Curious minds often find creativity in unexpected places, like accidentally splattering paint on the clothes or even a washing machine.

As colors collide with appliances, a common question emerges: Will paint ruin a washing machine? The answer isn’t as simple as black and white. Factors like paint type, machine surface, and proper cleaning all play a role.

Before you embark on a laundry room art project or face a messy mishap, delve with me into the intriguing world where household chores meet artistic flair.

Discover the potential outcomes and best practices that could save your appliance and spark your imagination.

Will Paint Ruin a Washing Machine?

The paint might ruin a washing machine if it gets inside the spinning mechanism and dislodges any of the gears or other moving parts. Otherwise, it should not ruin your washing machine.

It’s also possible for the paint to chip off and clog the filters or hoses, causing water damage. For this reason, it’s always important to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before painting near a washing machine.

Most recommend avoiding spraying paint anywhere near the machine and waiting until the paint is completely dry before laundering any clothes.

Furthermore, the outcome depends on various factors, such as the paint type, the surface it meets, and your prompt action. Water-based paints are usually less damaging, while oil-based ones can be trickier to remove.

Plastic surfaces might fare better than metal ones. Rapid intervention with gentle solvents and soft cloths can often salvage the situation.

Will Paint Ruin a Washing Machine?

Factors to Consider

When pondering the potential effects of paint on a washing machine, it’s essential to explore two key factors: the type of paint used and the material of the machine’s surface.

Types of paint: Water-based vs. Oil-based

The type of paint involved plays a significant role in determining the level of threat it poses to your washing machine.

Water-based paints, often found in acrylics and tempera paints, generally have a lower risk of causing lasting damage.

These paints are designed to dissolve and mix with water, which makes them more likely to be removable. However, even water-based paints can leave stains if not attended to promptly.

On the other hand, oil-based paints, commonly used in oil paints and certain enamels, can present a more formidable challenge.

These paints are less water-soluble and tend to adhere more strongly to surfaces, making them potentially harder to remove.

Oil-based paint accidents might require extra care and specialized cleaning methods to prevent permanent damage.

Surface material: Metal vs. Plastic

The material of your washing machine’s surface also plays a crucial role in how paint interacts with it. If your washing machine has a metal exterior, the risk of paint-causing damage might be higher due to the porous nature of metal surfaces.

Metal can easily develop scratches and dents when scrubbed or scraped, increasing the chance of paint residue adhering firmly and causing cosmetic or structural damage.

On the other hand, if your washing machine has a plastic exterior, it might be more forgiving. Plastic surfaces tend to be smoother and less porous than metal, which could make it easier to remove paint stains without causing additional harm.

However, this isn’t a blanket rule, as certain types of plastic might also be prone to discoloration or damage if exposed to certain solvents or cleaning agents.

Should You Wash Paint Clothes in a Washing Machine?

Washing painted clothes in a washing machine is perfectly fine as long as you take a few precautionary measures.

First, be sure to turn the garment inside out before washing to protect the paint from coming into contact with the agitator or other parts of the machine that could damage it.

Second, use a gentle cycle and cold water to avoid damaging the paint. Finally, hang the clothes to dry instead of using a dryer, which can also damage the paint.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your paint clothes looking new for longer.

Read more: Why Do Clothes Turn Inside Out In The Washing Machine?

How Do You Get Paint Out of a Washing Machine?

There are a few ways to get paint out of a washing machine. You can try using a degreaser or paint stripper, or you can try using hot water and soap.

If the paint is dried, you can use a utility knife to scrape it off. Be careful not to damage the washing machine while trying to remove the paint.

You also can try to get paint out of a washing machine by mixing 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1 quart of warm water, then pouring it into the machine’s detergent dispenser and running a hot cycle.

Another option is to mix 1/2 cup of ammonia with 1 quart of warm water, pour it into the machine’s detergent dispenser, and run a hot cycle.

If neither of those solutions works, you can try using a commercial paint remover or stripper. Be sure to read the product’s instructions before use, and always wear protective gloves and eyewear.


In the intricate dance between creativity and household maintenance, the question “Will paint ruin a washing machine?” finds its answer in a delicate balance.

While water-based paints and plastic surfaces often offer a safer passage for artistic accidents, oil-based paints and metal exteriors can pose greater challenges. However, it shouldn’t damage your washing machine.

Swift action and mindful cleaning remain the keys to minimizing potential damage.