How to Remove Rust from a Washing Machine


JB asked: There is rust in the washing machine which has ruined clothing. The washer is two years old. It’s a Maytag. Nothing seems to help!

Rust from the washing machine can be a frustrating problem indeed. There can be a variety of causes when rust starts appearing. Look through the possible problems below to help identify a possible source and to see if there are any solutions. Once the problem with the machine is identified, use our list of guides to help remove the rust stains from your clothing.

Possible Rust Problems (and their solutions) with Washing Machines:

  • Rust problems can range from a few mild spots starting to wear, to extensive deterioration of the machine. The state of the rust development as well as the location of the problem are all key factors in whether or not the machine can be kept or should be replaced. If you are handy enough to investigate the machine yourself, it may be easiest. Otherwise, hire a plumber or make a service call from a professional to come and assess the problem for you.
  • If the rust is visible inside of the machine, it may be easy to remove. Run a wash cycle using the hottest setting available, and add two cups of lemon juice to the water.
  • If the rust is in the basket of the machine, it will likely need to be replaced. This often requires the expertise of a service professional or plumber. Contact the manufacturer for the replacement pieces.
  • Sometimes, a protective finish can be applied to the problem areas inside of the machine. While a temporary fix, it can hold off the purchase of a new machine for several months, sometimes more. For additional information regarding this, see our guide How to Remove Rust and Restore Metal.
  • Some rust stains come from the water and not the machine. If rust is present in the pipes, it can travel in the water to the washing machine where it comes in contact with the clothing. Unfortunately, other than replacing the damaged pipes, there is no way to fix this problem.

Removing Rust Stains from Laundry:

  1. For tips and advice for removing the rust stains, view our reader’s comments in the guide How to Remove Rust Stains.
  2. Additional advice is available on our page, How to Clean Rust.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Rust can occur in a dryer as well, though it’s not as common. Check the drum of the dryer to ensure no areas are starting to rust and cause the stains.
  • Check the warranty on the machine, many of them are covered for several years against problems such as this.
  • Be aware, that once a rust problem has started, it is likely to return, even after preventive actions have been taken. Keep a close eye on the machine to spot problems in their early stages.


  1. We purchased an LG, most expense washer we could find for the quality in 2011. By 2012, we noticed rust forming on lid hinges and lid itself. Bleach well and you can run hand under the body, which holds the tub, and rust will come off onto your hand. This is 2014 and the problem is getting worse. We purchased a 4-year extended warranty, but we were told this doesn’t cover cosmetics, only electrical or mechanical problems. We paid over $1000 for it. Help needed in Ohio.

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