How to Restore Oxidized Stainless Steel

As many of us know, stainless steel hardware can be far from stainless. While resistant to the effects of saltwater, environmental fallout, and UV damage, stainless steel will eventually succumb and start to oxidize. The material will start to look hazy, maybe even slightly brown from a light dusting or rust. 

Fortunately, polishing stainless steel is a straightforward and easy process. While our hardware was removed from the project boat for painting purposes, you can easily repeat this process with the hardware in place. Just tape off areas around the hardware with blue painters tape.

You'll need some Buff Magic and a few terry cloths, as well as some microfibers towels to clean up with. We also found a Dremel tool with a wool polishing head to be extremely handy, as it sped up the polishing process quite a bit. If you don't have access to one, you'll need to polish most hardware by hand. 

Tool being used to polish stainless steel

Our Buff Magic also works as a metal polish, so you'll treat stainless steel in the same way you would any other surface; simply apply the compound and work it into the surface. The Dremel tool will speed up the polishing, but make sure to run it at the lower end of its range. If you turn the speed up too much, it breaks the compound down instantly, rendering it ineffective.

You'll notice a black slurry starting to form in areas you've polished. This is the oxidized metal getting trapped in the Buff Magic solution after it's been removed from the surface. The black material can cause stains easily, so protect your work area and yourself. After you've polished the metal, you will need to remove the black slurry by cleaning the hardware with something like Serious Shine and a few microfiber towels. 

There you have it! Polishing your stainless steel is an easy and simple project that can really make your boat stand out. Until next time, Shurhold is here to keep your boat, car, or RV Clean-N-Simple!