How to Remove Dents From Stainless Steel Appliances
If you're lucky enough to have a stainless steel appliance set in your kitchen, you know just how nice they look and how much you want to keep them looking new. But no matter how careful you are, damage to your refrigerator, stove, or other appliance is inevitable.
Dent repair isn't necessarily difficult or expensive, and it could be a DIY project that's totally within your grasp. My husband and I have sought out various ways to address this issue over the years. We learned a lot from looking at how car dents are removed—the only difference is that you don't have to worry about damaging the paint on an appliance, as you would with a car.
Because dents come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and presentations, your method of approach may vary. We will look at a few trusted methods that just might work. Here are the things you can do.
You Can Do It Yourself!
(Or at least you can try!)
How to Fix a Dent in Stainless Steel
- Push it out.
- Use a plunger or another suction device to pull the ding out.
- Use Pops-a-Dent.
- Apply heat.
- Use dry ice.
- Employ a combination of these solutions.
Each of these methods is explained in detail below.
Push It Out
If you can get behind the dent, then you might be able to simply push it from the opposite side to make it pop out again. Applying coldn or heat might also help (see below).
Unfortunately, in the case of most appliances, this isn't possible. It's the same principle as when you crush an aluminum can and then try to get it back in shape.
Use a Plunger or a Similar Suction Cup Strategy
You can use a suction cup strategy to grab the metal and pull the dent out. Options are an automotive suction dent remover or a toilet plunger. Yep, the noble plunger is useful outside of the bathroom; the same suction that can clear a clogged pipe can also be used to suck out a dent. Any suction device could work, but keep in mind that the strength of the suction is the key here, so a small suction cup won't have the same hold that a plunger will. Try to find one that's roughly the same size as the dent you're trying to pull out.
- Wipe the dent with a wet rag. This will help the suction to seal.
- Press the suction cup in to form a tight seal.
- Pull it firmly but gently out.
- If it doesn't work on the first try, keep at it. It might be that you need to pull it out harder or faster or that you haven't achieved a tight enough seal. Progress your efforts slowly and carefully, since overzealous pulling might actually cause more damage.
This won't work on all dents. It works best on imperfections that haven't creased or damaged the metal. A clean little bump will probably pull right out.
Pops-a-Dent utilizes adhesive to really make it stick. It's a great strategy: use hot glue, attach the suction cup, then use a frame to gradually pull the dent back out.
Apply Cold to the Surface
How to Use Dry Ice or Canned Air Duster to Fix a Dent
This method uses the metal's natural propensity to contract in extreme cold. You can use either dry ice (from the hardware store) or a can of air duster (purchased at the computer or office supply store, used to spray chilled carbon dioxide to dust computer parts) to apply the cold. The technique works as follows:
- Place the dry ice (carefully, wearing gloves!) or turn the can of duster upside down and aim it at the center of the dent.
- Hold or spray there for a minute or two, giving the metal enough time to contract and shrink with the cold.
- Sometimes, this contraction will cause the dent to pop right out, just like that! It's a cool science experiment and it just might work for you!
Warning: If you're working with dry ice, be sure to use gloves, and if you use the can of duster, be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.
Use a Hair Dryer or a Heat Gun
How to Fix a Dent With Heat
This method employs the metal's tendency to expand with heat. Ever notice how a baking sheet will warp when it's super hot? This technique uses the same idea.
- Use a heat gun or a very strong blow dryer to blow hot air on the surface where the dent is until it's very hot. It can't just be warm, it has to be hot to the touch!
- The stainless steel will contract, and the dent will flex back into its original shape.
Use a Combination of Pushing, Pulling, Heat, and/or Cold
Sometimes, you may need to work a dent out, slowly but surely, by combining the methods described above.
You might heat up the dent before you apply suction, or ice it before you try to push the ding out from behind. You might heat it up fast and then ice it quickly, hoping to shock the metal flat.
In other words, if one of these methods doesn't work, then try another, and keep trying.
When All Else Fails
Ultimately, you're only going to be able to do so much. Sometimes dents need to be taken care of by a professional who might use techniques that mirror the ones described here or might take the form of something more drastic, like hammering or metal replacement. Typically, the service isn't cheap, but it's still a great deal less expensive than replacing the whole appliance. Do check your extended warranty, since often it will come with some sort of coverage for that kind of damage.
Will These Methods Work for Other Metals?
Yes, they will. These methods may help with dents in painted refrigerator doors, metal appliances, car doors and bumpers, and other types of sheet metal.