Metal surfaces of appliances, fixtures, cars, and other areas in and around your home are vulnerable to getting scratched every day. However, there are several methods to help polish, restore, and protect your metal surface no matter how scratched or damaged they are.
What are the methods to remove scratches from any metal? The best ways to remove scratches from metal include mild household acids, metal polish, sanding the surface, durable restorative polishes, and micro-abrasive pads. No matter which method you use, always polish in one direction and with the grain of the metal and never in circular patterns. Avoiding a circular pattern while polishing prevents further scratching.
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These scratches can be shallow or deep and hard to remove, but they are all inconvenient. Ugly and unsightly scratches to metal seem like something that you can’t change. Keep reading to learn more about removing scratches from any metal.
What Makes An Excellent Metal Polish?
Metal polish comes in different strengths and forms for various metals. It is essential to consider the type of job that you will be doing on your metal surface before buying metal polish. Taking these critical characteristics of metal polish into consideration will help you to purchase the perfect polish for your metal surface. Then, you can plan on the method you think that you will need to use.
Metal polish is dependent on a thick viscous layer of a wax-like substance called “base” to be applied first before the actual abrasive polish is used. There are both thick and runnier base compounds. The denser compounds are more natural to work with and less messy.
Strength Of The Polish
Metal polish comes in different concentrations. The basic idea is that the worse off that your metal surface is, the healthier you will want the polish to be. Since the metal polish is dissolving away layers of metal, it is essential to note the thickness of the metal being worked on.
After a more durable metal polish is used and the deep scratches have been removed, you can start using mild metal polish. Gentle polish can keep the shine looking good and take away any minor scratches that may form in the future.
Different Polish Jobs
Some of the metal polishes that are out there can be used on other materials, such as rubber or porcelain. This can be useful for some and not useful for others. The different polish jobs that metal polish can accomplish is a preference thing. Usually, the most durable metal polishes are only for metal surfaces.
Protection Of The Metal Surface
Another significant part about polishing the scratches out of the metal surface with metal polish is that the polish leaves behind a protective layer. This layer is built up with the base of the polish and can help to keep dirt and grime off of your metal surface and even protect against small and superficial scratches.
Method #1: Clean, Sand & Polish
One of the most time-intensive ways to remove scratches from metal, such as stainless steel appliances, is to use the sand, clean, and polish method. With this method, you are not only removing the scratches but removing layers of metal. You want to take your time and use as little movement with your sanding and polishing as possible.
Also, the appliance needs to have a surface that you can test this method on first, preferably a surface that is facing the back of the device to see how it responds to the process. If you follow these steps on a test spot and everything looks good, apply the sand, clean, and polish method to the scratches.
If the scratches are shallow, you may be able to simply use a metal polish that can fill in the scratches with the material. In this case, you can go right to the appropriate type of metal polish that your metal needs. The various types of metal polish available to different kinds of metal are organized below in this article.
Step #1: Give The Scratched Area A Good Cleaning
You will want to clean the surface of the metal well before starting to consider sanding. Cleaning the surface of the scratches will reveal the depth of the scratches. Scrub the cleaning solution onto the scratched area with a sponge.
Step #2: Sand The Scratches
Sanding away metal scratches is an extreme measure to take. Still, sometimes you need to bring in the big artillery for dirty jobs. If scratches are sincere, you will need to start with coarse sandpaper and move on to finer sandpaper. Sanding the scratches with rough sandpaper will make the metal look terrible at first. Still, as you use more fine and finer sandpaper, you will notice a more uniform surface. The shininess of the metal will be sanded away. But don’t worry, it will be back by the time we are done!
Step #3: Reduce Sandpaper Until Very Smooth Surface
Continue the process of sanding until the surface is fine and then reduce to finer sandpaper. Do not use pressure as this will cause an indentation in the metal that will be visible.
Step #4: Wipe Down Sanded Area
There are metal cleaners that you can use for this step, but if you are using metal polish, it will be enough to simply wipe down the sanded area where the scratches used to be with a damp cloth. The surface should be very smooth and clean.
Step #5: Polish The Metal Surface
Do not just polish the surface that you have sanded. Use metal polish and apply it to the entire surface of the metal that you are working on. This will give a more uniform look to the metal and a brighter appearance that will shine all over.
Method #2: Vinegar (acid) & Microfiber Cloth
The method of using a household acid like white vinegar and a microfiber cloth should only be used for minor scratches. However, it takes less time to try than other methods. It can work wonders on lightly scratched areas that are superficial, but still annoying and visible in your home.
Step #1: Clean Scratches With Vinegar
Apply white vinegar to the microfiber cloth. In round and round polishing motion, use the microfiber cloth to polish out the scratches.
Step #2: Clean The Surface Of Vinegar
With a clean corner of the microfiber cloth, dip in water and then wipe away the acidic vinegar from the metal surface.
Step #3: Apply Olive Oil or Mineral Oil
For an eco-friendly shine that can be found in your kitchen cabinets, dip the microfiber cloth in olive oil or mineral oil and wipe the oil over the area of metal you are polishing. Make sure to clean the oil in the direction of the metal’s grain. Rubbing the oil in the course of the metal grain should reveal a high shine that highlights the smooth scratch-free surface.
