Scratches can mar the perfect surface of your stainless steel railing, but luckily, there are ways to remove most scratches. If you want to keep your railing looking like new, use these tips when you have scratches.
1. Start With an Abrasive Cleaner
Abrasive powdered cleaners can help to remove small scratches from stainless steel. Consider using a cleaner such as Ajax or Poultice Stain Remover — make sure the cleaner you select is compatible with any finishes on your railing. Mix the powder with a bit of water to make a paste, and then scrub the paste onto the scratch. Essentially, you are lightly grinding down the area around the scratch to make it blend in.
2. Go With the Grain
Whether you're scrubbing with abrasive cleaner or using the sandpaper method below, you should go with the grain. Look closely at your stainless steel railing, you should see a slight grain. If the lines run vertically, scrub up and down, and if the grain is horizontal, scrub back and forth.
If you go with the grain, the slight scratches you are adding around the existing scratch will flow with the natural pattern, and the scratch you are trying to cover will disappear. If you go against the grain, it will make the original scratch look more noticeable.
3. Try a Scratch Repair Kit
If cleaners can't handle the job, you may want to buy a kit made especially for scratch repair. The installer or manufacturer of your stainless steel railing may be able to make a recommendation. Typically, kits contain polishing creams and special abrasive pads that are designed just for scratch removal.
4. Consider Using a Sanding Belt
For situations when you have deep scratches or lots of little scratches all over the railing, you may want to rely on the power of a sanding belt. Start with a fine grit sandpaper, and wrap the belt around your railing. Then, turn on your sander and let it buff the area around the scratch. For deep scratches, you may need to use a rougher grade of sandpaper.
If you're experienced with a belt sander, you may be able to do this whilst the handrail is still attached, but it can be hard to reach areas of the railing near the post. For best results, you may want to hire a professional to dismantle your railing and professionally refinish it with a belt sander.