Stainless steel is a superb choice for cookware, kitchen appliances, auto parts, sinks, fixtures, and other items around the house, workplace, and industries. There are several reasons for the popularity of stainless steel. It is durable, has a beautiful modern look, and is great for resisting stains and other damage.
However, your beloved stainless steel isn’t bullet-proof, and it can get scratched. But whereas nicks, dents, and deep grooves would require part replacements or help from stainless steel experts, you’ll actually fix minor scratches on your own.
Alternatively, you can get cheap help from people who offer this service. In this article, I am going to guide you on the best ways to remove scratches from stainless steel.
Stainless Steel Scratches are Normal
Many things are unavoidable. One of them is scratched stainless steel. Obviously, nobody would want to intentionally mar the surface of the stainless steel and leave it scratched. In the course of daily use, your stainless steel electric appliances, countertops, or sink will inevitably suffer the occasional scratch.
Fortunately, an equivalent susceptibility that allowed the scratch to occur also will allow you to remove it through various techniques. The important thing to do is to start out with the gentlest abrasive methods of removings scratches. From there, you can deploy other advanced techniques until the scratch is completely exterminated.
Before you begin to remove scratches…
Ensure that the stainless steel is real
Even though the method of removing the scratches may be correct, the material that is to be worked on may be wrong. This is why you need to ensure that the material is real stainless steel.
But how can you test this?
Real chrome steel is non-magnetic and fingerprints easily. Most of the stainless steel features a brushed finish, with a linear “grain” that runs in a continuous direction.
Concentrate on the orientation of the grain, as all of your cleaning and polishing of the metal must follow that direction. Never work across the grain within the metal when trying to get rid of a scratch.
Clean the stainless steel surface
Before you even focus on the scratches, you should ensure that the stainless steel is clean. This will allow you to quickly identify the scratches and work on them effectively.
Remove the dirt and the oily film that may be covering the surface of the stainless steel. There are various methods of cleaning steel metal, and they vary in terms of convenience. One cheap method is using a vinegar solution.
When cleaning, take note of the direction of the grain so as not to interfere with the scratches o do more damage on the steel metal. You should also rinse the surface using soft material such as a piece of cloth.
How to Clean Light Scratches on the Stainless Steel (Buffing)
There are different degrees of scratches that can happen on stainless steel metal. Let’s start with the light scratches.
With light scratches, you have to be more gentle with your cleaning process so as not to cause further damage.
Step 1: determine the direction of the steel grain
The first thing that you should do when cleaning light scratches is to determine the direction of the grain. Take a close look at the steel to ascertain where the grains are facing.
The grain can either be aligned from side to side that is if it is on a horizontal position or it can be aligned from up to down.
Avoid working against the grain as this can worsen the scratches.
The second step of cleaning light scratches is choosing non-abrasive cleaning agents. These are cleaners that are manufactured to remove the scratch without causing any further damage.
These cleaning solutions achieve this goal by filling in the void or cracks on the scratches, and they include;
-Bar keeper’s friend
-Revere Stainless Steel and Copper Cleaner
Step 2: Mix with water
Quite a good number of cleaning solutions come in powder form. This means that you have to mix them with water to form a thick paste before using it.
Read the instructions on the packaging of the cleaning agent so as to know the right ratios of mixing them.
Stir it vigorously until you have a thick but smooth paste.
Step 3: Apply the paste on the scratch
If the cleaner is in liquid form, pour a few drops on a piece of microfiber cloth then rub it onto a piece of cloth.
Rub the scratch gently along the direction of the grain. Continue rubbing back and forth until the scratch is no longer visible.
Step 4: Wipe the excess cleaning formula and dry the surface
Soak the cloth in water then use it to wipe off the excess cleaning compound from the stainless steel surface. Doing this will leave your steel shiny.
You can use a dry microfiber cloth to get rid of the water droplets that may be remaining on the surface of the steel.
Once the dampness is gone, inspect the cleaned surface o determine whether the scratches are gone or not.
If you are not satisfied with the results, then you will have to repeat the job all over again. A more vigorous measure such as sanding the entire surface can be an option.
Sanding down the stainless steel
Deeper scratches on the stainless steel require more vigorous cleaning methods. One of the most effective methods is sanding. Here are the steps for sanding scratched stainless steel:
Step 1: Choose the right sanding product
There are different sanding products in the market that you can use to get rid of slightly deeper scratches. Some of these products include;
-A 400-600 grit sandpaper
-Course and fine scouring pads
-Scratch removal kit
Step 2: Wet the sanding product
Most sanding scratch removal solutions come with a polishing compound. Apply some droplets of the solution on this sanding pad.
In case you are using sandpaper, soak it in some water for a few minutes. For the scouring pad, with some water.
In all these cases, the fluid will act as a lubricant so that the sanding product can slide over the steel surface more easily.
Step 3: Rub the sandpaper on the steel
Once you have identified the grain of the steel, you can proceed to rub the scratched section in one direction along the direction of the grain).
Apply some pressure on the sour pad or the sandpaper and try to maintain the even strokes while rubbing the surface.
Image of rubbing sandpaper on steel https://makezine.com/2016/05/10/wet-sanding-gives-your-projects-a-scratch-free-finish/
Step 4: Sand the entire steel surface
When using this method, it is advisable to scratch the entire stainless steel surface rather than just the area that is affected by the scratch. This is to maintain uniformity as sanding a small section will make it look different from the rest of the steel.
Continue scratching until the scratch completely disappears. The process will take a few minutes, depending on the area to be worked on.
If you had used course sandpaper or pad, repeat the process this time with finer sandpaper. 600-grit sandpaper is the best choice for the job. This time round uses longer strokes to sand the entire steel surface.
Clean and Polish the Scratched Steel
After you have implemented the above process, spare some moments to ascertain that there are no more scratches left on the surface of the stainless steel.
The next step is to clean and polish the stainless steel so that it regains its pristine looks.
Step 1: Clean to remove dust
You can use a microfiber cloth to do the cleaning. Wipe down the section of the stainless steel that you have just buffed or sanded.
It is important to consider the alignment of the steel grain even when cleaning. So, you should rub the cloth in the same direction as the steel grain.
Step 2: Use vinegar to clean
You can proceed to clean the entire surface of the stainless steel using vinegar. Simply spray vinegar on the surface of the steel then wipe it using a clean piece of microfiber cloth.
The vinegar will get rid of the metal traces that might have accumulated during this scratching process.
Step 3: Polish stainless steel
The final process is to polish the stainless metal that you have cleaned. Simply apply a few drops of oil on a piece of cloth then wipe it over the surface of the steel.
Again, do not ignore the direction of the grain when polishing.
Use as much oil as possible until you are completely satisfied with the new look of the stainless steel.
I hope that you have gained adequate information regarding how to take care of scratched stainless steel.
Once you have removed the scratches, strive as much as possible to avoid the problem repeating itself in the future.
In case you have any queries with regards to stainless steel, talk to stainless steel experts such as Roche Industry, and we will be glad to help you.