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How to remove scratches from stainless steel refrigerator doors?


Q. I recently, and accidentally, scratched someone's new Kitchen Aid double door refrigerator door. I cannot find anyone in Sacramento that does refinishing of such a problem and am afraid to take on the task myself, nor do I know how. Any suggestions? My friend's son rubbed most of the swirl scratches off with Brasso [affil link], and there remains a little more, plus a sideways scratch above the water dispenser. Short of buying her a new refrigerator, which she wants, what can I do to rectify this problem? Is there anyplace I can contact who has refinishers of this trade?

Thank you,

Holly Hamilton
- Sacramento, California

finishes for stainless steel

A. The first step is to determine what type of finish was used on the door. Rolled finishes are used on this type of product because they are the simplest to produce and lowest in cost. They are nondirectional and as such cannot be blended or repaired. If the product design calls for the removal of welds and the finish blended then a rolled finish is not used and this finish may be repaired using polishing methods since this is how the original finish was created. Look for a weld; it is a good place to start. The Nickel Development Institute has a web site [nickelinstitute.org] and a handbook #9012 with enough information to make you an expert on stainless steel finishes.

Michael C. Butler
restaurant equipment - West Palm Beach, Florida


Q. The Nickel Development Institute info is good to know. I have not checked it out yet, but my problem is with a high polish stainless steel Kenmore range. In my ignorance, I tried to rub out a scratch with a Brillo pad. No major damage, but I still have scratches I would like to eliminate. The SS cream cleaner that came with the range has not helped.

Looking forward to comments and will check out the website.

Thanks, Millie

Millie Woods
- Alto, New Mexico

May 1, 2008

Q. Hello! I am a mother of two small children who have scratched my stainless refrigerator doors beyond repair. Needless to say, I am in the market for a new Stainless Steel refrigerator and I was wondering if there is a certain type or brand I should invest in that is possibly more resistant to scratches and dents. Or are they all the same?

Allison Franklin
Consumer - New Braunfels, Texas

May 6, 2008

Hi Allison, sorry to hear of your frustration. Why do you think your appliance is beyond repair. Yes, dents and dings are permanent at this time but if we're talking scratches then I introduce you to Scratch-B-Gone --

Our industry-accepted kit has helped owners like yourself work wonders with removing and refinishing Stainless surfaces to almost new. Please look to www.barrysrestoreitall.com for more information and ideas before giving up.

Yes there are products offered with protective coatings but these are not without their problems either and once these are scratches, they are scratched forever. Hoped this helped.

Barry Feinman
Barry Feinman
supporting advertiser
Carlsbad, California

November 25, 2008

thumbsdownIt appears that the stainless steel finish on my GE Profile side by side refrigerator is not stainless steel. That's right! I found out that is a plastic covered metal with an aluminum type finish and coated with varnish.
How did I find out? I scrubbed a stain off of my fridge and it lightened the stainless steel so I had to scrub off ALL of the stainless to make it the same color stainless. When I got to the sides, I scrubbed a corner piece and suddenly there was white. White? that's not stainless steel! it looked like plastic. I took a knife and peeled it off to the sheet metal below. The plastic is 1/16 inch. I am devastated. Stainless steel fridges are an illusion, at least as far as GE is concerned. What do you think?

Mitchel Eisenstein
- Stony Brook

December 3, 2008

A. Sadly you had a bad deal with this one. Actually Stainless Steel is the 'real' deal. It is just that the particular model you purchased and own is what GE calls 'Clean Steel'. This is their offering of a finger print, lower cleaning maintenance product and as you found out it is a series of coatings over a steel frame, thus it is magnetic. Unfortunately this was a costly lesson. Have a great Holiday anyway.

Barry Feinman
Barry Feinman
supporting advertiser
Carlsbad, California

December 4, 2008

Hi, Mitchel. If it is plain steel masquerading as stainless to mislead and trick you, and as a result it proved unfit for the purpose (as it did), you should be compensated. Please hunt for a class action suit. You won't get much money out of it, but such suits do teach manufacturers to think twice about trying to fool buyers.

When someone tries to mislead you about what they are selling you, they are cheating you -- and it is the perpetrator of deceit, not the victims, who should be taught "a costly lesson".


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

February 25, 2009

Q. I have terrible scratches on my GE clean steel refrigerator. Is there anything I can use to remove them, or least make them less obvious?