Step #4: Wipe Clean
Using a damp microfiber cloth, wipe the oil layer to a thin film. Wipe in one direction and do not use a circular motion to avoid making scratches.
Step #5: Dry The Surface
Use a dry and clean microfiber cloth to dry the surface of the metal. This will keep a small amount of oil on the surface. But, the cover will not have excess water or oil on it that can cause build-up.
Method #3: Powdered Scratch Remover
For more stubborn scratches that may be slightly deeper in the surface of your metal, you may need a more abrasive cleaning product than household acids. Vinegar and other household acids are suitable for light scratches. But, for medium-deep scratches in the metal, you may need to use a powdered scratch remover. Powders not only use the dissolving power of acid but the abrasive sanding of fine silt.
Step #1: Clean The Surface Of The Scratches With Household Vinegar
The first step is to clean the surface of the metal where the scratch is. Spray household acid, such as white vinegar, onto the surface of the metal. Let the vinegar sit for at least 10 minutes and then wipe clean with a damp cloth. Rub oil onto the surface with the grain so that you have a smooth and clean working surface.
Step #2: Prepare Powdered Scratch Remover
Sprinkle the powdered scratch remover into a clean damp microfiber cloth or directly onto the metal. Add a few drops of water to the mixture to activate it and start to rub the powder into the microfiber cloth until the dust becomes the consistency of paste.
Step #3: Apply The Powdered Scratch Remover
Work the powdered scratch remover into the surface where the scratches are still present. Apply the powdered scratch remover paste in the direction of the metal’s grain. If you do not apply the scratch remover in the course of the metal’s grain, you may end up causing a more significant amount of damage. Continue this step until the scratches appear to be gone.
Step #4: Wipe Clean
After the scratches have been removed with the powdered scratch remover, use a damp cloth and wipe the metal surface clean. Finally, use another dry microfiber cloth to dry the surface of the metal. You should now have a shiny and scratch-free metal surface!
Method #4: Metal Polish For Minor Scratches
Metal polish is a product that can eat away at the metal surface to smooth out the scratches on your metal. Some metal polish is milder than others and can even be used on other surfaces. Using metal polish for minor scratches is listed in the steps below.
Step #1: Clean The Metal Surface
Cleaning the surface of the metal helps to get directly to the metal surface. This is especially important if there is grime or dirt built-up on the surface of the metal. Also, if you have used protectant polish in the past, you want to get rid of this layer. You need direct access to the surface of scratches so that the polish can work to dissolve the metal down to a smooth layer.
Step #2: Apply Polish To A Microfiber Cloth
When you put the metal polish product onto the microfiber cloth that you will be using, it is essential to use a small amount at first and then add more as you go. Put a small dime-sized amount of the polish solution onto the cloth and fold it over. Rub the solution into the microfiber towel. Don’t gob on too much polish in any one area of the metal surface.
Step #3: Apply The Polish To The Metal Surface
Once you have the polish on the microfiber cloth, you can apply it to the scratched area of the metal you are working on. A key thing to remember is that the polish should not be used in a circular or back and forth motion. Instead, use the polish in one direction. Try to apply polish in the course of the metal grain.
Applying polish is very abrasive and dissolves a layer of the metal. For this reason, you want to apply polish in the direction of the metal grain. Don’t leave unwanted scratches or marks that are visible when you are done polishing.
Step #4: Repeat Steps 2 & 3 If Needed
You want to apply the polish with the microfiber cloth, as stated in steps #2 and #3 for as long as you need. Apply the polish in this way until you cannot see the scratches on the surface of the metal anymore.
Step #5: Clean The Metal Surface
Once you have polished the scratches down to a smooth surface and you cannot see scratches anymore, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the excess polish off of the surface of the metal. Again, wipe only in the direction of the metal grain and only in one direction.
Step #6: Dry The Surface
Using a dry microfiber cloth to dry off the surface of the metal, wipe dry in one direction with the grain of the metal. After you are done drying, you should have a shiny and new looking luster to the metal surface you have just polished!
Why Do You Need Metal Polish For Scratches?
Metal polish can help to soften and smooth over areas of metal that have scratches or even pitting. There are a couple of different levels of metal polish for removing scratches, depending on how deep the scratches are and how much work needs to be done on the metal surface. Either you are doing a ‘restorative’ job for robust and deep scratches, or you are doing a ‘polish’ job for lighter scratches and scuffs.
Types Of Metal Polish
If you are polishing the scratches out of brushed nickel surfaces, you will want a different polish than if you plan to polish out scratches from a stainless steel appliance. Take the time to buy the right product for your job. The following list has some of the best metal polish products on the market. You will want to use various types of metal polish for different work areas such as stainless steel appliances, chrome car surfaces, or even metal fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens.
