holiday decoration rust prevention

Rust Prevention for Holiday Decorations, Lights, Cookie Cutters, and More

Want your holiday decorations to last for generations to come (or at least just ’til next season)? Prioritize rust prevention in off-season storage with Zerust vapor corrosion inhibitors.

At this point, the new year has been rung in and the jingle bell rings have faded. Meanwhile, all those festive decorations, cookie cutters, snow globes, figurines, and lights are packed away and prepared for many months of silent nights in the attic, garage, or cubby – at least until the next time Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” is once again dominating the airwaves. But even if you’ve already boxed up all those bibelots, it’s not too late to consider corrosion and rust prevention. Chances are, at least some of the trimmings you have tucked away are made of metal. Unless your storage solution includes air-tight enclosures in a temperature-controlled place, there’s a good chance rust, corrosion, and tarnish can take hold.

And sure, some holiday decorations are basically semi-disposable. (Think mostly lights and tinsel.)  However, if you took the time to pack them up, you’re hoping they’ll at least be in decent shape when you go to take them out next year. Beyond that, most of us like to hang onto holiday items that are family heirlooms and precious keepsakes our kids made in kindergarten. And while it’s possible to replace things like Christmas lights, few of us look forward to swapping them out every year if we can help it. Plus, corrosion can be present even if you can’t see it – a potential safety risk when you’re dealing with any  electrical or battery-powered components.

Some folks ease their minds about corrosion by assuming even if there is a little rust, it can likely be easily removed. But that fails to take into account just how quickly corrosion damage can spread. Even if you’ve never had an issue before with storing items before, all it takes is one slight variation in environmental factors to become a big problem. Plus, there’s always the risk rust removal won’t be successful. You might even end up causing even more damage than you started with – an especially heartbreaking prospect when it’s Nona’s menorah or Jamal’s handprint ornament. Rust prevention – rather than mitigation – is always the better approach.

Luckily, vapor corrosion inhibitors do the trick. They’re also inexpensive, non-toxic, and super easy to use in just about every type of storage container.holiday decoration rust prevention

Why Your Stored Holiday Stuff Rusts

Virtually all metal materials are susceptible to corrosion under certain conditions. Many holiday ornaments, decorations, and dinnerware are made with some combination of metal, glass, wood, and plastic. When they’re exposed in storage to oxygen, humidity, dissimilar metals, etc., they’re vulnerable to corrosion.

Different types of corrosion include:

  • Galvanic corrosion. This is corrosion that occurs when dissimilar metals are in electrical contact, particularly in the presence of water or moisture.
  • Pitting corrosion. This is a type of localized corrosion that occurs when spots or pits appear on metal, typically accelerated due to a layer of protective coating breaking down.
  • Stress corrosion cracking. This is usually a sudden, unexpected cracking that occurs when certain metals are exposed to extreme temperatures.
  • Aqueous corrosion. This is a type of corrosion that involves an electrochemical reaction of material due to exposure to humidity, moisture, or water. Rust is an example of aqueous corrosion. It occurs when iron or iron alloys become exposed to oxygen and water or moisture. The rate at which it accelerates depends on the temperature, ion concentration in the materials, ambient air pressure, bacteria, electrolyte reactivity, bacteria, and the presence of other reactive materials or metals. It can appear as rust, pitting, crevice corrosion, intergranular corrosion, or general corrosion.
  • Tarnishing. Some people use the terms “tarnish” and “corrosion” interchangeably, but tarnish is actually a type of corrosion. It typically involves noble metals like gold, silver, or platinum. These materials don’t easily corrode. However, they can tarnish over time. Tarnish is a thin surface layer of corrosion that occurs on the outermost surface, usually showing up as a dull, gray coating. Tarnish forms a sort of protective layer around the underlying material so that it isn’t harmed.

rust prevention holiday decorationsHeirloom pieces like menorahs, nativity sets, tree toppers, fine silverware/glassware/china, cookie cutters, vintage train sets and figurines, frames and wall art – all need to be protected from the risk of corrosion while in storage. Exactly how you do that depends on what it’s made of as well as what type of storage you’re using.

Rust Prevention for All Your Bells & Baubles

Although storing holiday decorations and other items is notoriously tricky (they’re all odd shapes and sizes and often fragile), most people opt for some form of clear, plastic bin with labels.

No matter what your storage solution, Zerust has a number of products that can help prevent rust, tarnish, and other types of corrosion. These include:

  • Plastabs. These are ultra-thin polyethylene squares made with vapor corrosion inhibiting technology. A few dozen of them won’t even set you back more than a few bucks, and they last up to 2 years. They’re non-toxic, and won’t compromise metal or any other materials. Toss a few of them in each bin of holiday supplies to protect against rust and corrosion. We also have vapor corrosion capsules and anti-tarnish vapor capsules, the latter ideal for protecting silver.
  • Drawer liners. These are advertised for tools, but they’re great for any metal material you store in an enclosed drawer and want to keep protected from the risk of corrosion. Anywhere from $9 to $19, and each piece can be cut to fit the size you need. We also have anti-tarnish drawer liners if the materials you’re protecting are silver or other noble metals.
  • Anti tarnish silver storage bags. Silver candlesticks, menorahs, silverware, serving dishes, and more can be protected when stored inside VCI anti tarnish storage bags.

If you don’t see something that exactly fits what you’re looking for, chances are we can help you find a solution among our products.

Contact Zerust for information on corrosion protection of holiday decorations by emailing us or calling (330) 405-1965.

Additional Resources:

How to Store Every Type of Christmas Decoration in the Off-Season, According to Organizing Experts, Nov. 18, 2022, By Blythe Copeland, MarthaStewart.com

More Blog Entries:

Anti-Tarnish Protection for Your Silver Jewelry and Serving Pieces, Jan. 28, 2018, Zerust Rust Prevention Blog