Stainless Steel Dent Removal: Who to Hire?

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated July 25, 2022
interior kitchen stainless steel appliances
Photo: John Keeble/Moment/Getty Images

You love your stainless steel appliances, but sometimes you need to hire a pro to help keep your stainless looking sublime

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There’s nothing quite like the fresh, modern look of stainless steel appliances. And you’ve probably paid a bit extra to get it. In fact, stainless steel appliances can cost as much as $300 more than traditional white appliances. That means you’re going to want to do all you can to protect your investment and keep your kitchen looking glam.

An appliance repair professional usually removes dents from stainless steel appliances, either by repairing the dent or, for more significant damage, replacing the problem panel entirely. But when it comes to hiring a pro to remove those inevitable dents and dings from your stainless steel, you want to make sure you hire the right person.

An Appliance Repair Professional Removes Dents From Stainless Steel Appliances

Appliance repair professionals are your go-to pros for removing dents from stainless steel appliances. They usually fix dents in one of two ways: they can “pop” out the dent using special tools, such as suction devices, heat guns, or dry ice. Some pros will opt to hammer out the dent, though this tends to leave visible marks.

Where the damage is extensive, your pro may choose to replace the panel entirely. Some minor repairs can be made at your home, but for more extensive repairs, or those requiring special tools, your pro may need to transport the appliance to a repair shop.

Benefits of Hiring a Pro for Stainless Steel Dent Removal

Hiring an appliance repair specialist has many benefits. Pros will be able to quickly and successfully remove dents of all sizes. If they find extensive damage, they’ll recommend replacing the damaged section and have your appliance ready to use again in no time. While homeowners may be able to even out small dents, inexperienced DIYers could cause further damage, but that’s not a concern when a pro handles the repairs.

Can I DIY Stainless Steel Dent Removal?

If you want to save money, you can try to remove small dents in stainless steel appliances by yourself. There are a few different tactics to remove these dents on your own. Try one of the following methods or use a combination of these options to remove the dent. If the dent still doesn’t come out, it’s time to call a pro appliance repair specialist.

Push Out the Dent

If you can access the opposite site of the dented panel, you may be able to simply push the dent back out. Push on the back side of the dent with gentle pressure. Don’t push too hard, or you risk causing further damage.

Use a Hair Dryer

Use a hair dryer to blast hot air on the dent for several minutes, moving the heat around to evenly warm the area. Stainless steel expands and contracts when it experiences extreme temperature changes, and the heat from the hair dryer may be enough for the steel to pop back out. 

Apply Dry Ice

You can also use the extreme-temperature tactic by applying a frigid object, like dry ice to help repair the stainless steel dent. Be sure to wear protective, nitrile, or insulated latex gloves before handling dry ice. Place the dry ice in the center of the dent. After a few minutes of exposure, the dent may contract from the cold temperature, causing it to pop out.

If exposure to the cold doesn’t work, you can try heating the dent with a hair dryer or heat gun, then immediately applying dry ice. The expanding and contracting can help the dent work itself out.

Pop It Out With a Plunger or Dent Removal Tool

Another option is to use a specialized tool kit for dent removal. Dent removal kits cost about $10 to $30 and contain everything you need to remove small dents. The dent removal tool sticks to the dent with adhesive or suction, and then you pull on the tool’s handle to slowly pull the dent out.

If you want to go the DIY route, you can use a clean sink plunger and apply the same method. Suction the base of the plunger over the dent, and then pull on the plunger handle to coax the dent outward.

How Do Pros Remove Stainless Steel Dents?

Most appliance repair professionals will use specialized tools, similar to the dent removal tool kits you can find at home improvement stores or online, to remove stainless steel dents without damaging the appliance’s surface. 

Professionals may also use a heat gun or dry ice to remove dents. While you can attempt this tactic, using hot tools and handling dry ice can lead to skin burns or irritation if you aren’t careful. That’s why hiring an appliance repair pro is the best bet, especially for larger dents.

If you decide to go the DIY route, experts recommend using a remover tool that uses suction, rather than adhesive, on dents. The adhesive may make it hard to get the tool off the appliance after removing the dent.

Before You Hire an Appliance Repair Professional

Close-up of a hand cleaning a stainless steel stove
Photo: Grace Cary/Moment/Getty Images

Before you hire an appliance repair professional, consider whether repairing or replacing your appliance is your best bet, especially if your appliances take a lot of punishment from your busy family, meaning the damage may happen again.

