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Painting white textured refrigerator door with rust bleeding through the textured surfaces

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Q. I have a GE ref./freezer with the freezer on top. We had a humid summer. I live 3 miles from the ocean. Rust spots are showing up everywhere. The refrigerator is about 12 years old and very good on energy savings. I had it tested by Keyspan Power Co. The rust is spreading and ugly. I just read the label inside the refrigerator that if you see extra moisture on the external, to move the power saver switch to the right. I did not know I had that. I looked and it was to the left. I think this switch was causing moisture to form on the outside...I don't know how but it might have been the reason rust formed this year. I just moved the switch to the right. It was always on the left - to my knowledge - for all these years.

How can I clean up the front of the refrigerator and remove the rust? I also have rust on the GE dryer that is about 20 years old but not the washing machine which is 15 years old. They are all in the same room...the kitchen. Can I paint them with a roller applicator? I am doing all the work by myself.

Linda McParland
home owner - New York


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A. I almost hate to suggest the possibility, but the utility may have changed the switch to make the fridge test so well for energy efficiency, and that may be what caused it to suddenly rust. As you probably know, condensation forms on cold surfaces. To keep it from forming on the outside of a refrigerator, there are small heating coils in the door and sides that keep the outside a little warm. If you turn them off you save electricity but you open the chance for condensation and rust.

You should probably treat the rusty areas with Naval Jelly =>
before painting, and keep the switch off of the energy-saver position.

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Naval Jelly


May 22, 2011

Q. I arrived at my cottage this week and was surprised to discover that the front and side of my GE fridge/freezer was fully rusted on the outside. The fridge is 16 years old and only works in the summer. the inside looks brand new. I can't figure out what power saver device I need to move to the right side. My fridge adjustments are on the left and they are screwed in. My light bulb is on the right side. please inform. thanks

Simone Mayer
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May 23, 2011

A. Hi, Simone.

You may be able to get an owner's manual for your refrigerator right on line. Appliances are different and the reason the previous writer had to move his switch to the right was that the off position was to the left. Some refrigerators will be different, and some will not even have a switch (the heating coil is always on). If the unit isn't plugged in except in the summer, the coils will not be functioning the rest of the year anyway.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

May 23, 2011

Q. I've spent hours taking off the rust with CLR, Mister Clean Magic Sponge, mildew spray and every other type bleach I can think of. It does go away, only to reappear the following day. is there any way to keep the rust/mildew off for good? if I paint the fridge will it come thru that too?
Thanks for responding. Simone

Simone Mayer
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May 24, 2011

A. Hi, Simone.

Unfortunately, bleach causes rapid rusting. Don't use any cleaner that contains bleach on the outside of your fridge. Try to neutralize by washing with a solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), then apply car wax. Wax doesn't last long, but is better than nothing. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

September 9, 2011

Q. My fridge is an Amana about 12 years old and the freezer door which is on the bottom has quite a bit of rust on it and it can't be cleaned off. No power saver switch. What kind of paint can I paint it with - Tremclad or some other paint formulated to paint over rust?
V. Smith
Toronto

Vicky Smith
homeowner - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

July 13, 2012

Q. My renter scrubbed the white finish off the fridge door. Can it be repainted? If so, with what paint?

Ann Goff
- MERRITT ISLAND Florida


July 16, 2012

A. Hi Ann. If rust is showing through, use the naval jelly on those areas first. Then spray with appliance paint =>

Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

Rust-oleum Appliance Enamel

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