How to Remove Scratches From a Stainless Steel Sink (5 Step Guide)

Last Updated On June 11, 2024

Updated on February 9, 2022



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how to remove scratches from stainless steel sink (1)

Do you have noticeable scratch marks on your stainless steel sink? Stainless steel holds up very well against regular usage, making it one of the most popular sink materials.

However, some stainless steel sinks may eventually show both major and minor scratches. 

You don’t need to replace your sink quite yet. Depending on your sink and how deep they are, you may be able to remove scratches from a stainless steel sink with these tips. 

In this PlumbingNav guide, we cover:

  • Tips on removing a minor or major scratch from stainless steel sinks 
  • Supplies you’ll need to remove scratches from a stainless steel sink
  • How to remove scratches from a stainless steel sink the safe way

What's In This Guide?

      What You Need To Know About How to Remove Scratches From Stainless Steel Sink

      Many of us have a stainless steel sink to match another stainless steel appliance in the kitchen. 

      A stainless steel finish looks great and lasts a significantly long time. However, things can happen with use. As time passes by, you may notice that your stainless steel sink experienced damage and now has scratch marks. 

      You can remove a stainless steel scratch in a variety of situations as long as it’s not an especially deep scratch. 

      Minor scratches on a stainless steel surface are much easier to remove than severe scratches. 

      Want to prevent scratches before they happen? Read our review of the best sink protectors to protect your sink in an easy, inexpensive way. 

      Supplies You’ll Need to Remove Scratches From a Stainless Steel Sink

      Fixing stainless steel doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you have the right tools and cleaning product on hand. Here are some of the methods commonly used to remove a scratch mark from a stainless steel sink. We are going to discuss using simple products you may have on hand. Also, you can find complete kits on Amazon that are rated as safe to use on stainless steel sinks, including appliances. 

      Here is an overview of what you might already have on hand in terms of supplies.

      Non-abrasive Cleansers

      Non-abrasive cleaners offer a low strength variation from strong abrasive cleaners that contain harsh chemicals. 

      Non-abrasive cleaners will be more gentle on the stainless steel material, ensuring that you don’t damage your sink while trying to clean it.

      You can find non-abrasive cleaners in both powder and liquid forms. Look for those specifically made for stainless steel.

      You can also find cleaners that also double as a scratch remover specifically designed to remove minor scratches from stainless steel. 

      You’ll use a lint-free cloth or microfiber cloth to apply the cleanser. 

      Whitening Toothpaste

      Whitening toothpaste is mildly abrasive, giving you a bit more cleaning power than non-abrasive cleaners. You can sometimes scuff out a light scratch, and it’s easy to try as most people will already have this on hand. We offer this suggestion as a cheap or “on-hand” alternative.

      You can use a damp cloth and elbow grease.

      did you know how to remove scratches from stainless steel sink

      Sandpaper, Sanding Pad, or Scuff Pad

      You will need to generate friction in addition to using a cleaner. Some people recommend using sandpaper on stainless steel sinks, however, you need to be careful doing this. Do not use a coarse product, or you may generate more scratches than you began with.

      To remove deep scratches from a stainless steel sink, you may want to use a sanding pad or sanding block. These are often used as the last step in sanding, or for polishing.

      You can also use a scuff pad. Make sure you use a fine rating and test it in a small area first. Here is a pad often used for paint prep and fiberglass, and is likely safe to use.

      To remove the scratch, you will literally move it across the scratched area until you can’t notice the scratch anymore. Make broad strokes across the entire area, don’t just focus on the scratch mark.

      Stainless Steel Polish 

      Once the scratches are gone, you need to use stainless steel polish to restore the original appearance of the stainless steel material. 

      If you don’t have stainless steel polish, you can use olive oil to get similar results. This can take extra elbow grease to remove all of it, tho!

      *There are some items you shouldn’t use on stainless steel. Don’t use steel wool, and also avoid using a paper towel for regular cleaning.