Let’s take a look at what you should know about each step of the hiring process for appliance dent removal.

1. Consider Your Needs

You can’t deny the sophisticated, high-end look of stainless steel. But, if you’ve had stainless steel appliances for a while, you know those gleaming surfaces are magnets for scratches, dings, and dents.

So, before you hire a pro, you should consider your needs and whether a repair is the best option. For example, if you have a large family, young kids, or a particularly bustling kitchen, you may find that any repairs won’t last long.

That means that the first decision you need to make is whether you’d be better off investing your time and money in a more durable replacement than ongoing repairs. You might opt for a more durable model, or you may prefer a less damage-prone finish, such as classic white or black.

The cost to replace your appliances, though, will depend on the kind of appliance, the model and features you choose, and the surface finishes. At the very least, expect new appliances to outlast your stainless steel repairs in high-traffic and damage-prone environments.

2. Do Your Research

If you’ve taken stock of your needs, or you just can’t bear to say goodbye to your beloved stainless steel fridge with the fancy see-through doors and app (we feel you, no judgment here!), then the next step is to find a pro to fix those dents and dings.

Like almost every other question in life, you can start by researching it online. Get on the internet and look for reviews and ratings for the best appliance repair pros near you

Whether customers have a good or bad experience with a company, you can likely find out about it on social media or by soliciting recommendations from your friends and connections. Trust the word of mouth and talk to friends, family members, and neighbors who have had similar work done.

3. Check Your Pro’s Credentials and Qualifications

Once you’ve checked reviews and picked the brains of trusted friends and family, it’s time to narrow the list to your top few candidates. Select your most promising three to five pros and hop back online.

Research the businesses to ensure they have the necessary credentials. Look for current licensing and certifications, and check that they’re bonded and insured. Check with consumer organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau, to see if any complaints have been filed.

Know What to Ask and What to Look For

Confirming credentials and qualifications helps to narrow down your search, but you shouldn’t settle on a repair pro yet.

Instead, you should reach out to your top three candidates with a list of critical questions. Plan to find out:

  • How they structure their fees: Do they charge by the hour or a flat rate for the job? Does it include parts and labor, or are those extra?

  • Whether they charge for estimates: Most appliance repair pros will need to come to your home to inspect the appliance and provide an estimate. You’ll need to determine if and how much they charge for coming out to your home to give an estimate.

  • If the appliance has to be repaired offsite: Some stainless steel appliance repairs can be made at your home. However, more serious repairs will likely have to be made offsite, where your repair person has more specialized tools. This service, not surprisingly, usually costs more.

  • Whether parts and equipment are available: If the damage is too severe for repairs, your pro may need to order a replacement panel. If so, ensure the panel is in stock or check to see how long it will take to arrive.

  • When the job will be finished: Even if the parts are in stock, that doesn’t necessarily mean the repairs will be done quickly. Have your pro check their schedule and get a firm deadline when the job will be complete.

4. Get at Least Three Itemized Estimates—in Writing

They say a verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. That’s true when it comes to estimates, too.

Get itemized written estimates from your top candidates, and make sure every cost is itemized, including parts, labor, appliance transport, and other service fees.

In general, contractors will charge between $99 and $150 per half hour, but the good news is that dents in your stainless steel appliances can usually be resolved pretty quickly. With the proper tools, your contractor can often pop them out in a matter of minutes.

5. Get the Contract in Writing 

Once you’ve settled on the exact kind of repair you need and you’ve found the perfect pro for the job, then you need a work contract. Don’t rely on the written estimate alone. To protect yourself and ensure you get what you want, then your contract should include the following:

  • An itemized list of the fees, including parts and labor

  • A detailed list of the work 

  • Your payment type and schedule, including the final total and last payment date

  • Details on how they will handle potential problems, such as an unexpected delay or discovery of an unknown issue with your appliance. Specify that no work can be done, parts ordered, or fees imposed beyond those explicitly listed in your contract unless you provide written consent.

We know: this might all seem like a lot of hassle and more than a little added drama for a simple dent repair. But extra caution can go a long way. Besides, when you’re surrounded once again by your beautiful, blemish-free stainless steel appliances, it will all be worth it!

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