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
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An hour or less
Less than $20
How to Remove Deep Scratches in 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 a rubbing compound. Or buy a stainless steel repair kit and get everything you need.
The sanding technique only works on plain (uncoated) stainless steel panels. Never try to get scratches out 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.
Required Tools and Materials
Have the necessary tools and materials for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.
Sandpaper (400- to 600-grit)
Sand the Scratch Off
The key on how to remove scratches from stainless steel 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.