      Need to Buy Supplies?

      Here is an Amazon “quick reference” supplies list for removing scratches from your stainless steel sink:

      1. Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish
      2. Fine Scrub Pads
      3. Soft Towels
      4. Complete “All in One” Kit

      Once you have the proper supplies ready, you can remove the scratches from your stainless steel sink using these steps.

      How To Remove Scratches From a Stainless Steel Sink (3 Steps)

      Here is a demonstration video to help:

      Step 1: Prep Sink and Apply Non-Abrasive Cleaner

      Start by prepping your sink. 

      Remove everything from the sink and around the sink until you have complete access to the entire area, including the bottom of the sink. Make sure you have good light to illuminate the entire surface so you can see what you’re working with.

      Clean any water spots and rust stains so that you’re working with a clean surface. This will help you see all of the marks and prepare for scratch removal.

      Put a small amount of stainless sink cleaner on a slightly dampened lint-free cloth. Wash the small scratch with the soft cloth in a motion that goes with the grain

      After you clean the scratch, wipe the residue away with a damp cloth using clean water to inspect your progress. 

      Repeat as necessary until you stop seeing progress. 

      You can also try whitening toothpaste to see if this takes care of the fine scratches before moving to the next step.

      Step 2: “Rub” Stainless Steel Sink Using Fine Sandpaper or a Scratch Pad

      Start with a sanding pad or scratch pad with a fine grain. Make sure you go with the grain on the sink and make long, sweeping movements. Don’t just focus on the immediate area with scratches. After a minute or two, examine the results. 

      You can ramp up your progress by slowly increasing the grit of the sandpaper on deeper scratches, but be careful not to sand so rigorously that you damage the sink. 

      Be very careful if you’re working on a deeper scratch and you choose to use a more abrasive pad. Coarse sandpaper can strip an entire bathtub, and you don’t want to sand your sink down to that point. 

      Step 3: Finish Up with Stainless Steel Polish

      Complete your work with stainless steel polish. You can also try olive oil.

      Only use a light coat of oil as too much can create drips and additional inconsistencies in the stainless steel material if you don’t clean it all off.

      Now, all you need to do is keep up with regular stainless steel maintenance. For a guide on how to keep your stainless steel sink looking its best, see the following video:

      How to maintain your stainless steel sink-

      Have a larger sink restoration project? Read our guide on whether a kitchen sink can be refinished.

      FAQs For How to Remove Scratches From Stainless Steel

      Can you get scratches out of stainless steel?

      You can get scratches out of stainless steel, but light scratches are easier to remove than deep scratches. 

      How do you remove scratches from a Kohler stainless steel sink?

      To remove scratches from a Kohler stainless steel kitchen sink, try the three methods in order, stopping when you achieve the desired results:

      • Non-abrasive cleaner and lint-free cloth
      • Whitening toothpaste
      • Wet sandpaper or scratch pad (fine grit ratings)

      Does toothpaste really remove scratches from stainless steel?

      Believe it or not, whitening toothpaste removes scratches from stainless steel more effectively than non-abrasive cleaners thanks to its abrasive properties. However, it’s still gentle enough for you to use it on stainless steel. 

      Can baking soda remove scratches from stainless steel?

      You have the option to use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to clean your stainless steel, but proceed with caution as the solution can be abrasive.  

      Does WD 40 remove scratches from stainless steel?

      WD 40 may not remove scratches, but it will clean the material effectively while also preventing stains in the future. 

      What Is Stainless Steel Made From?

      Stainless steel consists of primarily iron. Manufacturers add one or more additional substances in order to reduce the corrosivity of the iron. 

      The most common elements added to stainless steel include:

      • Chromium
      • Manganese
      • Nickel
      • Lead

      Over 180 alloy compositions fall under the category of “stainless steel.” 

      To be considered stainless steel, the material must contain at least 4% chromium. Some stainless steel modifications have as much as 30% chromium. 

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      About Plumbing Navigator

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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