How to Remove Scratch Marks from Stainless Steel


Ellen asked: How do I remove scratch marks from my stainless steel pans?

Stainless steel is a common material found all over our modern kitchens. Though very durable, the surfaces can easily become scarred with minor scratches. On shiny stainless steel such as most pots and pans are made of, these will need to be professionally buffed out. But for brushed steel surfaces, it can often be fixed quickly and easily at home.

You Will Need:

  • Scotchbrite pads (in varying levels of abrasiveness)
  • Water
  • Soft cloth
  • Stainless steel lubricant (Ex: 3M liquid compound)
  • Vinegar

Steps to Remove the Scratches:

  1. Choose a Scotchbrite pad that matches the depth of the scratch.
  2. Rub the pad over the stainless steel following the grain of the steel. This is a very important part of successfully removing the scratches. If you rub against the grain, it will produce more scratches and a visible “spot” on the metal.
  3. Once the scratch is removed, buff the area with a soft cloth.
  4. If needed, apply a stainless steel cleaner or lubricant to aid in the removal.
  5. To remove the oily residue, clean the surface with vinegar.
  6. Rinse with water and dry with a soft cloth.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Avoid using abrasive cloths or sponges on stainless steel. They can quickly damage the surface and leave unwanted marks.


  1. I tried using Bar Keepers Friend for scratches on my stainless steel refrigerator, and it made it look worse. I also worked with the grain, so I don’t know what the problem is. I’ve called several appliance stores, and of course, they don’t really know what to do. They only recommend stainless steel polishes, which don’t work. Advice?

  2. The scratches I could live with – it’s the burn stains that get me down. They are on the inside and outside of my brand new and very expensive pans.

  3. Use Astonish for burn stains on stainless steel. You can find it on Amazon.

  4. I agree with the other “Edna.” I used Barkeepers Friend on some light scratches and visible spots on my refrigerator and when the sun shines from the window, it looks terrible. Like she said, the appliance stores don’t know what to do, so who does? I’m afraid to attempt anything else. It just makes me sick to see it.

  5. Malcolm says:

    Mild burns on stainless steel can easily be removed with a thin coating of baking soda made into a paste then left overnight. If the stain is heavier, you can always do the process over again, etc.

  6. How do I remove hard water stains from stainless steel sink and plastic buckets?

  7. Neelam,
    This is the article that you need: How to Remove Lime Scale.
    For the plastic buckets, this article might help: How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Plastic.
    If you happen to be talking about an ice machine, this is the article that you need: How to Remove Hard Water Deposits from an Ice Dispenser.

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