How to Refinish a Refrigerator Door

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Things You'll Need

  • Water-based degreasing cleanser
  • Coarse nylon pad
  • Shop rags
  • Towels
  • Palm sander
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Mineral spirits
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Canvas drop cloth
  • Acrylic primer
  • Roller frame
  • Nap roller cover
  • 4-inch polyester paintbrush
  • Appliance epoxy paint or acrylic enamel
  • Galvanized metal etching primer

Over time, a refrigerator door may become marred by nicks and stains. While some people may opt to purchase a new appliance for aesthetic reasons, if your refrigerator runs effectively, you may wish to rejuvenate its appearance by adding a new finish. Whether the door is vinyl or metallic, it is not suited for new finishes. Before you apply anything, clean the appliance door, or finish failure may occur. Make sure you prepare each surface a certain way based on its composition, or the finish won't last.

Scrub the refrigerator door with a degreaser, using a nylon pad. Rinse the door with wet shop rags. Dry the appliance with towels.

Abrade vinyl refrigerator doors to create a rougher surface suited for primer adhesion. Sand these doors until they feel coarse. Don't sand metal doors.

Wipe the door with a shop rag dampened with mineral spirits. Wait 15 minutes for the spirits to evaporate.

Cover the refrigerator door handle with painter's tape. Slide a canvas drop cloth under the door.

Coat the vinyl refrigerator doors with acrylic primer, using a roller. Smooth the primed door, using a polyester brush. Act quickly before the primer base begins to dry. Let the appliance door dry for two hours.

Carry your painting tools to the bathtub. Wash them under the faucet.

Paint the refrigerator door as you primed it. Apply either appliance epoxy paint or acrylic enamel.


  • Paint metal refrigerator doors as you would vinyl ones, except use a metal-etching primer instead of a latex one.


  • Don't prime refrigerator doors with a latex base. Instead, use an etching primer.

    Smoothing the wet base and finish helps to remove roller marks. Unfortunately, the wrong brush will replace these flaws with brush strokes. Use a polyester brush for this type of project.