The Art of Appliance Service: An Appliance Blog
About Me
The Art of Appliance Service: An Appliance Blog

Welcome to my blog. When it comes to taking care of appliances, it can be an art. You have to use them correctly, know how to look for signs of trouble and understand how to do simple repairs. Hi, my name is Kelsey, and in this blog, I am going to write everything I know about appliances and related topics. This is my first blog, but I have written in many other types of venues before -- I'm even old enough to have had a 'zine (if you can believe that). I live with my husband, my three daughters, and our dog. Cleaning pet hair of of the dryer and repairing blades on the blender has become my specialty over the years. Enjoy reading!

The Art of Appliance Service: An Appliance Blog

How To Fix Rust On The Exterior Of A Refrigerator

Leevi Saari

If you find rust on your refrigerator, you should be able to fix it yourself. Rust on refrigerators occurs from oxidation of the metal with oxygen and moisture, which is usually caused by dings.

Rust left untreated will gradually cause rust holes detracting from the appearance, eventually requiring a replacement, and it can also be a health risk. Fix rust on the refrigerator exterior by following these steps.

Prepare to Fix the Rust

To fix the rust on the refrigerator, gather:

  • plastic gloves
  • eye goggles
  • rags or sponges 
  • tack cloth
  • powdered cleaner
  • liquid dish detergent
  • lemon juice and salt
  • baking soda
  • white vinegar
  • rust  remover with muriatic acid
  • 220-grit sandpaper or palm sander 
  • paint brushes
  • rust-inhibiting primer or spray primer (optional)
  • appliance paint 

Unplug the refrigerator, and move it from the wall to get behind it. If possible, transfer the unit to a garage, or ventilate the room by raising a window. Detach removable handles with the screwdriver, lay parts aside. and discard severely rusted hardware.

Mix several drops of dish soap dish soap in a gallon of water, and wipe the surface with a sponge or rag to help clean grease and food particles, rinse using a damp rag or sponge, and let it dry.

Clean the Rust

If the rust is light, you may be able to remove it by using sandpaper. Clean the sand dust with a tack cloth, and wash the surface again using dish soap, rinse and let it dry.  .

For heavy rust, brush a rust remover on the surface, and let it stand according to the suggested time. Use a clean,  damp rag or sponge to remove residue. Be careful not to remove all of the discoloration, since the remaining chemicals serve as a primer.   

If you prefer a natural cleaner, mix a tablespoon of lemon juice with a teaspoon of salt. Use a sponge or rag to rub on the mixture, let it set several hours, then rinse using a damp sponge or rag. Alternately, spread a mixture of white vinegar and a teaspoon of baking soda. 

Paint the Refrigerator

Lay plastic or drop cloths on the floor, and cover non-removable parts you don't want touched by repair materials with painter's tape. If the surface is in good condition, you don't have to prime it. Otherwise, spray a thin coat of primer on the surface, working in back and forth movements, and brush it on small areas.  

Brush on paint in the same manner, overlapping each pass by a third. Let the unit dry for twenty-four hours before you use it, and move it back in place after five hours.