Easy Fix for a Rusty Washing Machine

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I’ve been trying to figure out how to easily fix a rusty washing machine for almost 4 years now. Fixing my rusting washing machine rim has been lingering at the bottom of my to-do list ever since I did a load of whites only to find little rust stains on my clothes.

This happened because the paint was peeling away from the machine, and the metal was rusting and then flaking into the drum.

Unfortunately, year after year I’ve watched the problem get worse and worse. Why? Because the only tutorials I found online involved me disassembling the machine to fix the problem and I did not want to get into all that. So, I continued to live with the problem.

I’d check the drum for any rust flakes before loading the machine. At one point I even tried taping over it all with flex tape. That was a fail, although it did slow down the rusting for a short time.

Ultimately, it wasn’t until I was forced to find an immediate solution that it got done. Here’s what happened and how I fixed the issue.

rusty washing machine
flex tape fail
flex tape fail
rusty washing machine lid
rusty detergent tray


Last summer we found out that the tenants in our old home in Louisiana were moving out. When we moved to Texas we decided to hold on to the house and rent it out since it’s right near LSU in Baton Rouge. There’s always a lot of demand for renters in that area.

We have a property management company that helps us, however, whenever it’s time to do a deep clean and a little sprucing up between tenants they want to charge us an arm and a leg for the labor.

So, we drive down and fix as much as we can ourselves. This year’s punch list was extensive.

There were also a few items that we spotted on our own when we got there. One of which, you guessed it, was a rusting washing machine rim.

I knew that this would be something a new tenant would call about. I also knew that it was a problem that was just going to get worse in time.

So, I needed to work with what I’d learned from YouTube to create a quick fix for this issue. We were only going to be there for a weekend and there was no way I was disassembling the top. So I improvised.

The Fix

Let’s jump into how to fix a rusty washing machine. The fix is easy, the supplies are inexpensive, and you don’t have to disassemble your machine to do it.

You’ll Need

Rustoleum clean metal primer and crystal clear enamel

Steps-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Clean your machine.

Wipe down your machine with the rag and soapy water. Remove any loose debris, flaking paint, and lint from the area.

soapy water

Step 2: Sand the rusted areas.

Once the machine has dried use your sandpaper to sand down the rusted areas until smooth. Place a towel, piece of cardboard, and other cloth down inside the drum to catch the falling debris and make cleanup easier.

Make sure to sand the underside of the rim as well.

(Note: I also needed to spray some Goo Gone to remove the adhesive from my failed Flex Tape fix)

sand washing machine smooth
sand washing machine smooth

Step 3: Primer

Spray the Rust-oleum Clean Metal Primer in light/thin coats. Allow to dry for a few minutes between coats.

How To Fix a Rusty Washing Machine

Step 4: Paint

Use chalk paint (that matches the color of your machine) and a small paintbrush to paint over the primed areas. Allow it to dry for a few minutes before moving to the next step.

chalk paint
paint washing machine with chalk paint
paint washing machine with chalk paint

Step 5: Clear Enamel

Bring back the shine and seal in your paint by spraying the Rust-oleum Crystal Clear Enamel. Use light/thin coats. Allow to dry between coats.


how to fix a rusty washing machine
how to fix a rusty washing machine rim

Tips for How to Fix a Rusty Washing Machine

Now that your washing machine is all touched up and looking showroom new, allow it to dry fully for 1 day before resuming your normal laundry routine.

Preventing Repeat Problems

Make sure to leave the top of your washing machine open when not in use and try to remove damp clothing as soon as the cycle ends.

Unlike front-load washing machines, top loads don’t have that extra leakproof/air-tight seal around the door when closed.

This allows the moisture to travel from the drum to the lid easily, thus causing the rusting over time. The best way to mediate this is to keep the entire unit as dry as possible when not in use.

The Smoother the Better

You’ll notice in my final photos that you can see a bit of texture on the left side of my machine. This is because I didn’t sand down that side smoothly enough.

I had a little trouble around the contours of the machine with my sanding sponge/block. I highly recommend using sandpaper instead, it’s much more flexible.

Take your time during the sanding process. The smoother you can get the rim the better.

fix rusting washing machine


I hope you find this post useful. I completed all the steps in under an hour including drying time between coats.

For more DIY fixes and popular home maintenance topics, check out the posts below.

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