Rust isn’t only unsightly; it can cause severe, sometimes irreparable, damage to cars, silverware, pipes, household appliances, and many other metal objects. It is formed from the combination of metal and oxygen which yields iron oxide. Rust is most likely to form in moist areas, such as beachside communities, due to oxygen in the air combining with condensation that forms on metal objects. Although it is possible to remove rust in some cases, it can be costly and time-consuming. It is best to practice rust protection techniques such as cathodic protection, bluing, painting, and humidity control to prevent corrosion.
Cathodic protection is a rust protection technique used to prevent rust from forming on objects that are buried or fully submersed in water. This rust prevention method involves running an electrical charge through the object to disrupt the chemical reaction that results in its formation. It is recommended that a professional install this system.
Bluing is a method of rust protection that is highly effective. It is most often used to prevent rust on small steel items such as firearms and household appliances. Both and hot and cold bluing methods are effective in rust prevention, but only the cold method can be performed by novices. Bluing involves removing all oil from the object, polishing it, and then applying a bluing product. Bluing blocks the metal from coming into contact with moisture, which prevents corrosion.
Painting is another method used to get the best rust protection. Paint provides a physical barrier between the metal and moisture, preventing rust from forming. This method, though effective, requires regular maintenance. As soon as the paint begins to chip, moisture accumulates in the area and starts developing iron oxide. This can be prevented by examining the paint regularly and touching up as necessary.
Humidity control is a popular rust prevention technique used by storage facilities, automotive shops and other areas in which tools or vehicles are stored. This method involves the use of a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air, which is required for the formation of rust. Controlling humidity can be costly but it is highly effective, especially when protecting valuable tools and machinery from the corrosive effects of rust.
In addition to these methods, it is recommended that you take the basic precautionary methods to prevent rust. Store tools in a toolbox, or a similar container, out of the elements. Wash and dry silverware immediately after use to prevent food buildup which may result in a harsh cleaning. Store vehicles in a garage, especially when living near the beach or other moist environments.