Painting Over Stainless Steel

Get rid of the scuff marks by painting.
Get rid of the scuff marks by painting. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Stainless steel appliances give your kitchen a bright look and may even make the space feel larger, as the steel reflects natural light. The shiny nature of the steel makes it a suitable choice for appliances and decorative objects for the home. When the steel develops scratch marks, scuffs and other types of damage, it ruins the effect you want. Painting the steel restores its shininess and hides the damage. When painting stainless steel, make sure that you use the right paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Degreaser
  • Sponge
  • Fresh water
  • Soft cloth
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Newspaper
  • Epoxy primer
  • Paint tray
  • Paint roller
  • Stainless steel paint/metal paint

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Clean the surface of the stainless steel with a degreaser or liquid dish soap with degreasing properties. Remove any dust or grime from the steel, applying the degreaser with a sponge. Wipe down the surface with fresh water and buff dry with a soft cloth.

Rub the surface with fine-grit sandpaper, gently roughing the surface. Stainless steel is naturally smooth and your paint and primer will have trouble adhering to the glossy and smooth surface. Rub the sandpaper around in small circles over all areas of the stainless steel.

Place a layer of old newspaper around the area where you work. For smaller items, set the newspaper on a counter or table and place the appliance on top. For refrigerators and larger pieces, arrange the newspaper around the bottom.

Pour the epoxy primer in the paint tray or use a primer designed for use on metal. Apply a thin layer of the primer to all stainless steel surfaces. Use a smooth motion as you roll up and down, making sure that the primer goes on evenly. Rinse the paint tray and paint roller and wait until the primer dries.

Paint over the primer with stainless steel paint or metal paint. Stainless steel paint provides a glossy and shiny surface that mimics the original look of the stainless steel, while metal paint comes in different colors. Apply a second coat of the specialty paint if needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tape off any components you don’t want painted with masking tape, including digital readers or handles.
  • You typically need at least two coats of paint before you cover the primer and restore the look of the stainless steel.
  • Be careful when working with the sandpaper. If you sand too deep or too hard, you may remove the surface coating and remove the natural protective properties of the steel.


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