how to prevent metal from rusting

How to Prevent Metal From Rusting With Vapor Corrosion Inhibitors

Wondering “how prevent metal from rusting?” It’s a $2.5 trillion global question.

In the U.S. alone, economic losses traced to rust and corrosion top a staggering $276 billion annually, according to NACE International. These figures include losses caused by things like forced facility shutdowns, industrial accidents, power outages, etc. Yet they are actually an underestimate of the issue, as they exclude costs to the environment or individual safety.

Corrosion management is just as critical for consumers as it is the government and large corporations. Whether we’re talking about a U.S. Navy ship or the bicycle you ride on the weekends, at the end of the day, we’re all concerned about the same things when it comes to how to prevent metal from rusting: Asset preservation, cost mitigation, and personal safety.

Some of the same solutions used at a much larger scale can also be used by individual households to preserve consumer products. For example, Zerust products are essential to corrosion solutions for the U.S. military.

Equipment used by armed forces is subjected to harsh conditions, both in use and during storage. Without effective means to prevent rust and corrosion, that equipment becomes compromised, leading to expensive restoration and/or replacement. Over the years, the military has become reliant on Zerust vapor corrosion inhibiting (VCI) products like VCI poly bags, vapor capsules, tube and barrel strips, plastabs and Axxanol spray. Those exact same products are available for consumer household products too.

VCI works by emitting harmless vapor molecules into the air that settle on exposed metal surfaces in an enclosed space, forming a tiny layer of protection that block surface-level electrochemical corrosive reactions like rust and tarnish. The VCI works best in enclosed spaces. When the enclosure opens, the vapors dissipate.

How to prevent metal from rusting consumer products

Preventing Rust on Tools, Firearms, Sporting Goods, Electronics, and Vehicles

In looking at how to prevent rust on metal or metal components, we need to consider that the vulnerability of the item can be influenced by factors such as the specific type of metal, environmental conditions, and the level of maintenance provided.

The consumer products most commonly susceptible to rust and corrosion include:

  • Tools and equipment. Hand tools, power tools, gardening equipment – almost all of these are made of at least some metal components. If tools aren’t properly cleaned and stored, they can be at risk for tool rust.
  • Firearms. Guns and their components, particularly those made of steel, are highly susceptible to rust and corrosion if not properly protected with the right gun cleaning and storage practices -which should include a good gun cleaner and gun oil, as well as a VCI firearm bag or vapor capsule.
  • Automobiles. The undercarriages and other exposed metal parts of vehicles (cars, boats, and motorcycles) are prone to corrosion because of road salt, moisture, dirt/debris, and varying weather conditions.
  • Bicycles. Bike frames, chains, and wheel parts are susceptible to rust, especially in high-humidity/coastal environments. Careful cleaning and a good rust prevention bicycle cover can go a long way toward protecting your ride.
  • Sports and Exercise Equipment. Metal components in sports equipment, outdoor gear, and exercise machines can become corroded when used outdoors or in humid conditions.
  • Musical Instruments. Brass instruments especially can be at risk for rust without correct cleaning and storage with a VCI component.

Fortunately, these are all items for which Zerust offers effective, long-lasting protection against rust and corrosion with thorough cleaning and vapor corrosion inhibitors. They’re environmentally-friendly, non-toxic, and safe when used with products made of multiple materials, including polymers, wood, dissimilar metals, electronic components, and more.

Contact Zerust for information on VCI products to help with rust prevention of a range of consumer products by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.

Additional Resources:

Corrosion Costs and Preventative Strategies in the United States, NACE International

More Blog Entries:

Choosing the Best Gun Oil to Prevent Rust, Jan. 15, 2024, How to Prevent Metal From Rusting Blog