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Repair brushed stainless finish


I have a brushed stainless steel refrigerator that had some scratches across the grain of the finish. I used Scotchbrite gray pads, gently rubbing with the grain to remove the scratches. The deepest scratch took a fair amount of time to remove. All seemed well with the repair until my wife cleaned the surface with the cleaner that came with the fridge. Now the area that has been repaired is visible as a darker finish than the rest of the face. I have tried cleaning with soap and water, and glass cleaner with no luck. Any ideas on how to remove the visible dark spot? Thanks in advance for any tips / ideas.

Tony Jacob
- Niagara Falls, New York

Ed. note: Please also see our FAQ, "Repairing scratches in stainless steel refrigerator doors".

June 26, 2009

I nearly ruined a very expensive sink in my apartment by using one of those green/yellow dish sponges which I thought were just abrasive plastic, but as it turns out, they must have had steel in the green part. (maybe this is obvious to people who clean a lot)

Anyway, as one user pointed out, the brushed look comes from scratches going in a particular direction. To polish it just use something such as the sponge I mentioned, to scratch in the direction of the polish. I would bet that you could use wire brush or steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler]. For my sink, all scratches were horizontal so I simply applied a bit of pressure and moved the sponge back and forth horizontally several times in the same direction as the polishing while looking at it under a directional light that made the dull areas more obvious. Sure enough, the scratches slowly went away. When I was nearly finished, it looked a bit different than the rest of the sink so I blended it with those areas by pressing even more lightly. Kind of a perfectionist.

The area had looked a dark grey compared to the rest of the sink and now you can no longer tell. I'd start with a sponge like this and then move to harsher techniques like steel wool or a steel brush. Anyway, the idea is to just redo the brushed look. Brushed steel isn't exactly polished like a mirror and is actually scratched to a particular grain. The sponge seemed to replicate that nicely.

Enrico Fermi
- Kansas City, Missouri, USA

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