Most appliance manufacturers have decided that if you want a washer and dryer, the colors available are white, black, stainless steel, or dark grey. Occasionally, you might find a model that comes in red or teal blue, but pretty much, if you want a custom look for your laundry appliances, you are going to have to do it yourself. Beyond adding color to your laundry room, there are practical reasons to paint a washer or dryer. Perhaps you've purchased a mismatched pair during a sale, got a scratched floor model, or your appliances are starting to rust. Painting the appliances will bring a cohesive look to the room, prevent the scratches from rusting, and stop rust from getting worse.
Unplug and empty the appliance of any laundry. If possible, remove it from the laundry room to an open, well-ventilated space. This will prevent paint overspray mishaps on your walls and give you room to work. Place a drop cloth under the machine. Use a detergent and hot water mixture to wipe down and clean the machine exterior. Pay close attention to areas where residue can build up. Wipe it down with clear water and allow it to dry.
If your appliance has rust spots, use a paint scraper to scrape any loose or flaking paint from around rusted areas. Scrape off bubbles of paint that have formed over the rust. Fill dents and small holes with auto body filler. Apply with a plastic putty knife and scrape off as much excess as you can. Work quickly; the putty hardens in 10 to 15 minutes. If the rust is excessive and has eaten through to form a hole, cover the affected area with fiberglass tape. Bond the tape to the machine with the auto body filler and then apply a filler coat over the tape.
Once the putty has dried, sand the filled areas and any rusty areas with a palm sander and 220-grit sandpaper. Try to feather the edges around the filled and rusty areas to create a gradual transition to the rest of the body. Using denatured alcohol, clean away the dust and use a rust-inhibiting primer before applying the appliance epoxy spray paint.
Any time you use aerosolized paints, epoxy, or do any sanding work, you should protect yourself from the fumes and dust particulates by wearing a face mask and goggles. Whenever painting, gloves always come in handy.
Equipment / Tools
- Goggles or eye protection
- Plastic putty spreader (optional)
- Paint scraper (optional)
- Palm sander (optional)
- Drop cloth
- Multi-surface cleaning spray
- Cleaning cloths or rags
- 400-grit sandpaper
- 600-grit sandpaper
- Microfiber tack cloth
- Denatured alcohol
- Painter's masking tape
- Appliance epoxy spray paint
- Auto body filler putty (optional)
- 220-grit sandpaper (optional)
- Rust-inhibiting primer (optional)
Sand the Appliance
With the 400-grit sandpaper, sand all surfaces that you will paint. The purpose is to dull the factory finish so that the new paint will stick. You do not need to remove all of the old paint. Follow up with a second sanding with the 600-grit sandpaper.
Clear the Sanding Dust
Vacuum the dust and wipe down the entire machine with a microfiber tack cloth. Next, wipe it down with denatured alcohol.
What Is Denatured Alcohol?
Denatured alcohol is often used as a cleaning solution. It includes specific additives that make it non-drinkable. This form of ethanol has a bad taste, smells foul, and is poisonous if ingested. These funky additives discourage people from drinking it recreationally.
Use Painter's Tape to Cover Areas From Spray
Use painter's tape to protect parts of the machine like switches, dials, or glass windows that you do not want to paint. You can remove some older dials and knobs for easier masking.
Apply the Appliance Spray Paint
Follow the directions on the can of spray paint and use steady strokes from left to right to paint the machine. Hold the can 12 to 16 inches from the appliance and spray with a steady motion, slightly overlapping each row of paint. Recoat if needed within 30 minutes. If drips occur, allow them to dry and sand them away before touching up the paint.
Allow the Paint to Dry
Wait for the paint to dry for 24 hours before using the appliances.
If you dislike the color or want to change it, it will be difficult to remove the paint. Your best bet will be to add a new color over the first coats.
When to Call a Professional
Painting a washer and dryer is much like painting a car. You can even take your appliance to the body shop and have them do the work. You'll get a hard, professional finish, but it can be expensive. If the rust is extensive, such as large gaping holes, you might want to take a photo of your appliance's damage and get an estimate for the repair. It might turn out the cost to repair it is fast approaching the cost of a new appliance and not worth the hassle.