Satin nickel, also known as brushed nickel, is an attractive finish available on modern refrigerators, stoves, faucets, and other household fixture. Despite nickel's durability, scratches do sometimes occur in nickel finishes. When they do, you need to buff them out. You can do so by hand with some water and very-fine wet/dry sandpaper, or use a scratch removal compound and an electric buffer. No matter which method you choose, proper technique is important and will prevent you from adding new scratches while removing the old ones.
You may wish to practice your technique on an inconspicuous part of the nickel finish before working on a highly visible area. This method works well but sometimes needs a bit of refining.
Things You'll Need
Clean, soft cloth
Water or scratch removal compound
400- to 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper
Wipe the scratched area with soft, clean cloth to ensure that the area is clean and free from debris. It is important to avoid creating new scratches during the repair.
Make sure the cotton cloth you use is clean before beginning. If not, you risk creating additional scratches when rubbing the fixture with it.
Wet the scratched area with water. The water will act as a lubricant for the sandpaper. If you are using a scratch-removing compound, apply it to the scratch in place of water.
Rub the scratched area with 600-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Do not rub the sandpaper back and forth. Instead, move the paper in one direction only, moving with the nickel's grain. Continue doing this until the scratch comes out. If it doesn't, move to a slightly coarser 500-grit sandpaper and try again.
When sanding nickel, you should use the finest-grit wet/dry sandpaper you can. Wet/dry sandpapers have a waterproof adhesive and backing paper that's won't come apart when used with water. Start with a fine paper and work your way to coarser papers as needed. This is the opposite of what you do when sanding most other surfaces.
You may use a Dremel or other power tool with a buffing attachment instead of the sandpaper. Even with a power buffer, it is imperative that you always move in the same direction as the nickel's grain to prevent circular rub marks.
Dry the area with a soft, clean cloth. If you used a scratch-removal compound, rinse the area with a slightly dampened cloth to remove any excess compound and then dry.
Apply vinegar to the buffed or sanded area. The vinegar will help remove any oil or other debris left on the fixture from the sanding and buffing process. Wipe the vinegar off of the treated area with a dampened cloth.
Dry the treated area with a soft cloth and buff lightly.
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