Stainless steel is an alloy made from several metals including chromium and nickel used to make many home appliances. Stainless steel can withstand heat, and it won't easily rust, but you may find your appliance scratched.
Although scratches don't interfere with operation, you still want to remove them to restore the shiny appearance. Follow these steps to remove scratches from stainless steel appliances.
Prepare to Fix Scratches
To fix the scratches, gather:
- microfiber rags
- old soft-bristle toothbrush
- 600-grit wet sandpaper
- white toothpaste
- white vinegar
- vegetable oil
- spray bottle
- dry ice clamps
- stainless steel rubbing compound or automotive compound
- chrome polish
Run your finger across the scratch, If you can slide your finger through it, it is deep. Hold dry ice with clamps or tongs over the scratch to minimize it, and treat it as a light scratch.
If the finish doesn't smudge, it is not stainless steel. You won't be able to repair coated stainless steel.
Clean the Appliance
Fill a bucket or spray bottle with cleaning vinegar, then use a sponge or rag to wipe the appliance following the grain. Dab extra liquid with a cloth. Stainless steel has a grain pattern like wood.
Cleaning vinegar is a more effective cleaner than natural vinegar, since it has 1% more acid. You may also apply a stainless steel cleaner.
Fix Minor Scratches with Non-Abrasive Product
Attempt to remove the scratch with a non-abrasive commercial cleaner first, such as Ajax or Comet. Test the scratch remover in a hidden area to check reaction. Sprinkle some of the cleaner on a sponge or rag, and buff the surface.
Dab a clean rag in vegetable oil, and wipe the scratch in the direction of the grain. Fold the rag on the clean half without oil, then moisten that side with white vinegar.
Wipe the scratch area to remove the vegetable oil, then wipe it with a clean cloth to remove residue. After the scratch has been removed, apply chrome polish to bring back the shine.
Try White Toothpaste or a Rubbing Compound
If the non-abrasive solutions didn't work, try white toothpaste, which is mildly abrasive. Spread some toothpaste on the old toothbrush, and work it directly into the scratch, wiping excess paste with a clean rag.
Use a clean damp, rag to rinse, then apply polish. Alternately, buff the scratch using automotive compound or stainless steel rubbing compound.
Buff Deep Scratches
To fix deeper scratches that you couldn't remove using dry ice, mist the area with a spray bottle or damp rag. Dampen the sandpaper, then sand in the direction of the grain, feathering the edges to blend it with the rest of the appliance. Use a clean, damp rag to remove the dust.
Contact a repair service, like A 1 Professional Appliance, for more help.