Why your RV fridge may be Rusting (+3 Great Tips to Fix it!)

Put off by those ugly rusty stains on the shiny stainless steel door and sides of your fridge?

Looking for easy and low-cost ways to make the fridge look good again?

While the coating on some fridges lasts, others seem to develop rust spots more than others. If you’re wondering, “Why is my RV fridge rusting,” then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re going to give you the low-down on why your RV fridge may be rusting, as well as 3 proven tips on how to fix it!

Your RV fridge may be rusting for the following reasons:

  1. Scratches or marks that break up the protective coating
  2. Manufacturer defects
  3. The fridge is extremely old
  4. Exposure to moist weather
  5. The overuse of abrasive cleaners

Read on to learn the common causes of rust stains or spots on the fridge so that you can avoid them and how you can fix them should they form on the fridge’s body.

Quick answer. Rust spots form on the fridge’s body when the stainless steel body of the appliance is exposed to the most air.

The shiny coating on the fridge can be damaged by scratches during transportation or when abrasive materials are used when it is being cleaned. Most common rv refrigerators are made of stainless steel, so you’ll need to be careful to avoid this happening.

why your RV fridge may be rusting

Why is your RV fridge rusting?

Damage to the fridge coating exposes the inner steel body to moist air, which can start rusting if the conditions are right.

The damage to the fridge’s coating can come from the following possible causes:

Scratches in the finish

Scratches or marks that break up the protective coating on the fridge if it is not wrapped with a protective covering during transportation or if there is an impact, such as the fridge door hitting against the wall.

You may also be interested in this post: Should you transport a fridge on its side or back?

Appliance defects

There are defects in the appliance caused by the fridge manufacturer that affects the durability of the coating used to cover the stainless steel interior.

Some manufacturers have, in the past, used a protective coating that breaks down easily and exposes the stainless steel to air.

One way to guard against being a victim is to research known issues with a particular fridge model from other users.

You can find this information on support or reseller forums. Doing so can save you a lot of time following up on warranty claims later.

Existing damage

You’re using a refurbished fridge that may be extremely old. Refurbishment may involve refinishing rust stains and spots to restore the original finish, which, if not done carefully, may be more be more susceptible to rust again.

Excess moisture or humidity

Your fridge has been exposed to moisture or moist weather, which can also damage the fridge’s surface, increasing the likelihood of rust. Make sure the fridge is located in a sheltered location away from rain or direct contact with water.

Harsh cleaning methods

You’ve been using abrasive cleaners to clean your RV fridge. When cleaning the fridge, clean it with a soft clean cloth and use mild detergents only to avoid damage to the coating on the fridge.

Damage to the coating exposes it to the air, which then results in rust spots and stains.

For example, when using baking soda to remove bad odors in the fridge, make sure that the baking soda is completely dissolved so that it does not leave a residue that will later scratch the fridge’s surface.

why your rv fridge may be rusting, why is my rv fridge rusting?

How to stop your RV fridge from rusting

To stop your RV fridge from rusting, you can simply do the inverse of any of the previously mentioned reasons rust develops in the first place.

However, one of the most common reasons for rust on a refrigerator is the materials and method of cleaning used. If you want to prevent your fridge from rusting, follow the advice below.

  • Use gentle cleaning materials instead of abrasive cleaners
  • When cleaning the surface of the fridge, do not use any abrasive cleaners such as scouring pads. Instead, use a clean moist cloth to clean the exterior of the fridge.
  • Only use mild detergents, such as soap and warm water. Avoid the use of alcohol-based or chlorine-based cleaners when cleaning the fridge.
  • Make sure you dry the fridge’s surface is wiped dry to remove any water spots that can add moisture to the fridge’s surface.

How to remove rust stains from an RV fridge

Here’s a list of three effective ways to remove rust from your RV fridge. Follow these tips and watch your rust problem disappear!

  1. Olive oil – This substance works great as a cleaner and polishing agent for stainless steel. Just put this stuff on a soft rag and rub it into the steel appliance. Make sure you polish with the grain of the metal for the best results.
  2. WD-40 – Spray some WD-40 on the affected area and then gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush. This is a highly effective way to get rid of rust on your stainless steel appliances.
  3. Baking soda paste – Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 2 cups of water together to make a paste. Apply the paste to the affected area with a rag, then brush the area with a soft-bristled brush. This method has been known to effectively remove rust from stainless steel.
why is my rv fridge rusting

Another way to take care of the problem is to simply paint over it. If the rust stains are too pervasive, this may be your best option. If you decide to go this route, you’ll need to use a specific kind of paint.

You can use epoxy coat spray or brush-on paint available in your appliance’s color to cover the rust stains and spots on the body of the fridge.

For best results, clean the surfaces to remove dust, direct, or any other foreign materials on the surface to be sprayed.

You may have to lightly sand the surfaces to be painted.

Rinse with water and dry thoroughly. Then apply the epoxy spray over the dry area. You may have to apply several coats at intervals to complete the restoration.

Make sure to read the instructions for your particular product.

Summary of RV fridge rust issues

Your RV fridge may rust if the body is scratched or dented or if you use cleaning solutions that have chlorine or alcohol.

Additionally, because of the rugged life of an RV, your fridge may be exposed to the elements in a way that an indoor fridge may not be.

Any of these reasons can cause your appliance to rust. Follow the methods we’ve covered in this article to solve your RV fridge’s rust problems for good!

What causes rust on the outside of a refrigerator?

The rust on the outside of your refrigerator can be caused by dents and scratches that break down the protective coating on your fridge, a manufacturer defect, the age of the appliance, the cleaning solutions you’re using, or exposure to the elements.

How do you clean stainless steel?

You can clean stainless steel by using a microfiber cloth with a white vinegar and water solution.

Why do I have rust on the fridge door?

Rust on the fridge door can be caused by any of the reasons mentioned in this article, including exposure to moisture, either in the air or through liquid spills that weren’t properly cleaned up.

Should I perform routine inspections on my RV refrigerator?

It’s always a good idea to inspect your appliances regularly to make sure there aren’t issues, such as rust, arises that will damage the appliance down the road.

How do I care for an RV refrigerator?

You really just care for an RV refrigerator in the same way you might care for another appliance. Clean it regularly, don’t allow moisture to sit on the appliance for too long, and check it regularly.

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