The Best Way to Prevent Rust

By Jack Taylor
Rust is a nuisance that can be avoided if metal is protected against it.

Rust is the common term used to describe the corrosion of certain metals, specifically iron and iron alloys. Rust is widely recognized as a red, flaky coating on a metal object. The technical term for rusting is iron oxidization, and it is the result of a chemical reaction between iron, oxygen and water. Other factors can accelerate the oxidation process, and one of the most common is salt. The best do-it-yourself rust prevention is to apply specialist rust prevention coatings and paint to the metal that is vulnerable to rust.

Ensure the metal to be treated is free of rust. If rust has already formed, scrape all flaky and crumbling parts away from the metal using a metal scraper.

Apply an effective chemical-based or organic rust removal treatment solution on the affected area. Organic treatments include vinegar and lemon juice. Wait a few minutes and then scrub the rusted area with iron wool to remove any last traces of rust.

Thoroughly clean the metal that is to be treated. Remove all dust, dirt and grease using hot water and detergent. De-greaser can also be used if necessary. Dry the metal using a towel.

Use sandpaper or a sanding machine to remove any old paint or remnants of rust. Clean the metal again to ensure there is no debris present before applying a coating.

Use a primer with a rust inhibitor to provide the first coating of protection to the metal. Apply the primer with a paintbrush and ensure you entirely cover every surface. Leave the metal to dry in a ventilated area.

Paint the metal using a specialized rust prevention paint or urethane paint. Using a paintbrush, cover the entire surface of the metal and pay special attention to areas that were previously rusted.

Once the first coat is dry, apply a second coat of the same paint to give the metal extra protection. This also reduces the chances that the metal surface will be exposed if the paint is chipped.

Allow the paint to dry thoroughly before moving it or exposing it to anything that could contaminate the coating. Once it's dry, regularly wash the protected metal to ensure the longest possible lifespan of the protective coating.

Tip

Make sure you pick a reputable and proven rust inhibiting primer and paint for best results.

Warning

Use protective gloves to protect against harmful chemicals.

About the Author

Based in the U.K., Jack Taylor has been writing environmental, sports and travel-related articles since 2006. His writing has been featured in publications such as "Drift" magazine, the "Journalist" magazine and the "Newquay Voice" newspaper. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from University College, Falmouth.