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How to Remove and Polish Scratches from Stainless Steel

Sand out those ugly scratches in your shiny stainless steel finishes.

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

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Time
An hour or less
Complexity
Beginner
Cost
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)
  • Abrasive pad
  • Sanding block
  • Rubbing compound

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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.