate to restore your appliance.