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Can Kitchen Appliances be Painted?

Can Kitchen Appliances be Painted? - Maria's Condo

In the realm of home improvements, the kitchen often commands a lion's share of attention—and for good reason. The kitchen is, after all, the heart of the home. But what if your budget doesn't stretch to brand new appliances? The solution might be simpler than you think: painting your kitchen appliances.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the process of painting your kitchen appliances, from the best types of paint and primer to buy, to the detailed steps of the painting process. Let's get started!

Why Paint Your Kitchen Appliances?

Kitchen appliances don't come cheap. And sometimes, you might find yourself in a situation where your appliances function perfectly well but their color or finish doesn't match your kitchen's aesthetic.

Perhaps you've remodeled your kitchen and your once-cool black refrigerator is now a glaring mismatch against your new white cabinetry. Or maybe your appliances are showing signs of age with nicks and scratches marring their surfaces.

In these scenarios, painting your appliances can be a cost-effective solution, breathing new life into your kitchen without breaking the bank.

Choosing the Right Paint and Primer

The first step in your journey to painting kitchen appliances is choosing the right paint and primer. Here's what you need to know:

Primer: The Foundation of a Great Paint Job

The purpose of a primer is to block stains and bond to surfaces. Since you're not looking to block any stains on your appliances, opt for a primer specifically made to bond to metal surfaces.

Traditionally, oil primers were used for this purpose, but they come with a strong and unpleasant odor. Today, a variety of water-based bonding primers are available, which can stick to tile, metal, and even glass.

Examples of these primers include Insl-X Stix, Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond, and Zinsser Extreme Adhesion Primer.

For a professional-grade option, consider Direct To Metal (DTM) primers. These are tailor-made for coating metal surfaces and are often used for industrial purposes. A popular choice is the Sherwin Williams DTM Acrylic Primer.

Paint: The Star of the Show

After the primer, comes the paint. This is where you can inject your personality and design aesthetic into your kitchen appliances.

For a DIY project, you might consider either an acrylic enamel or a hybrid enamel. Acrylic enamel is a tough and durable water-based paint, while a hybrid enamel is an oil/water mix that offers the best of old-school oil enamel with the ease of application associated with acrylic paints.

A popular acrylic enamel is Benjamin Moore Scuff-X. For a hybrid enamel, consider Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane. A satin finish is recommended in both acrylic and hybrid enamels.

For a pro-grade option, consider Acrylic DTM paint. This product is typically available in satin or semi-gloss and is a perfect match for metal surfaces. Try out DTM enamel for a factory finish in nearly any color.

Preparing Your Kitchen Appliances for Painting

With your paint and primer selected, it's time to prepare your appliances for their transformation. The preparation stage is crucial to achieving a smooth and lasting finish. Here's a step-by-step guide:

The Sand, Vac & Tack Method

  1. Clean: Start by cleaning the surface of your appliance to remove any dirt or grime.
  2. Sand: Use 180-grit paper to sand all metal and plastic surfaces. This gives the existing finish some "tooth," improving the adhesion of the primer and paint.
  3. Vacuum: Use a shop vac with a brush attachment to remove any particles from the sanded surfaces.
  4. Tack: Wipe the surfaces with a microfiber cloth dampened with water. This leaves the surface clean and ready for the primer.
  5. Mask: Remove handles, seals, and badges if possible. If not, mask them off with high-grade painter's tape. You can also remove the door(s) and lay them flat for painting.

Note: Cover fridge and freezer openings with plastic to keep them dust-free.

Painting Your Kitchen Appliances: A Step-by-Step Guide

With your appliances prepped, it's time to delve into the painting process. Here's how:

Applying Primer

You can apply primer using either a brush/roll method or a spray method.

