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Sanding Stainless Steel Appliances

Buff out ugly scratches in your shiny stainless steel appliances, using fine sandpaper and rubbing compound.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Sanding Stainless Steel Appliances

Buff out ugly scratches in your shiny stainless steel appliances, using fine sandpaper and rubbing compound.

Remove scratches from stainless steel

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).

Repair kit

Repair kit

Stainless Steel Repair Kit

This kit contains all you need to remove scratches in stainless steel.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Sanding block

You’ll also need an abrasive pad or simply buy a repair kit with everything you need.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Rubbing compound

Comments from DIY Community Members

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July 31, 9:45 PM [GMT -5]

PLEASE NOTE, this should not be attempted on brushed stainless. You will only make a larger blemish.

August 01, 7:13 AM [GMT -5]

and what I can do if I have stains at the fingerprint coating? I don't know how, but I found these stains and I only washed my apliances with watter (but mine is watter without calcium due the salt treatment).
Thanks for your help!

March 29, 3:21 PM [GMT -5]

Be careful before sanding your stainless steel appliances. Some brands use a fingerprint free coating on top of the stainless steel and sanding this finish will ruin this coating. Make sure that you have a "raw" stainless finish before attempting this. Ryan

January 04, 3:32 PM [GMT -5]

A handy article that provides advice concerning scratches to stainless steel. Now, how about the some viable suggestions on pulling out dents!

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