How Do I Get Scratches Out of Stainless Steel Appliances?

You have a shining, gleaming stainless steel and a kitchen that fairly sparkles. Then, it happens. Somehow there is an ugly scratch on the stainless steel refrigerator, oven, or dishwasher, and you can see it from across the room. It's just about as obvious as a blemish on prom night. But you can restore your stainless steel appliances to their former beauty.

Let it shine!

Step 1

Assess the damage. Determine if this is a deep scratch or a surface scratch, by running your finger across it. If you can actually feel the indentation, you have a deep scratch, gouge or ding. With clamps, carefully hold a small piece of dry ice over the gouged area. Hopefully,it will pop out, and not be as noticeable. Then you can treat it in the same way other scratched areas are treated in the steps below.

Step 2

Determine if the scratched appliance is "real" stainless steel or if it has a synthetic coating or finish. Damage to coated appliances is permanent. These are all coated: Whirlpool - "Satina;" GE - "Clean Steel;" Amana - "Ultra Finish Steel;" Kitchenaid - Architect Series II, "Monochromatic Stainless;" Kenmore - "Ultra Satin;" Frigidaire - "Titanium;" Electrolux (all brands except "Classic," "Icon" and "Electrolux"); Maytag - "Silver Ultra Finish," "Satina Stainless Look," "Monochromatic Stainless steel," "Monochromatic Satina."

Also,coated stainless steel doesn't smudge easily, and is magnetic. You will only further damage the surface if you use a rubbing compound, or a product like Scratch-B-Gone, on a synthetic or clear-coated finish. If your appliance is coated, you cannot fix the damage.

Step 3

Identify the existing grain of the stainless steel. See which direction the tiny original brush lines go in the damaged area.

Step 4

Use an abrasive pad from the Scratch-B-Gone kit to repair scuffs, light scratches and even deep scratches. The kit has 4 different abrasive pads and instructions to tell you which one to use depending on the severity of the scratches and scuffs. Otherwise, go to an automotive shop and buy different fine grades of sandpaper.

Step 5

Apply a small amount of Ultra Shine from the Scratch-B-Gone kit onto the appropriate abrasive pad. Or use an automotive rubbing compound on the sandpaper.

Step 6

Begin rubbing the damaged area of the stainless steel in the direction of the grain covering over about a 5-inch area at a time. Slide the pad backward and forward increasing pressure as needed until you see the scratch is disappearing.

Step 7

Repeat this process until the scratch is removed and the surface is restored. For a deeper scratch, dry rub the area with the coarse pad, and wipe area off with a microfiber cloth to make sure the scratch is gone.

Step 8

Blend the metal surfaces by using the finest grade sandpaper or abrasive pad with the rubbing compound or Ultra Shine and gradually increase the area around the original damage to about three times the original scratched area. Be sure to go with the existing grain of the stainless steel so you don't create crosshatching.

Linda Johnson

Linda Johnson is a veteran writer and Photoshop and Illustrator aficionado. She is a TV-radio producer, ad agency owner and a winner of Addy Awards and the First Place Award for Best National Public Service Film. In addition to Johnson's online work, her writing has appeared in "Poetry Guide," the "Indianapolis Star" and Indianapolis Dine magazine.