These types of jobs are for polishing deeper and harder. The solution that you find for restorative projects will probably be a lot more abrasive and more durable than your average metal polish. With a restorative metal polish, you are taking off a bit more of the surface of the metal, so be careful not to use too much pressure. However, the restorative metal polish is more durable because it is needed to smooth out deeper scratches on a larger surface area in less time.
If you want to do a smaller job with shallow scratches on a smaller surface area, you will probably want regular metal polish. Metal polish is milder and can be used more consistently. If you use regular metal polish consistently before scratches get bad and sincere, you may never need to use restorative metal polishes.
Metal Polish For Car Surfaces
Car Surfaces include steel, aluminum, even nickel, and especially chrome. There are many different products to use when removing scratches from metal on a car, and most of them can be used on multiple different metals. Some of the best are listed below and include the pros and cons of each.
The Simichrome in a tube is one of the most trusted and strongest metal polishes for restorative jobs that there are. This type of finish is trusted by body shops to restore metal on cars that have not been well taken care of. The ingredients are professional-grade and robust. The polish also leaves behind a robust protective layer. The layer protects against dirt and grime even after it has been wiped clean.
Blue Magic comes in an easy-to-use container. You can dab a rag right in and apply to any metal surface straight from the largemouth container. The Blue Magic ingredients are relatively mild and can be used on a wide range of metals and other materials. This is one of the best metal polish products for bad rust or oxidation of metal surfaces.
This metal polish is a different type of product than the others mentioned above. Instead of being abrasive and dissolving away scratches in the metal, 303 Metal Polish protects metal from getting damaged in the first place! The unique formula creates a protective film over the metal surface and is non-abrasive. You may not be able to remove scratches from metal with this 303 Metal Polish. However, once you get the metal looking good, you can protect it with one of the best metal protectants on the market.
How To Keep Your Metal Scratch Free?
If you have ever had to go through the unsightly view of scratches on metal that is visible in your home, or worked on polishing out scratches using any of the methods in this article, you know that the best way to take care of scratches in metal is to avoid them in the first place. Luckily, there are methods for keeping you metal surfaces scratch-free. All you have to do is follow these easy steps, and your metal will be protected from future scratching.
Tip #1: Wipe With The Grain
Wiping with the grain of the metal you are cleaning is a fundamental way to take care of your metal surfaces. No matter which method of cleaning or polishing that you are doing, you should always wipe in one direction and with the grain of the metal surface that you are working on. Whether you are wiping metal surfaces clean or buffing or polishing, always try to dry in the direction of the metal grain. Back and forth or circular motions can cause a build-up of unsightly circular marks on the metal. Always rub metal surfaces with the grain for the best results.
Tip #2: Protecting Your Stainless Steel Sink
Sometimes it is inevitable that we leave dishes and utensils at the bottom of our stainless steel sink. This can cause marks, scratches, and even rust. A great way to protect your stainless steel sink bottom is to purchase a rubber sink mat. These rubber sink mats have holes in them to let water through to the drain. However, they keep dishes and other items that go in the sink from scratching and damaging the metal surface of the bottom of your stainless steel sink basin. Make sure to remove the mat when done with dishes so that water does not get trapped underneath it.
Tip #3: Do Not Use Abrasive Pads
Abrasive pads such as steel wool and abrasive sponges should not be used on metal surfaces. Instead of buffing out a scratch, you will end up creating more damage and more unsightly scratches to your metal surface. It is better to use cleaning products and microfiber cloths or non-abrasive soft sponges.
Tip #4: Do Not Use Magnets Directly On Metal Surfaces
Appliances like stainless steel refrigerators are gathering places for artwork, photographs, and notes. The traditional way to hold these paper items to the fridge is with magnets. However, when not in use, magnets should be kept elsewhere. Magnets should not be put directly on the surface of metal stainless steel appliances. Putting the magnets on the surface of the metal can cause little scratches over time.
Tip #5: Do Not Rest Pots, Plates, or Utensils On Metal Surfaces
Sometimes we get lazy and don’t want to put away or clean dirty dishes directly after using them. However, resting dirty or wet utensils, plates, and other dishes on the surface of metal surfaces such as stainless steel appliances or countertops can cause scratching. Try to use coverings on metal counters and pot pads when they are resting on ovens and other metal appliances.
Tip #6: Watch Out With Knives!
Knives can cause scratching and cuts in metal surfaces. Always use a cutting board and use caution when cutting with knives around metal surfaces in your kitchen. Blades can cause deep cuts or scratches with continual use. But you could also deeply cut into metal surfaces with one wrong move. Even one cut from a knife can be very damaging to metal. However, you can limit this type of damage with proper cutting techniques and safety.
Whether you have deep scratches that require sanding down many layers of the metal surface or have light scratches that can be buffed out with household acids, don’t worry too much about your metal surface scratching. There are many different methods to use when you have scratches on your metal. Also, there are products to help keep the metal surface protected and shining.
The best thing that you can do for your metal surfaces is to avoid things that scratch them. Clean them frequently with mild polish so that the scratches don’t require restoration. Finally, protect the surface of the metal with products that create a film that can keep dirt and grime and scratches away!