How to polish steel with a dremel

Updated February 21, 2017

Stainless steel can be polished to a bright, mirror-like sheen. Polishing stainless steel is a process of using coarse to fine polishing compounds in sequence to take the steel from a damaged surface to shiny. Polishing compounds are commonly in paste form, but in some cases they may come in a stick that you rub on the steel to transfer the compound to the metal.

Apply coarse polishing compound to the stainless steel to remove larger scratches. If the compound is a paste, apply the compound using the included applicator or a wood applicator such as a Popsicle stick or a pencil.

Insert a buffing wheel in the Dremel tool. In some cases, you may need to secure a buffing wheel to the buffing shaft by removing the tip from the shaft and slipping it through the wheel.

Turn the Dremel tool to a low speed. In most cases, you will need to keep the tool below 3,000 RPM to avoid heat build-up. If you feel the item becoming too hot to hold, remove the tool and let it cool. If you are working on polishing a large surface, move to a different area of the object to avoid heat build-up. Polish until the deeper scratches are gone.

Rinse off the coarse grit compound as instructed by the compound manufacturer. In most cases, rinsing the metal with water is acceptable.

Dry the area you are polishing with a towel or paper towel.

Replace the buffing wheel you used with the coarse polishing compound with a fresh buffing wheel.

Apply a medium grit metal polishing compound to the stainless steel in the same way you applied the coarse compound.

Use the Dremel tool as you did with the coarse grit, with the fresh buffing wheel. Be sure not to allow the metal to overheat. Polish until you see a dull sheen on the metal.

Rinse the medium grit compound from the metal, and dry.

Replace the buffing wheel again, with another fresh wheel.

Apply fine polishing grit, and use the Dremel tool and the new buffing wheel to polish until the steel has a fine sheen.

Rinse off the fine grit compound, and dry the shiny steel thoroughly.


Different brands and formulas of polishing grit will require different polishing times to achieve good results.

Things You'll Need

  • Adjustable speed Dremel tool
  • Buffing wheels
  • Polishing compound
  • Towels or paper towels
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About the Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.