How to Remove Scratches From Stainless Steel Appliances
Ideas and Advice

How to Remove Scratches From Stainless Steel Appliances

Stainless steel appliances are truly amazing. They're naturally resistant to stains and fingerprints, making them great options for high-use appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers. However, stainless steel can be scratched, and these scratches can be unsightly and introduce rust to otherwise corrosion-resistant surfaces. The experts at Appliances Connection have created this post as a resource for how to remove scratches from stainless steel appliances.

Step 1: Make Sure The Surface Is Stainless Steel

Not all stainless steel is created equal. In fact, many appliances are simply clear coated or simulated, and the first step in repairing any stainless steel appliance is to ensure that the material you're repairing is, in fact, stainless steel.

The first test is the magnet test. To do this, take an ordinary refrigerator magnet and see whether it will stick to the surface that's been scratched. If it sticks firmly, it's a good sign that you have genuine stainless steel on your hands. If it doesn't, it may be aluminum or some other material.

Stainless Steel Surface

There's one more test you can do if you're unsure whether a surface is stainless steel. This one requires:

  • Muriatic Acid
  • An Eyedropper
  • Gloves

Find a spot on the appliance that you don't mind discoloring, and use the eyedropper to drip a small amount of muriatic acid onto it. Wait half an hour, then wipe it down and take a look. If the metal has discolored, you have stainless steel on your hands and you can continue.

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies

The supplies you'll need to remove scratches from stainless steel appliances vary. For fine scratches, you'll need:

Bar Keepers Friend

A non-abrasive stainless steel scratch remover such as Bar Keepers Friend.

Microfiber Cloth

Several microfiber cloths to buff the area.

Baking Soda

You can also try a non-gel toothpaste or a mixture of baking soda and water instead of the scratch remover.

For deeper scratches, you may need more abrasive materials as well, including:

Scouring Pad

A scouring pad or scrubbing sponge.


Wet sandpaper (both coarse and fine grit).

 Olive Oil

Cooking oil (olive oil works especially well here).

Note that these materials should not be used on clear coated stainless steel; if you do, you'll only make the problem worse.

Step 3: Remove The Scratches

For minor scratches, apply your chosen cleanser to the site and gently buff it with the microfiber cloths. Always buff in the direction of the stainless steel's grain. Let it sit for a few minutes, then use a fresh cloth to wipe off the cleanser. Repeat the process as much as needed until the metal is fully restored.

Cleaning Stainless Steel

For larger scratches, you need a more aggressive approach. Apply a few drops of oil or cleanser to the coarse grit sandpaper or scouring pad, and firmly buff in the direction of the grain. Switch to less abrasive material as you progress further. You don't want to rub too hard, but it's important to use firm, consistent pressure. Then wipe the surface down with your microfiber cloth to get rid of the excess fluid.

Related Questions

Can baking soda remove scratches from stainless steel?

If you make a thick paste of baking soda and water, you can use that as a mild abrasive. This only works on minor scratches, however: for deeper scratches, you'll need to utilize the more heavy-duty materials such as cooking oil and dedicated stainless steel repair kits.

Does toothpaste remove scratches from stainless steel?

Toothpaste can be used as an abrasive to remove scratches from stainless steel. Be certain you are using a non-gel toothpaste, however, and ensure that you have materials that can thoroughly clean the toothpaste from your stainless steel surface after you're done. You may have better results with a dedicated scratch remover or a paste of baking soda and water.