How to Remove Scratches from Stainless Steel Appliances

by Pete Lader March 25, 2022

Source: Opat Suvi/Shutterstock.com

Stainless steel isn’t just an excellent way to give your kitchen appliances a sleek, modern look with a professional feel; it is also a durable material that can last a lifetime free of rust and corrosion. Despite their durability, stainless steel surfaces are prone to scratching, scuffing and other superficial wear and tear, degrading your appliances’ appearance and visual appeal. Learn how to remove scratches and scuffs from your stainless steel appliances, restoring them to a factory-new appearance and rejuvenating the look and feel of your kitchen.

Necessary Equipment

Here is a list of tools you’ll need to remove scratches of all sizes from your stainless steel kitchen appliances:

  • Lint-free microfiber cloths
  • Wet/Dry sandpaper: one coarse (200- to 300-grit) and one fine (400- to 500-grit)
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush 
  • Whitening toothpaste
  • Polish for stainless steel surfaces
  • Liquid, non-abrasive commercial cleaner
  • Sanding block

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You’ll also need to know how to recognize and follow the direction of your stainless steel’s grain. All stainless steel surfaces possess a unique grain, similar to wood grain: a set of tiny streaks that you can find by closely observing your surface. Knowing how to find and follow steel grain is critical for successfully removing most scratches.

 stainless steel texture

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How to Remove Fine Scratches

If you find light scratches on your stainless steel Thor appliances or other kitchen appliances, here are two methods you can try to remove them and restore a clean, new look.

Method 1: Liquid cleaner

  1. Dampen one of your microfiber cloths with a small quantity of liquid cleaner.
  2. Rub the dampened part of your microfiber cloth over the scratch. Make even, back-and-forth motions, following the steel’s grain direction. 
  3. Dampen another microfiber cloth with water and wipe the stainless steel surface to remove excess cleaner.
  4. Observe the surface and check if the scratch is gone. Repeat until satisfied with all the fine scratches on the surface.
  5. After cleaning all the scratches, apply a small amount of stainless steel polish on a microfiber cloth (about the size of a dime) and wipe your stainless steel surface, ensuring you follow the grain direction.
  6. To finish, wipe the surface with a clean, dry cloth.

Method 2: Toothpaste method

If the non-abrasive liquid cleaner doesn’t work, you can try the toothpaste method instead.

  1. Apply whitening toothpaste to your soft-bristled toothbrush.
  2. Brush over the scratch with quick back-and-forth motions following the grain direction. Ensure you do not apply excessive pressure and repeat for all scratches on the surface.
  3. Wipe the surface with a clean, dry microfiber cloth and check the surface to ensure the scratches are gone.
  4. After removing all the scratches, apply stainless steel polish and wipe the surface.

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 polishing sandpaper

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How to Remove Deeper Scratches

If you find deeper scratches in your stainless steel ZLINE appliances or any other stainless steel surface in your kitchen, the liquid cleaner and toothpaste methods may be insufficient to restore a like-new appearance. The best solution is to sand the surface until the scratches are gone. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Start with the finest sandpaper at your disposal (400- to 500-grit) and wet it.
  2. Dampen the microfiber cloth with water and wipe the entire surface down. 
  3. Sand the scratches down with your sandpaper for one to two minutes, applying light pressure and even back-and-forth motions. Always follow the steel grain and re-wet your sandpaper and surface as necessary.
  4. Stop and check the scratches. If you notice improvements, repeat step 3 until the scratch is gone. Otherwise, switch to coarser sandpaper and repeat step 3.
  5. After sanding down all scratches, switch back to fine sandpaper and buff your surface around the scratched areas until they blend back with the rest of your surface’s finish.
  6. Dampen a fresh microfiber cloth in water and wipe it in the steel grain’s direction.
  7. Use a soft towel to dry the stainless steel surface.
  8. Apply stainless steel polish and wipe the surface. 

Protecting Your Appliances from Scratches

Scuffs, scratches and unsightly marks on stainless steel surfaces can result from improper care and cleaning techniques. Here are a few common causes and how to prevent them.

  • Avoid using overly abrasive tools when cleaning your stainless steel surfaces. Microfiber cloths are a better alternative to brushes, abrasive sponges or steel wool.
  • Bleach and cleaning products containing bleach can attack your stainless steel surfaces, dulling them and ruining the finish. 
  • Learn how to clean an oven, a range and other stainless steel appliances before dirt, dust and cooking grime can stain or scratch your surfaces.
  • Avoid cleaning your appliances using hard water. The minerals in hard water (calcium, magnesium) can leave stains, scratches and unsightly streaks on your stainless steel surfaces.

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Take advantage of our team’s 75 years of combined experience in the kitchen and home appliance industries, browse our selection of appliances made by the world’s top manufacturers and outfit your kitchen with the most durable, reliable and easiest to maintain equipment.

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