Removing Scratches from Stainless, Aluminum, Glass, Car Paint and Plastic
Posted by Flitz International on 1st Nov 2022
The questions come in every day; “How do I remove scratches from…?” or “Will this product remove scratches from…?” Scratches are a pain and before you try and do anything about them, you need to understand what scratches really are.
At the risk of being obvious, scratches are the places in a surface where a part of the surface has been removed. So, in order to “remove” a scratch, you must either fill in the removed area or remove the area around the scratch to bring it down to the level of the scratch itself. What kind of material you’re working with determines how you proceed.
Probably one of the easiest, depending on the depth of the scratch. Most cars have several layers of paint; primer, color, and finally, top coat. If your scratch (or swirl) is in the top coat, then usually a good cutting and buffing by a professional detailer with return your finish to showroom new. If that’s not in your budget, then a good wash followed by our Flitz Ceramic Sealant will get you close to showroom new. Make sure you understand the difference though. The cut and buff evens out the topcoat, thereby removing the scratch. The Ceramic Sealant fills in the scratch, making it harder to see, or in some cases, invisible, but the scratch is still there.
Stainless steel is somewhat like Car Paint, in that most appliance manufacturers, place a protective coat over the top of the stainless steel. Coatings vary and how you handle them does too. A deep scratch in stainless is likely there for life. Spray cleaners often contain mineral oil to help mask swirls and light scratches, but will have little effect on a deep scratch. While the mineral oil does help hide scratches, its tendency to attract dirt and fingerprints can add problems. Flitz Stainless Cleaner contains no mineral oil and while it will completely clean your stainless, it will not hide the swirl marks and light scratches. To do that, you’ll want to follow up with Flitz Stainless Steel Polish & Protectant. That product will fill in swirls, but it resists dust and fingerprints.
Like stainless steel, aluminum is also prone to swirls and scratches. Mitigating those depends on the kind of aluminum finish you’re working with. Like stainless steel, some aluminum has a protective clear coat. If the swirls are in the clear coat and if the aluminum hasn’t dulled, then a wash with a follow up of sealant will take care of most of the issues.
However, if your aluminum is tarnished or dulled and you’re looking to bring it to a shiny or mirror finish, then that clear coat must be removed first. Any good paint stripper will usually do the trick. Once the clear coat is removed, you can, if needed, sand down the area around any deep scratches to level them out. Then you can follow up with Flitz Polish to bring the aluminum back to the level of luster and shine you desire, followed by Ceramic Sealant to protect and retard tarnishing. It takes a lot of work, but you can give aluminum a mirror finish.
Anodized aluminum is a different animal. Anodizing converts aluminum oxide to a thicker layer that bonds to the aluminum underneath to protect it. There’s no easy fix for deeply scratched anodized aluminum. Due to its nature, anodized aluminum isn’t normally prone to swirls and light scratches, it’s pretty tough stuff. Typically, Flitz Polish will remove any tarnish and restore the finish.
Treating light scratches and swirls in glass is much the same as aluminum. In fact, it is possible to sand the area around a deep scratch to level out the surface, but a word of caution. You better know what you’re doing. There’s a process and if you’re not careful, you can do more harm than good. For light scratches, a little Flitz Polish on a microfiber with some gentle rubbing will generally do the trick. Just make sure to use as little polish as possible and remove any remaining polish with a soft cloth.
Plastics and acrylics that become scratched and yellowed over time are much easier to restore. Simply roughing up the plastic with 2000 grit sandpaper or similar will remove the upper layer of oxidation and yellowing. Follow up with Flitz Polish to even the surface and buff to return its shine and luster.
Scratches and swirls are a bear and as you’ve seen, how to deal with them varies with the surface. In most cases you’ll get a cosmetic solution, rather than a complete solution, but for most things that will do the trick.
Also remember that we’re always here to help. If you’ve got questions, drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to assist!