Brush/Roll Method:

  1. Purchase a soft-bristled nylon brush, such as Purdy Nylox, and a low-nap mini roller (Purdy 4.5″ mini roller frame and a Purdy ¼" White Dove cover).
  2. Begin applying primer with the brush, focusing on edges, nooks, crannies, and areas too small for a roller.
  3. Use the mini roller to apply primer to larger, flat areas. Apply in long strokes with light pressure to minimize brush strokes.
  4. Allow the primer to dry for the recommended amount of time (usually 2-4 hours), then apply a second coat. Work in small areas to maintain a 'wet edge,' which reduces the likelihood of lap marks.

Spray Method:

If you prefer a professional finish, consider using an airless paint sprayer. Build a temporary spray booth and spray the primer. Be sure to follow product directions for drying times and apply a second coat as needed.

Applying Paint

The methods outlined above for primer application—brush/roll or spray—can also be used for painting your appliances.

The pro route is to use Acrylic DTM paint. Spray your appliance with the DTM primer, then apply the DTM enamel for a factory finish in nearly any color. Apply in long strokes with light pressure to minimize brush strokes.

Remember, anything can be painted. For good results, adapt your prep and priming process to the specific substrate—appliances are no exception.

Picking the Right Paint for Different Appliances

The type of appliance you're painting may also influence the kind of paint you use. Here are some considerations:

Appliance Epoxy Paint:

Ideal for unifying the color of your appliances and covering up nicks or discoloration, appliance epoxy paint is a self-priming paint that can be either brushed or sprayed on.

Examples of this paint include Rust-Oleum Specialty Appliance Epoxy Spray (view on Amazon) and Krylon Appliance Epoxy Spray (view on Amazon).

Heat-Resistant Paint:

For appliances that heat up, such as ovens or radiators, you'll need a specialty heat-resistant product. Rust-Oleum (view on Amazon) and Krylon (view on Amazon) are leading suppliers of such products.

Enamel Gloss Protective Spray:

If you want to paint your appliance in a color not typically found in the appliance paint category, consider using regular spray paint, followed by an application of clear enamel gloss protective spray (view on Amazon).

Preparing for the Painting Process

Before you begin, make sure to take some safety precautions. Unplug the appliance from the wall and spread out a drop cloth or plastic sheets to protect your floors and surroundings.

Here's the procedure:

  1. Clean: Remove all hardware (you'll paint this separately) and clean the appliance thoroughly. A little ammonia works wonders to clean off any grease and oil buildup so the paint adheres properly. Make sure to ventilate your space well, as ammonia fumes can be caustic.
  2. Roughen the Surface: Rub a piece of steel wool in a circular motion across the entire surface of the appliance. High-gloss finishes may require an extra pass with 150-grit sandpaper to eliminate the shine. A clean, matte feel is the perfect canvas for a fresh coat of appliance paint.
  3. Mask: Place painter's tape strategically to cover up logos as well as non-removable knobs and buttons.

Important: Always consider your safety. Wear a mask to avoid inhaling fumes and protect your skin with a long sleeve shirt and pants, especially if you're using a spray can.

The Painting Process

Once your appliance is properly prepped, spray, brush, or roll on the product of your choice.

  • If you choose to spray paint, maintain a constant level and distance (approximately 12 inches from the surface) for best results.
  • If you're using a brush or roller, use slow and even strokes to fully coat the entire appliance. If the paint bubbles up, don't panic; in most cases, it will even itself out.
  • Plan to apply two or three coats for a smooth, even finish. Wait 15 minutes between applications, and allow your appliance to dry for 24 hours before touching it.

While painting appliances is not a permanent fix, it does offer you additional time to budget and save for those replacement appliances you've been dreaming about all along.


With a little time and effort, you can transform your kitchen appliances without splurging on brand new replacements. Whether you're looking for a quick update or a more extensive kitchen makeover, painting your appliances can be a cost-effective and rewarding DIY project.

Happy painting!


    1. "How to Paint Appliances: Budget Kitchen Update" - Bob Vila
    1. "The Easy Way to Paint Your Kitchen Appliances" - DIY Beautify

Marias Condo
Marias Condo

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