How to Prevent Rust With Spray


Whether it's a simple wrench or a classic car, nobody wants to see their items rust. There's a good reason for this. Rust isn't only unsightly, it also can damage the item to the point where it is no longer useful. Rust forms whenever iron comes into contact with oxygen, thus forming iron oxide. (See reference 1.) Often, the oxygen is transported via moisture. Therefore, tools that are protected against moisture stand less of a chance of being rusty. Using a spray-on rust inhibitor is one way to protect your items from rust.

Things You'll Need

  • Can of aerosol rust inhibitor or primer
  • Sandpaper or wire brush (if necessary)
  • Purchase a can of spray-on rust inhibitor at your local automotive supply store or hardware store. There are a variety of brands from which to choose. Most are fairly inexpensive and easy to use. Be sure to read the label on the can for specific directions and warnings.

  • Use sandpaper or a wire brush to remove any rust from an item that already has begun to corrode. If the item is painted with rust bubbling up from beneath, you must remove the paint and all signs of rust by sanding or brushing. You need to sand or brush down to the bare metal in order to protect it from future rust. Also, clean the object you want to protect, removing all dirt, dust, wax and any other debris.

  • Allow the object to air dry or dry it manually with a clean rag.

  • Spray the rust inhibitor onto the object you wish to protect from rust, coating the entire metal surface. If you're using a spray-on primer, the process is the same. You need to apply an even coat to the entire surface. If you're using both a rust inhibitor and primer, spray the rust inhibitor first and allow it to dry before applying the primer and any subsequent layers of paint. Follow the directions on the container for exact drying times and alternative application methods.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a dehumidifier in your storage shed, garage or home to reduce the risk of rusting. (See reference 2.) Also, if you're worried about your tools rusting, try storing them in a wooden toolbox, as wood prevents the intrusion of moisture better than metal. If you do not wish to purchase rust inhibitor, you can make your own at home. Mix one part lanolin with five parts paint thinner. You can then put the mixture in a spray bottle and apply it to items you wish to protect or dip the items directly into the solution. (See reference 3.)

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