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Removing Scratches From Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an important component of the restaurant and service industries. Stainless steel looks great and wares well, but it does get scratches over time. So today we're going to talk about how to remove those scratches from stainless steel. First it's important to be sure that you actually have stainless steel, because there are a number of stainless steel look-a-likes out there that you cannot refinish. For example you might have an appliance with a thin veneer over steel or you might have galvanized which is a coating over steel. If you try to refinish these it will damage that coating or veneer and look much worse than before. If you still have questions, start with an inconspicuous area first before going on to the rest of the surface.

Now lets take a look at the materials we'll use to refinish this stainless steel. We'll use these Scotch Bright pads from 3M. Start with the maroon pad; Scotch Bright calls this very fine. Then we'll move on to the gray pad, what they call ultra fine. We'll finish with the white pad this is for final polishing and cleaning. As with any sanding or polishing it's helpful to use a block behind the pads because this gives us a nice consistent surface against the stainless steel and it will also give us something to hold on to. Now it's time to get to work. If you look at this table you can see there are natural lines in the stainless, this is called grain or texture. We're going to work along with those lines as we rub with our pads. So we will start with coarsest pad we're going to use, this maroon pad, and then take strokes the whole length of the table. Resist the urge to move back and forth, just take one long stroke. Don't reverse your stroke in the middle of the table; go all the way to the end. It's very important that you work along with those grain lines otherwise you'll add new scratches. We're actually re-cutting the surface of this table as we work here. We can get out lighter scratches but we will not be able to remove the deepest scratches. We can, however, make it look a lot better. After we've worked out all the scratches we can with the maroon pad, we'll move on to this gray pad and we'll do the same thing, nice long strokes. Take your time and work carefully.

You can see the side we've worked on looks a lot better than the side where we haven't worked. But notice that some of the deeper scratches are still visible, the longer you work the more of those deeper scratches you can get out. There are some though that are so deep that it's very difficult to remove. Also notice that the new area looks different from the original surface this is just going to happen. So when you resurface a table or a cooler door or whatever the case may be, you will have to do the whole surface. You can't just work on part of a surface, otherwise you'll be able to tell the old and the new.

With a little elbow grease and some time you can get your stainless shining up again. Thanks for watching.