How To Fix Dents In Stainless Steel

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Many people prefer stainless steel appliances in their kitchen for a variety of reasons, including both durability and appearance. Steel appliances indeed have a sleek, polished look other finishes often lack. However, the material isn't invincible, and it can easily get dented in a room with as much movement as your kitchen. Sometimes companies will even sell dented steel appliances at a discounted price.

That doesn't mean your appliance will live with the imperfection until it's time to replace it. There are plenty of methods that can fix the dents, many of which are affordable, accessible, and incredibly easy. One of the simplest methods is with a dent removal tool, which is essentially a powerful, targeted suction instrument. They're available at home improvement stores and online retailers, like this one from LXPVSA on Amazon for $17. These tools work on kitchen appliances like refrigerators or dishwashers, but they also work on your car, making them a versatile, multipurpose purchase.

The plunger method

If you don't want to get any specialty equipment, you could try your luck with a new toilet plunger. In some cases, with smaller and less severe dents, this may even be preferable. Some dent removal tools have adhesives that can damage stainless steel coating, whereas plungers rely purely on suction. A sturdy plunger helps, but you can increase the suction power by wetting the plunger and dent. Consider using boiling water to make the steel a bit more pliable.

Next, center the plunger over the dent. Push down, making sure to expel all the air and get as strong a seal as possible. Then, slowly pull the plunger back — listen for a pop as the suction pulls the dent out. This method is best for smaller dents that can be encompassed by the plunger. If it's too large, you'll need to move on to another course of action.

Compressed air and heat

Another simple way to try and pop out your dent, in dishwashers especially, is to push it out from the other side. Just push as hard as you can on the back end of the dent if it's safely and easily accessible. If the dent doesn't budge, try pouring some boiling water over it to make it more pliable — just be sure to wear heat-protectant gear, so you don't burn yourself. If that doesn't work, you could use something heavy, like a rubber mallet, to pound it out.

Heat, in general, can also help pop out stainless steel dents, especially in combination with pressure. For this last method, you'll need a hairdryer and a can of compressed air. Put the hairdryer on its hottest setting, and blast the dent with hot air for a minute. Have your compressed air on hand to immediately spray onto the heated steel — the heat expands the steel, whereas the cold, pressurized air retracts it, which should pop the dent out.