How to Remove Metal Scratches

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Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper in grits from 250 to 1000

  • Stainless steel/copper cleaning solution

  • Metal polish for the metal in question

  • Soft sponge

  • Soft rag

If you have a metal appliance such as a stainless steel refrigerator you are probably aware of the detrimental effects that a scratch can have on the appearance of the appliance. Fortunately, you can remove scratches from many types of metal, including brass and stainless steel, with some serious elbow grease and the appropriate type of metal polish.


Restoring Metal's Appearance

Step 1

Start out with a good cleaning. If the scratches are deep enough, you may have to sand them away, but it is always better for the metal if you can simple fill them in. Apply the cleaning solution with a soft sponge. Use plenty of the solution to make sure that you have adequately treated the scratches. Once you have buffed the solution into the metal in a circular fashion, you can remove it with a damp rag. If the scratches were minor, then you have probably resolved the problem at this point. If not, then you will need to bring in "the big guns" to fix the issue.


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Step 2

Sand away the scratches. Start out with the rough-grain sandpaper and sand over the scratched area. At first, it will look worse, so do not be alarmed. Any shiny finish that the metal had will be sanded away.

Step 3

Continue sanding with progressively finer grains of sandpaper. As the surface becomes as smooth as is possible with one grain, then move to a finer grain. This will eventually result in an area that is as smooth as glass. Do not use excessive pressure because you do not want to sand a visible "dent" into the surface.

Step 4

Wipe down the sanded area with the cleaning solution. This is only appropriate if you are dealing with stainless steel or copper, or if you have purchased a metal-appropriate cleaner. If not, then simply wipe down the sanded area with a moist rag. Either way, in the end you will want a clean, smooth surface.


Step 5

Polish the metal. If it is possible, you should repolish the entire surface of the metal so that there is not one spot that is brighter than the rest of the surface. However, at the very least you need to polish the area that you sanded to restore the finish. When you are done, you should have a piece of metal that no longer bears any traces of scratching.



Carole Ellis

Carole Ellis began writing in 2004 for the "UGA Research Magazine." Her work has appeared in Growing Edge, Medscape and Doctors' Guide publications. In addition to medical coverage, Carole publishes a real estate newsletter called REJournalOnline and is the news editor for the Bryan Ellis Real Estate Letter. She has a bachelor's degree in English and graduate work in creative writing and plant biology.