Most people these days owns a stainless steel appliance of some kind, and some even got their entire kitchen covered with them. Stainless steel has been, and still is a popular kitchen trend, because of its smooth and shiny looking surface. If you own an oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, grill or any other stainless steel covered appliances, you’ve probably already experienced that everyday activity is gonna leave this durable material with smears and sticky fingerprints, and also eventually some scratches.
With proper cleaning and maintenance, it is possible to revive the appearance of your devices, and have them looking almost brand new again. Although, it can be quite difficult to remove scratches from stainless steel appliances, depending on the severity of the scratch, there are some things you could try.
Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances
Before we start looking at ways to remove scratches from stainless steel appliances, lets take a look at some effective ways to clean and remove food stains and fingerprints. What’s important to know is that stainless steel has a grain, just like wood, and in order to get the best cleaning results, you need to understand the direction of the grain, and clean with it.
- Water and a cloth – This is the least risky option when it comes to cleaning stainless steel. Plain warm water will work in the majority of the situations. Dry with a cloth or towel to prevent any water spots.
- Dish soap – Mix warm water and dish soap and rub the solution onto the marks bit by bit, in small sections, going with the grain. Use clean hot water to rinse and clear, and dry it immediately with a clean towel or clot.
- Vinegar and water – Mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and apply it. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe it off your appliances, going with the grain.
- Baking soda and water – Mix the baking soda and water until it forms a paste, apply it, and let it sit on the spots for about 15 minutes, before scrubbing it away. Rinse and dry with a cloth or towel.
- Polish with baby oil (mineral oil) – Whether you’ve used any of the initial cleaning methods above, you’ll want to apply some oil to a soft cloth and polish the surface, to get a shiny finish. Remember that some appliances have attachments on them like knobs or handles, and these might have the grain moving in a different direction, so you should always be careful. Its also possible to use olive oil, to restore the appeal, just don’t overuse any oil as it could be quite unpleasant to handle.
- Stainless steel cleaners – Another option is to use a commercial cleaner, designed for stainless steel. These cleaners work great for removing stains, small scratches and / or for polishing, but they are likely the most expensive option. Make sure that you read the directions on the cleaner, and test it on a small spot before you cover the appliance’s entire surface with it. Always rinse thoroughly, and dry with a towel.
How To Fix Scratches On Stainless Steel
Removing scratches can be quite difficult, and sometimes there is nothing you could do, if the scratch goes too deep to be completely removed. As stainless steel come in different grades and finishes, you might want to check with the manufacturer of the appliance, to verify what type of stainless steel you are working with, before you start to repair scratches on your appliances.
Like already mentioned, it is possible to clean and remove fine scratches from stainless steel by using a non-abrasive cleaner like Bon Ami, Comet, or other non-abrasive cleaners of this kind, to buff it out. These cleansers come in both a cream and powder form. If you’re using powder form, you’ll need to mix it with water to form a paste, and then apply the paste to the scratch with a sponge or a damp cloth. Make sure that you’re always rubbing in the direction of the grain. Occasionally wipe off the cleaning product to inspect the scratch. If the scratch is still visible, continue to apply the paste or cream and buff the area that is affected until the scratch(es) are no longer visible.
If the scratch remains visible, you could try to remove it by using a mildly abrasive cleanser, such as a whitening toothpaste. Coat the bristles of the toothbrush with the toothpaste, and apply it directly on to the minor scratch(es). Wipe gently, in the direction of the grain, and wipe away the toothpaste with a wet towel or rag and assess the scratch(es). Repeat this cycle until the scratch(es) are no longer visible. If you succeed in removing the scratch, apply oil or polish, and condition the area.
For deeper scratches, we recommend using a wet sandpaper, to sand out any prominent gash. You should check with the manufacturer before you start, to find out which sandpaper that will work the best for that particular steel, as sandpaper come in various grits. Begin with wetting the scratched area with a cloth or sponge saturated with water, and keep the surface wet throughout the process. Move the wet sandpaper lightly on the surface, in the direction of the grain. Work gently around the affected area to try to blend it in. Once you’re satisfied with the removal, wipe the area with a wet rag, -always- in the same direction of the grain. Use a microfiber cloth to dry the area, and once it is dry, apply some oil to condition the treated area.
If your appliance (or sink) has got lots of scratches, there are several scratch removal kits on the market, made specifically for removing deeper scratches or multiple scratches from stainless steel. A scratch removal kit like Scratch B-Gone, comes with everything you need, including instructions that’ll take you through the process of removing scratches, step by step. These kits can be bought at home improvement stores or on Amazon, or other similar online markets.
If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to be working, or you’re in doubt, it might be a good idea to just leave it to the experts and call a professional stainless steel restorer, that can help you remove scratches from your stainless steel appliances.
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