A Guide To Removing Rust Stains From A Washing Machine

There are a few things in life that we can guarantee – and aside from taxes, one of them is that the metal inside your washing machine will always end up rusting. As a lot of this metal contains iron, it will eventually rust – and this process is sped up due to washing machines using water and being damp. This can impact both your washing, and the machine, in two separate ways:

  • Rust stains within the washer can rub onto clothing
  • Visible rust on the exterior can indicate corrosion

The first impact is to your clothes, whereas the second impact is to your washing machine’s durability and long-term health. Whereas interior rust stains are fairly easy to remove, exterior stains are more problematic.

Interior Stains

rusted washer drum

One of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to deal with rust stains within the washer is to use vinegar or lemon juice. Due to the levels of acidity within these kitchen cupboard regulars, they are perfectly suited to breaking down the iron oxide compounds that bring about rust. We’re not going to bore you with a chemistry lesson, but lemon juice and vinegar can both dissolve the iron compounds that contribute to the rusting process.

To get rid of those stains, just plop 2 cups of lemon juice into the machine, and complete a wash cycle (without clothes).

If you’re using white distilled vinegar, add 2 cups of white vinegar. Let it sit for an hour, and then put the machine through a full wash cycle (without clothes).

If you’ve tried both these methods, and you’re still finding rust stains on your clothes, the rust issue may not just be located within the washer – but rather the pipes. This is particularly true of households that use galvanised iron pipes. If there is rust within the pipes supplying water to the machine, then you’ll need to get the pipes replaced.

Exterior Stains

rusted washer exterior

While some rust stains are purely surface, others are far more indicative of rust that is spreading to surrounding areas. This can be a problem as, if untreated, this rust can end up damaging metal that is vital to the function of your washing machine.

Much like rust spots on a car, you can follow a process to remove these rust stains by sanding, filling and coating the rust. In order to do this, you’ll require the following materials:

  • Cloth/Rags
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Rust Dissolver
  • Rust Inhibiting Primer
  • Appliance Enamel
  • Auto Body Filler
  • Plastic Putty Knife
  • 150-grit Wet and Dry Sandpaper

Step 1

Spray a one-to-one solution of both water and vinegar onto the area of surface rust, leave it to dissolve the rust for five minutes, and wipe it away with your cloth or rag. As an alternative, you can rub stains off by using a mix of baking soda and water.

Step 2

Use your 150-grit wet and dry sandpaper to sand rust off any of the corroded segments of the machine. When this is no longer effective, use a rust dissolver to deal with the leftovers. Follow the instructions for the product, and then wipe it off.

Step 3

Now it’s time to fill the areas that have been eroded by rust. Take your auto body filler, mix it with the hardener, and apply it smoothly with the plastic putty knife. For a smoother finish, flatten it with your sandpaper before it sets.

Step 4

Use the rust-inhibiting primer to prepare the affected areas, before coating them with enamel that is matched to the colour of your appliance. Make sure to check with your machine’s manufacturer to see if they can provide the exact enamel.

Removing Rust Stains From Chrome

When removing rust from chrome, the process is much simpler. Here’s what you need:

  • Dry Cloth or Rag
  • Aluminium Foil
  • Car Wax

To remove stains from chrome, just simply get (or cut off) a small piece of aluminium foil, wet it, scrunch it up and rub the affected area. Once the surface has smoothed, simply take a cloth or a rag and remove the rust residue. To prevent the area from rusting again, just apply some car wax.

Just be sure to remove any rust stains that you see on your washing machine as, if left untouched, the rust will spread until it begins to affect the workings of your machine.

If your machine has already reached this point, or you’re uncomfortable with performing the above maintenance, you’ll need a repair company – such as Repair Aid – to come in and sort out the problem.

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