Do you have a metal medicine cabinet that makes you cringe? Give it a new coat of paint to make it sparkle, and keep it from rusting again!
Are you afraid of what people will see when they open your medicine cabinet? No, not the anti-itch cream or the hair regrowth tonic. I'm talking about the gross rust that's eating away the enamel like a cavity on a sweet tooth. I'm going to show you how to paint a metal medicine cabinet sparkling white, and the proper paint for keeping it rust-free!
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Every morning I was reminded to do something about this ugly pinkish-tan atrocity. I stared at it daily as I brushed my teeth. I vowed to fix it every night as I got ready for bed. Then the cabinet door closed and I promptly forgot about it. Avert your eyes if you're squeamish, because this before picture is just horrifying!
Sometimes simple improvements like this make the biggest impact, and you don't even realize the difference until it's finished.
Materials Needed to Paint a Metal Medicine Cabinet
- Fine steel wool
- Krud Kutter
- Rustoleum Clean Metal primer
- Rustoleum Protective Enamel paint
- Painter's tape
- High quality paintbrush
- Don't skimp on this! You'll see every brush stroke with this thick paint, and finer bristles will make the job turn out much nicer. The brush linked above has a shorter handle, making it easier to get into the corners of the cabinet.
How to Paint a Metal Medicine Cabinet
To Remove, or Not to Remove
I debated taking the entire thing out of the wall and spray painting it with my trusty HomeRight paint sprayer. But the screws holding the cabinet between the studs were just as rusty as the rest of it, and would put up too much of a fight.
I applied painter's tape to the tile around the medicine cabinet and to the mirror frame.
Clean the Metal Medicine Cabinet
First, I gave the entire metal medicine cabinet a good scrubbing with fine steel wool to loosen up all the gunk. Then I applied Krud Kutter to the worst spots. This stuff dissolves rust and makes a smoother surface for painting.
Apply Metal Primer
I let the surface dry for an hour before tackling it with a paintbrush. The entire cabinet got two coats of Rust-oleum Clean Metal Primer, which is perfect for covering up the old rust and ugly pinkish color, as well as preventing future corrosion.
It's stinky stuff, so open up the windows or run the bathroom fan while you're working and as it dries to vent the fumes.
Be aware that this oil-based primer takes a loooooong time to dry. I gave it about 12 hours between primer coats, and 24 hours before applying the final topcoat. You don't realize just how often you use a medicine cabinet until it's out of commission for a few days!
Apply Enamel Paint
For the final coat, I went with Rust-oleum's protective enamel paint in gloss white. This will be the first line of defense against moisture, and the glossy surface will make cleaning easier.
Behold, the power of paint!
No embarrassing rust here!
I took this opportunity to clear out some unused makeup and multiple boxes of floss. Now the medicine cabinet is bright, clean, and organized!
When I see the before next to the after, it really makes me wonder why I didn't do it sooner!
With the right paint for the job, you can transform anything! Here are some other projects I updated with this magical stuff. Just click on the photo to go straight to the post!