The Trick To Make A Rusty Coffee Maker Hot Plate Like New Again

When the hot plate on YouTuber Louis Zettler's coffee maker got a little rusty, he knew just what to do. Armed with a $500 Festool sander and a $1000 Festool vacuum, he swung into action and fixed it up in no time, good as new. Probably better than new, really, given that his coffee maker was rusting from being exposed to coffee, which is something akin to a spoon melting from contact with soup. The good news is that you can do the same surgery on your own coffee machine with a cheap sander and the secret ingredient: a can of high-heat grill paint like Rust-Oleum's Flat Bar-B-Que Black Interior/Exterior Spray Paint ($6.98 from Home Depot).

Rust-Oleum supports using the paint on hot plates and it can manage temperatures up to 1200°F, somewhat hotter than even McDonald's coffee. As an exterior paint designed to prevent rust, it should also be able to handle the occasional drip of coffee that misses the carafe. And it apparently comes in different colors, if you feel the need to funk up your coffee maker a little.

While your coffee maker's hot plate can be used for other beverages and even preparing meals, it's not the ideal way to prepare and protect a pot of coffee. Still, it remains a beloved household appliance for many, so knowing how to fix it could come in handy.

How to refurbish your coffee machine's hot plate

The first step is to sand the original coating off the hot plate. Louis Zettler does this with a random orbital sander, progressing from a coarse (60-80) grit sandpaper to a finer grit (120-150) for finishing smoothness. Near the end of the sanding, he switches to a hand-sanding block to remove rust in some pitting, though you might find it less labor-intensive to use a top-rated cleaning product for removing rust, or a DIY solution like vinegar after sanding.

After a good cleaning and degreasing, the next step is to tape off the parts you don't want painted and then apply the paint. The paint is applied much like most spray paints, in long, even, overlapping coats. While Zettler recommends two to four coats, the manufacturer recommends against multiple coats, so a single coat is probably the safest approach. Take note of the curing instructions on the product can. While the online instructions don't discuss curing beyond stating that it takes 24 hours for a full cure, the Q&A section discusses heating the paint to a temperature most coffee makers can't attain for a full cure. Since that discussion conflicts with the online instructions, which conflict with the instructions on the can, and because the product can vary from store to store, follow the directions on your individual can. Leave the machine out of the kitchen for a while, or use one of our best tricks to get rid of the paint smell.