Buff out ugly scratches in your shiny stainless steel appliances, using fine sandpaper and rubbing compound.
Start with the scratch and then blend in. Determine the direction of the “grain” and start sanding in one direction only, following the brushed pattern. Don't sand back and forth and never sand against the “grain.”
Stainless steel is a great look until you scratch it. Then it looks awful. But you can “sand” out the scratches with sandpaper (400 to 600 grit) and a sanding block, an abrasive pad, or with rubbing compound. Or buy a stainless steel repair kit and get everything you need. (The Scratch-B-Gone kit comes with three pads, a sanding block, lubricant and a video. It’s available at home centers and through our affiliation with amazon.com.)
The sanding technique only works on plain (uncoated) stainless steel panels. Never try this procedure on simulated stainless steel or stainless panels with a fingerprint-resistant clear coat. Hint: If your appliance fingerprints easily, chances are it’s plain stainless steel.
The key to removing the scratch is to start with the finest grit paper or pad and zigzag a stream of sanding fluid on it. Then sand the scratched area (photo). If the scratch won’t come out after sanding for a few minutes, move up to the next coarsest grit. When the scratch disappears, sand the rest of the panel until it blends in.
You’ll have to develop a feel for the technique, so start on an inconspicuous area of the appliance panel. Finish by applying a stainless steel cleaner/polish (Sprayway is one brand; at home centers and appliance parts stores).
Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
You’ll also need an abrasive pad or simply buy a repair kit with everything you need.
Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.