A shameful, small-minded side of me emerged suddenly last week. My stainless steel fridge got scratched, and I had a small freak-out.

I don’t count myself among the kind of people who would become emotionally entangled with their appliances, even if they are European imports (the appliances, not the people). I’m more one of those who would buy the fridge with the side dent, for the discount.

I’m also not a fan of stainless steel in the kitchen, especially in homes with kiddies and their fridge-worthy artworks. However, white was not an option when I bought the sleek counter-deep, extra tall Liebherr fridge. My kitchen reno depended on this pricey space-saver, so I settled on steel.


When the installers left, I slowly peeled the blue translucent cling film off the towering, gleaming surface. It was magnificent. It’s also near silent, except for a faint sigh at regular intervals, or a gentle beep indicating a power outage or an open door.

Then it happened, like that first ding on a new car that renders it no longer new. I spent more time than I care to admit researching ways to eliminate surface scratches from brushed stainless steel.

I Googled. I called in professional housecleaners. I even cornered well-known furniture designer Arnt Arntzen, who creates spectacular furnishings out of reclaimed steel pieces like aircraft wings, for advice on restoring Liebherr glory.

The prevailing suggestion was to start with a metal polish, working in the direction of the brushed metal. If that doesn’t work, move onto the finest steel wool.

If that fails, there’s the riskier suggestion of using coarser steel wool, like an SOS pad, then working back to the fine steel wool, then the metal polish. Follow up with an all-purpose cleaning spray to remove any residue, then finish with an oily stainless steel cleaner to pump up the shine.

I plunged into the various and many methods, stopping short of the one suggestion to use a Scotchbrite pad.

I’m not sure if it was exhaustion, back pain, chemical inhalation or the general shame I felt for devoting so much time and effort to the cause, but at some point I decided the scratches were no longer prominent enough for me to continue obsessing over a fridge door.

I am no longer basking in the reflected glory of a pristine appliance, although my nephew’s latest cobra drawing now has a place of honour.


Carlyn Yandle is a Vancouver journalist with her own room-planning business, Home Reworks (


). She dwells on urban-home issues every Thursday in Metro.

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