Colleen Benowitz
- East Brunswick, New Jersey

September 16, 2009

A. You can easily buy replacement parts rather than a whole refrigerator. The contractor redoing accidentally scratched our brand new ss french door refrigerator ($2500). To replace one door cost $125.

Much more cost effective IF the scratches can't be repaired.

John Smith
- Hoover, Alabama

October 26, 2009

Q. On September 16, 2009 John S from Hoover Alabama wrote that he replaced the stainless steel door of his GE French door fridge for $125. Where did he find this? I cannot find it for less that $600. A contractor dented and scratched mine.

Lois Weber
- Chicago, Illinois

February 10, 2009

! Just a thought. I have 2 not-so-small children and my fridge is always getting smudged or scratched a bit. Why with two small children would you put yourself through it again by buying another one? I think they sell coverings you can put over at least until your kids are grown and you decide if you want another stainless steel fridge. I would never buy another one.

Carol Roth
- Schaumburg, Illinois

September 28, 2009

Q. Will Scratch-Be-Gone work on a small scratch on a CleanSteel refrigerator?

Nancy Harrison
- Casa Grande, Arizona

September 28, 2009

A. Hi, Nancy. Sorry that you apparently misunderstood, but Barry Feinman, the developer of Scratch-B-Gone, said it won't. These are not stainless steel, they are just painted to look like stainless steel.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

November 6, 2010

Q. Will Scratch-Be-Gone work on my GE profile stainless steel fridge? It has a shinier finish to it?


Ragan Dickson
Homeowner - Wentzville, Missouri

September 13, 2011

Q. I purchased a GE Profile side by side a few years ago. All of a sudden the finish is all splotchy and the streaks where the kids spill the water on the left door no longer are removed by any stainless cleaner. How can this be repaired? It looks so bad it's embarrassing when I have company over. It's very frustrating since I paid $2,000 and Sears will not do anything for me.

Maria Ingrando
buyer - Everett, Massachusetts

Tilex Shower Cleaner

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January 4, 2012

A. I have removed water stains from stainless steel by spraying it with Tilex Fresh Shower Daily Shower Cleaner and letting it sit for a day. Then re-clean it with the same stuff the next day. Repeat if necessary. The EDTA in the cleaner will eat away the mineral deposits, which is the problem, without damaging the steel. I think most any brand of daily shower cleaner will work but this is what I used (I like the smell).

John Janovyak
- Cleveland, Ohio, USA

November 30, 2013

Q. I have an Electrolux Icon side by side refrigerator/freezer that has large areas that look like peeling or broad patches that have been abraded or scratched on the non-metallic stainless steel doors. this was most likely from cleaning people using an inappropriate scrubbing sponge. There are no deep linear scratches.
The Electrolux web site says the doors are 201-grade stainless steel.
Any suggestions for a remedy?

Caroline CONNOR
- Cardiff, California, USA

Finish stripped off brushed stainless steel refrigerator

March 22, 2018

Q. I accidentally dripped Goof Off [affil link] down the front of my refrigerator. It looks like it took the finish off on two long strips from handles to bottom. Any way to repair?

Michele Mitchell
- Caledonia, Michigan, USA

March 2018

Hi Michele, if you can tell us the make/model of the refrigerator, although it might not help, it's just possible that some reader will be familiar with what the problem actually is -- staining of real stainless (directional or non-directional finish), stripping of a stainless steel colored paint, etc.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 28, 2018

A. Nor is "Goof Off" just one product, but a brand that encompasses several products. Which one is the culprit here?

ray kremer
Ray Kremer
Stellar Solutions, Inc.
supporting advertiser
McHenry, Illinois
stellar solutions banner

March 2018

thumbs up sign  Excellent point, Ray. Unfortunately, as soon as a brand name / trade name starts being recognized and thus have some marketing value, the manufacturers slap it on everything they make :-)
To my limited knowledge, Goof Off started as a "gunk remover", but now we have Goof Off concrete cleaner, toilet bowl tablets, rust stain remover, glue remover, hand cleaner ... and that's just from the first of 11 pages :-)


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

January 27, 2019

Q. Have a KitchenAid stainless steel refrigerator Superba model 2004776 that may be original (year 2000) with scratches and splotch marks that we can't figure out how to get rid of. We've tried toothpaste and basic cleaners but have been afraid of trying anything more aggressive for fear of making it worse. Not sure what type of finish this has since it's so old but need it to look its best to sell house!

21724-3b   21724-3a  

Julie Pitcher
- Dallas, Texas

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