Spray painting a fridge is possible, but it requires some preparation and care to ensure a quality, long-lasting paint job. With the right steps, spray paint can update the look of an outdated fridge or coordinate it with a new kitchen design.
Can You Spray Paint a Fridge?
Yes, you can spray paint a refrigerator. Most fridge surfaces like steel, plastic, and aluminum can be spray painted. However, extra preparation is needed compared to typical spray paint jobs. Refrigerators have condensation, grease, dirt, and cooling lines that require thorough cleaning and potentially masking. The right prep work, primer, paints, and clear coat will allow a fridge to be spray painted.
How to Spray Paint a Refrigerator
Follow these steps for a successful refrigerator spray paint project:
- Clean the fridge thoroughly with soap and water to remove grease, dirt, and condensation residue. Degreasing cleaners can help remove stubborn grime.
- Lightly sand the surfaces with fine grit sandpaper to help the paint adhere. Be careful not to overly scuff plastic or scratch stainless steel.
- Mask off any areas you don’t want painted, like rubber gaskets or brand nameplates. Painter’s tape and paper work well.
- Apply 2-3 thin coats of primer, waiting for it to fully dry between coats. Primers help the paint stick.
- Spray on several thin layers of appliance paint, allowing drying time between coats. Thin coats prevent drips and runs.
- Finish with 2-3 coats of clear sealer for added protection and sheen.
Be sure to follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions closely, including recommended dry times between coats. The fridge door and handles usually require extra coats since they get more wear. Maintain a wet edge and keep the can 10-12 inches from the surface while spraying for a smooth finish.
What Kind of Paint to Use?
Special appliance paints are formulated to withstand condensation, grease, frequent opening and closing, and temperature changes inside a refrigerator. Standard house paints will crack and peel under these conditions. Use high quality acrylic enamel paints made specifically for appliances. Some good options are:
- Rust-Oleum Appliance Epoxy
- Rust-Oleum Specialty Appliance
- Krylon Fusion for Plastic
- Montana Spray Paint Appliance
Primer helps the paint stick to slick surfaces like plastic and metal. Adhesion promoting primers made for plastics and metals are ideal for refrigerators. Some top primers include:
- Rust-Oleum Automotive Primer
- Dupli Color Adhesion Promoter
- Krylon Fusion for Plastic Primer
A clear acrylic sealer protects the finish and gives it a uniform sheen. Use spray on polyurethane, acrylic, or epoxy clear coats.
Painting Fridge Parts
The refrigerator cabinet, doors, and handles can all be spray painted, but some parts have extra considerations:
- Exterior plastic – Use plastic primer and paints to flex with the plastic. Lightly scuff with fine sandpaper first.
- Stainless steel – Special primers and paints made for metal adhere best. Mask off brand nameplates.
- Interior plastic – Avoid painting the interior since paint could chip and flake off onto food.
- Rubber gaskets – Mask these off to avoid getting paint on the seals which keep the fridge sealed.
- Coils and lines – Keep paint off refrigerant lines, wires, and the back coils to allow proper airflow.
What Supplies are Needed?
Gather these supplies before starting your refrigerator spray paint project:
- Appliance paint in your color choice
- Adhesion primer for plastic/metal
- Masking tape and paper
- Tack cloths
- Clear acrylic sealer
- Painters tape
- Drop cloths
- Paint sprayer or canned spray paint
Optional supplies that are helpful include degreasing cleaners, finer grit sandpaper for plastics, and foam brushes for touch ups.
How Long Does Spray Paint Take to Dry on a Fridge?
Spray paint dries more slowly on refrigerators than on other surfaces. The metal and plastic don’t absorb paint like wood or drywall. Expect longer dry times:
- Primer coat – 1 hour
- Paint coats – 2 hours
- Clear coat – 2 hours
Cooler temperatures and higher humidity will also extend drying times. Allow paint to cure 24-48 hours before regular use of the fridge.
Does Spray Paint Stay on a Refrigerator?
Spray paint adheres very well to refrigerators if proper preparation and painting steps are followed. Priming, good surface prep, quality paint, and a clear sealer allow the paint to stick to slick metal and plastics on a fridge. Appliance paint is formulated to resist condensation, temperature fluctuations, and cleaning chemicals.
Standard spray paint not made for appliances may eventually peel, crack, or scratch off due to the unique conditions a fridge encounters. Stick with appliance epoxy paints and thorough prep for a long lasting finish.
Spray Painting Fridge Tips
Follow these tips for best results spray painting your refrigerator:
- Clean inside the fridge too to limit odors absorbing into the fresh paint.
- Remove doors, drawers, and shelves if needed to fully spray all sides.
- Use painter’s tape for clean lines around doors, handles, and edges.
- Keep layers thin and allow proper drying between coats.
- Spray paint outdoors or in a well ventilated area.
- Run the fridge empty for 24 hours after painting before returning food.
What Kind of Primer for a Refrigerator?
The best primers for refrigerators are:
- Adhesion promoting spray paint primers made for metal, plastic, or both
- Rust neutralizing metal primers for stainless steel fridges
- Plastic bonding primers that flex with plastic parts
Common brands include Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Primer, Krylon Fusion for Plastic Primer, and Dupli-Color Adhesion Promoter Primer. Whichever brand you use, make sure the primer is specifically designed to stick to slick metal and plastic.
Should I Remove Doors When Painting a Fridge?
Removing the doors makes spray painting a refrigerator much easier. With the doors off, you can fully paint the cabinet sides and access hard to reach spots. Removing doors and drawers is recommended if you’ll be spraying a different color than the original fridge color.
If simply touching up chips or spraying the same color, you may be able to tape off the doors and spray without full removal. Make sure to support doors carefully when removed and reattach them properly after painting.
Can You Use Chalk Paint on a Refrigerator?
Chalk paint is not recommended for refrigerators because it does not hold up well to moisture, condensation, and frequent opening and closing. The wax sealer on chalk paint will also melt off in a fridge.
Stick with high quality appliance epoxy paints, primers, and clear coats designed for refrigerators. Chalk paint may chip, smear, and rub off easily on a fridge.
Can You Use Wall Paint on a Fridge?
Standard wall paints are not formulated to withstand the temperature fluctuations, humidity, and abuse appliances endure. House paint will likely peel, crack, or rub off quickly on a refrigerator.
Specialized high-gloss appliance epoxy paints resist moisture, grease, condensation, and wear much better. They flex and adhere well to plastics too. Invest in the right appliance paint for a durable fridge paint job.
Should You Remove Fridge Shelves Before Painting?
Removing all shelves and drawers allows you to fully paint the refrigerator interior. It also prevents paint from dripping on surfaces below. But for small touch ups, you may be able to carefully tape off shelves and avoid removal.
For major fridge paint jobs, take everything out that you can. Use painter’s tape around drawer edges. Number shelves and bins to ensure proper reinstallation.
While it requires careful preparation and the right paint, spraying a refrigerator is a doable DIY project. Thorough cleaning, proper primer, appliance paint, and an acrylic clear coat allow fridges to be spray painted for a customized, updated look. Following appliance paint directions and allowing for longer drying times leads to a smooth, lasting finish.
With some time and effort, spray paint can give an outdated fridge or drab white appliance a fresh, new color. Just be sure to use specialty paints designed for the demanding conditions inside a hardworking refrigerator.