Stainless steel is a popular kitchen appliance option for toasters, convection countertop ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers. While it is seemingly impervious to damage, it can get gouges and scratches from the hustle and bustle of everyday life that occurs in and around the kitchen, and while the name may indicate that it will remain free from smudges and stains, stainless steel fixtures and appliances still need a bit of TLC.
A blaring scratch across the otherwise-pristine surface can ruin the aesthetic as well as your day. Removing scratches on stainless steel appliances, kitchen sinks and faucets isn't a chore if you know the proper technique and application of the right type of cleaner.
Stainless Steel Gauges
Durable and classic, stainless steel is a popular choice. It's inexpensive and versatile and comes in a wide variety of gauges.
A heavy-gauge stainless steel is more resistant to dents, dings and scratches. Check the cleaner you plan to use on your appliance before using it over the entire surface. A lighter gauge of stainless steel won't hold up to abrasive cleaners. Most panels on appliances have a lighter gauge, while fixtures such as sinks tend to use a heavier gauge of stainless steel.
First Things First
The first thing to do is identify the grain of the stainless steel. The tiny brush strokes move either north to south or east to west. You'll want to work with the direction of the grain to blend scratches into the surface of the stainless steel panel.
Wipe down the entire front of the Frigidaire or other stainless steel appliance. This will reveal any miniscule scratches you may have missed. Make sure the Frigidaire front doesn't have any residue from cleaners and is primed for repair.
Vinegar is a good cleanser that won't leave behind a film while removing bits of dust and dirt that can cling to the stainless steel surface.
Buff Before Sanding
If the stainless steel is purely decorative, such as the front of a Frigidaire or the sides of a countertop convection oven, it may simply require a thick towel and a lot of elbow grease.
Use a liquid cleanser or make a paste with a powder cleaner such as Comet, Ajax or Bon Ami. Apply the paste or cream to the scratches on the Frigidaire or other item and rub the paste into the scratch, moving along the grain. Use some force to get the grit of the cleanser to blend the edges of the scratch into the unblemished grain on the surface.
Stainless Steel Scratch Repair
A fine sandpaper and the right amount of hand pressure can remove deep gouges. Use a 400- to 600-grit sandpaper and a hand tool and gently work a rubbing compound into the scratch.
If you are unsure about the type of sandpaper to pair with a quality rubbing compound, a repair kit made for Frigidaire or general stainless steel appliances will have all you need to complete the task.
Commercial Cleaners for Stainless Steel
From complete kits to simple sprays or powders, there are a few commercial cleaners that can remove stains while erasing minor scratches on a stainless steel Frigidaire appliance.
Ajax doesn't scratch easily and can remove discoloration from food-based products as well as buff out little dings and scratches that can occur on the front stainless steel panel.
An all-encompassing kit such as Scratch-B-Gone can address minor scratches or major gouges. It contains different levels of abrasives as well as the microfiber towel and polishing liquids you need to make an appliance gleam. You can find Scratch-B-Gone at Home Depot or other big box home improvement stores and some large grocery stores.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.