How To Get Scratches Out Of Stainless Steel

Stainless steel has a history of use in both home and commercial kitchens. Other than its elegant appearance, stainless steel has several advantages, including its strength, bacteria resistance, and longevity. 

How To Get Scratches Out Of Stainless Steel

Many stainless steel customers educate themselves on keeping their appliances free from streaks with the correct cleaners and cleaning methods. 

However, during this process, they may also find that stainless steel develops scratches over time. This may be the result of rough cleaning techniques, hard water minerals, or various metals damaging the surface.

Fortunately, you can use some supplies to buff away some stainless steel scratches, restoring it to its original shiny surface. 

You’ll learn how to do so in this post, including how to remove light and deep scratches from stainless steel, as well as things you can do to prevent scratches on your stainless steel appliances. 

When To Take Action Against Stainless Steel Scratches

If you notice any scratches on stainless steel, they should be treated as quickly as possible. 

This will help prevent the scratches from getting worse and affecting your appliance’s appearance. Stainless steel resists rust well, but it can change color if bacteria or dirt accumulates in the abrasions. 

We recommend checking your stainless steel appliances and surfaces every week after your cleaning routine. 

Before You Start

Stainless steel gadgets usually come in brushed, shiny, black-painted, or matte finishes. Always look at the manufacturer’s manual before trying to buff out scratches, as they may have different recommendations to prevent damage. 

The advice below should only be used on stainless steel that doesn’t have a defensive clear coat or artificial surface finish.

If your stainless steel item has a synthetic or protective finish, you can find commercial polishes that are designed for these coatings. These will help hide scratches and deliver interim coverage, which can be reapplied every time you clean the item.

Things You’ll Need 

Things You’ll Need 

Here are the supplies you’ll need to remove scratches from stainless steel. 


  • One spray bottle
  • Two to three microfiber cloths
  • One sanding block


  • A box of baking soda
  • A tube of toothpaste (non-gel)
  • One 400 fine grit sandpaper
  • A container of Bon Ami or Bar Keepers Friend
  • A bottle of white distilled vinegar
  • A bottle of dish soap
  • A bottle of vegetable oil, mineral oil, or olive oil
  • Water

How To Remove Stainless Steel Scratches: Fine Abrasions

How To Remove Stainless Steel Scratches: Fine Abrasions

Step One: Cleaning 

Scratches that need treating will show up easily on a cleaner surface, so begin by cleaning the stainless steel gadget’s surface. 

Use a warm water and dish soap solution or a commercial product to remove any dirt or grease. 

Step Two: Locate The Grain

Every stainless steel surface, no matter what finish it is, has a grain. It will either run sideways or vertically on the item. 

It’s important to identify the grain and run along it as you treat the scratches. If you go against the grain, it will lead to noticeable, irreversible, damage. 

Step Three: Select A Buffing Mixture

There are lots of stainless steel abrasion removers that you can buy. You can choose one of these commercial products from the store, or make a mild abrasive DIY paste at home. 

To do this, mix several drops of water with either baking soda, non-gel toothpaste, Bon Ami, or Bar Keepers Friend. 

Step Four: Using The Paste

Dampen a microfiber, lint-free, clean cloth with water, then dip it into your buffing paste. Going with the stainless steel’s grain, apply the mixture to the scratch. 

Use light, even pressure in straight strokes across the grain. Do not rub the product in circular motions or against the stainless steel’s grain. 

If you are using a commercial product, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.  

Step Five: Wipe Clean

Dip a clean microfiber cloth in clean water, then use it to wipe the paste away. Spray the stainless steel with white distilled vinegar, then wipe once more with a clean cloth. This will help remove any residual paste traces. 

Step Six: Polishing

To restore the steel’s shine, add a few drops of mineral, vegetable, or olive oil on a clean microfiber cloth. Use the dampened cloth to polish the stainless steel’s surface. 

Apply this along the grain, buffing the surface evenly and efficiently. 

How To Remove Stainless Steel Scratches: Deep Abrasions

How To Remove Stainless Steel Scratches: Deep Abrasions

Use the tips for eliminating light scratches from stainless steel before you try these stronger techniques. A homemade paste or commercial compound may be all that’s necessary. 

Step One: Cleaning

Make sure that your stainless steel appliance’s surface is clean and grease free before removing the scratches.

Step Two: Sandpaper

Only use fine-grit 400 sandpaper that’s been submerged in water for several minutes. Cover a sanding block with the sandpaper, as this applies even pressure across the metal’s surface. 

Follow the stainless steel’s grain and only use a gentle touch. Do not rub in a circular motion or go against the grain. 

Step Three: Cleaning And Polishing

After you’ve treated the deep scratch, use a damp microfiber cloth and vinegar to remove any residual grime. 

Next, restore the steel’s surface with an oil-dampened cloth. Follow the steel’s grain and use gentle, yet even pressure. 

How To Avoid Stainless Steel Scratches

Now that you know how to remove stainless steel scratches, both light and deep, here are some tips to help prevent stainless steel scratches from occurring. 

  • Always use a cutting board when slicing vegetables and fruit. This will create a barrier between your stainless steel counters or stovetops, preventing damage from occurring.
  • Do not clean stainless steel with harsh cleaners. These include scrubbing pads, chlorine bleach, scouring powders, and ammonia.
  • If you live in a hard water environment, install a water-softening system into your home’s plumbing.
  • Always clean your stainless steel with the grain, never against it. 

The Bottom Line

Stainless steel scratches can occur as a result of everyday tasks, but in most cases, these can be removed. 

You can use a homemade paste or a commercial cleaner to buff out these scratches, but remember to identify the steel’s grain before doing so. 

Going against the grain or applying the paste in circular motions can permanently damage the appliance’s appearance, so always remember to go with the grain.  

Luke Powell
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