In this blog post, I show you how I restored and transformed my rusty 6 year old washing on a budget with great results! If you’d rather follow along with my video version, then you can scroll down to the bottom of the page.
While I’ve been installing a utility kitchen in our conservatory, our white goods started to bring the work I’d done down. We’d already skipped our spare fridge and freezer because they were brown with brown plastic trim, but our washing machine isn’t that old.
Unless you class 6 years old a bit passed it? And truth be told, I’m pretty sure it was my fault.
I like to take care of my fabrics when they need a little TLC. And I’m often presoaking things in white vinegar with a touch of baking soda too. But once I place it in the washer, in goes the vinegar mixture too. Waste not want not. But pouring it in to the tray and chucking in a drenched garment is never a dry task. And I usually get the front of the machine wet.
Well, from now on, I vow no longer to do it and just let the machine take its course. I believe it’s the rust patches started to form.
Recently at a family wedding, I oddly brought up the topic of my washing machine with my Dad. We barely see each other, so when we meet, I usually fire lots of DIY questions at him. I wholeheartedly trust his methods (and my father in law’s) more than anyone as they’re pros who’ve never steered me down the wrong path.
My Dad instantly recommended an enamel spray as they’d seen used recently and that it looked brand new again. I wouldn’t go as far to say that exactly. More likely 90%. Side note: they do wear glasses(!) I think it’s near enough impossible to get the original manufacturer’s finish. However, it is incredibly difficult to see it’s been sprayed and you’d need someone to point it out. So for the sake of a £20 fix (includes primer), then it’s a no brainer and I’ll show you some tips and tricks I picked up on the job.
HOW TO WITH RUSTOLEUM APPLIANCE ENAMEL
There are many types of enamel paint available. A baffling amount in fact. But during this washing machine restoration, I’ll be using Rustoleum Appliance Enamel spray paint.
For this project, I only using about half a can. Note I would have used even less if I weren’t so heavy handed with it, but I’ll talk you through how to overcome that too.
FOLLOW ALONG WITH HOW I DID IT
STEP 1 – REMOVING THE RUST
The very first thing I did was hoover the flaky paintwork. This made it much easier to suck off any paint while rubbing the metal pipe against any bubbling paint and its surroundings. And it gave my nails a bit of a rest.
This is very important, because the surface needs to be sound before you even attempt any new paintwork, or it will be just as easy to chip off.
Then using a sanding block and some 120 grit sandpaper (or sometimes I’d flit to 240 for a less abrasive finish), I sanded off any rust right down to bare metal. And then wiped with a tacky cloth, followed by a dry cloth.
TIP: If you want to spray directly over good paintwork, then all you need to do it go over it with sandpaper just to “key” the paint for better adhesion. For this, I personally make just a few passes and don’t go too wild with it.
STEP 2 – PRIMING BARE METAL
When it came to priming the bare metal I exposed, I had some left over Rustoleum Surface Primer in a matt silver/grey. I have no idea what we even used it for. I suspect spraying an old camper van, but you can buy it in white too.
I also wore my JSP mask with replaceable filters, opened all the windows (and shut the door leading to the rest of the house) and sprayed.
I then sprayed a couple of fine coats of primer and left for a hour before spraying with the final appliance enamel. However, it wasn’t plain sailing because I was rushing and the winter nights means terrible lighting. However, I have a few tips to make your life easier.
SPRAY PAINTING TIPS FOR THE BEST FINISH
- Shake vigorously for about a minute just before using.
- Masking tape any furniture or objects around the appliance you don’t want to accidentally spray.
- Put a sheet down to protect floors.
- Keep a spraying distance of 30cm to allow a fine mist on the appliance to avoid drips.
- Spray in back and forth motions, but I only made a couple of passes in one area and leave for a couple of minutes.
- It’s better to take your time and slowly build up coverage than too much in one go, otherwise you’ll have to sand any uneven textures.
- And keep cleaning the nozzle between most sprays to avoid it spitting out dry bits, giving unwanted texture.
- Make sure the lighting is good so you can see what you’re doing and prevent drips.
- TAKE YOUR TIME!
Another thing I realised was a mistake was that I masking taped too much. Yes, I was trying to avoid spraying areas not needed, but I pulled away some masking tape to find a raised lip of where the paint finished. So in the middle picture, above for example, I ended up removing some of the masking tape you see here.
HOW TO REMOVE PAINT DRIPS OR UNEVEN TEXTURE
I was a bit worried about removing my drip marks because it’s not always an easy task. Often sanding drips can remove it in lumps, creating an area that needs filling. Or sometimes I also end up sanding too much off around the drip marks too, meaning I need to patch it with even more paint.
For this, again, I used a sanding block, but with some 240 grit sand paper and patiently took my time to prevent more work. This actually was much quicker to do than I’ve experienced with other paints and fillers, so fear not, it was an easy fix.
Once sanded, I cleaned any dust off the paintwork with a home made washing up liquid spray and kitchen towel and dried. Then gave the machine its final spraying session of the Appliance Enamel. This is where I’d learnt it was best to follow the steps further up this post.
I also needed to replace the broken kick plate. This was possibly the most stressful part as I didn’t want to pay £30 + from eSpares. I’d also struggled to find it on eBay as Whirlpool’s website left me with the impression this part fitted other models.
So, after finding one that looked identical on eBay, yet the model number was different, I measured my piece, eyeballed where the attachment clips were and asked the eBayer to check the measurements against my old broken one.
It was perfect and cost £12, including shipping.
THE END RESULTS
Now I mentioned before that it didn’t give the exact same finish as the manufacturer’s, but you really do have to get up so close to see the difference (see below). But I’ll explain why it does it.
Whichever way light or shadows hit it, you can’t tell. However, in my instance, I can see where the paintwork chipped. If you wanted to, you could spend a lot more time sanding or trying to smooth over with a filler, but I couldn’t see the point.
I’m 100% happy with it and I’m never going to get close to it with a magnifying glass. For the sake of potentially spending £30 on a good working machine against the cost of a brand new washing machine altogether, I’d do this again and again. Now my washer fits in with the rest of the utility.
NOW FOR THE TWIST…
I’ve recently been offered the a chance to review a brand new washing machine for our new utility, and as this still works perfectly (and I’m not a fan of throwing good things away), I’ll be giving it to a good home as our brother in law needs one.
But I still wanted to see this project through to the end as so many of my subscribers recommended an enamel spray paint and these things are always good to learn if the problem ever arises again.
Also, it was lovely to bring something back to life and put a little TLC in to it so my brother in law didn’t need to. Oh and of course, share my results to help others make their own conclusion.
Now obviously due to only recently completing this project, I have no opinion whether it stops rust or that it really is moisture resistant. As I’ll be giving it away, I won’t get to know over time, so if you’d like to share your experiences in the comments below, then please do!
I do agree though that it is washable as I’ve since cleaned it again (because I had to put some presoaked clothes in there). I will try my best not to cause rust again!!
WHY NOT PIN TO SAVE ME FOR LATER?
FOLLOW ALONG WITH MY VIDEO FOR VISUAL LEARNERS
Disclosure: I was gifted the Appliance Enamel by Rustoleum in return for an honest review. Some links are affiliate links where I earn a very small commission, but this does not make me biased. Money’s hard earnt’, easy spent, so only recommend the products that have helped me complete a job.