How to Keep Steel from Rusting Without Paint? Know-How Can You Store Steel Without Paint?

Protecting steel using paint as a coating is the simplest solution one can think about. It’s also an effective solution.

But, every case doesn’t allow you to paint, like an antique. Not only antiques many objects can lose their beauty due to new paint on them. So, how to keep steel from rusting without paint?

Do you know, it’s not the only solution? You can store steel materials even without a paint coating. Let’s discuss the possible solutions.

How Rust is Form?

Rust is the corroded metal that’s caused due to contact with moisture. There is water particle in the air and oxygen molecule as well. So, it becomes nearly impossible to stop metal from rusting.

If you can stop this contact by any means, it’s a win for you.

So, let’s get to know how to create a barrier for moisture.

Ways to Keep Steel from Rusting WITHOUT Paint!

1. Galvanization

Galvanizing is yet another effective solution for saving metal from corrosion besides paint. It’s the process of zinc coating over steel material instead of paint. Now, you can say, hey, zinc corrodes as well.

Yes, it does. But zinc has a corrosion rate of 30 times less than iron. So, even if it doesn’t stop corrosion, it can increase the life span of the material.

But, hey, there is also a limitation to what extent galvanization can protect your metal. Zinc won’t be able to keep your material from a harsh environment of acid rain or salty water.

Who should avoid it?

If you want your metal untainted and want to protect it with a transparent layer, then galvanizing isn’t for you. The process changes the outer look by adding a layer. Moreover, the screws and any visible threads will get covered.

But, if you are not concerned with the look and want a cheap yet effective method, go for it.

2. Bluing

Ever heard of this method of rust prevention? I bet many of you haven’t. It’s a coating procedure that gives partial protection against rust. The black oxide coating gives a blue-black appearance and so it’s named bluing.

Oxidation takes place that involves electrochemical conversion. Due to the oxidation, the reddish particle of iron flakes off.

The resulting blue-black particles are also rust, which is less damaging. The magnetite layer fights rust with rust.

So, how it’s done?

The process of bluing involves high temperatures. Another thing it involves is the salt solution as we are creating another rust here.

Who uses this method?

It’s not a cheap method. The process is done on the national level like the protection of firearms. Moreover, this process needs maintenance. Unless you regularly oil the steel, bluing won’t give the best result.

3. Oil Application

Oil application is an ancient yet most effective way of storing the metal. Whether the material is in use or not, oil application can save you from rusting.

You are well aware of this method if you are a gin owner. Oil not only prevents rusting but also keeps the parts well movable.

So, what’s the mechanism?

The method isn’t complicated at all and most of us already know it. Oil has water-repelling characteristics and so, it creates a protective layer against moisture. Hence, the steel is protected.

Is there any drawback?

Sadly, it does. Despite being a widely used method, it’s not perfect. Oiling of any material makes it slippery, and less fractionable. Moreover, oil attracts dust particles from the surrounding. As a result, the stuff got dirty within a few hours.

At last, the process can be costly if the project is bigger.

4. Dry Coating

These are some commercially made product that works with the same principle of oil application. You can say it’s a modified oil application process where you will be having the advantages of oil application without its drawbacks.

The coating layer will eventually create a barrier without any residue on the surface. As the name goes, the surface will remain dry; providing a solid grip on the metal. Isn’t it great?

As it’s a commercially made product, you must be puzzled about which one to buy. Dry Coat Rust is a must-try product. It’s a versatile product, that comes with a sprayer. You can either spray the solution or dip the metal in it, by pouring it into a container.

The best thing is that the solution is transparent and won’t manipulate your metal’s appearance. Another winning point is that you can collaborate this product with other rust-preventing methods.

That means, this product is also effective over a painted or coated object.

5. Alloy Application

Alloys are a mixture of more than one metal. While metals are corrosive, they have a different rate of corrosion. So, alloys are made as a mixture of those metals and the result says that alloys are less corrosive.

You need to go for the welding technique to apply this method. However, don’t forget that changes in steel’s composition will also affect the appearance, toughness, and conductivity.

6. Enameling

Here you will fuse silicates with your metal at a high temperature. At the very end, the powder will be baked on your metal’s surface; giving a barrier against rust.


FOZZ is a balanced blend of chemicals that acts as a primer for the rusted surface. The chemicals have a mixture of phosphoric acid, extenders, and wetting agents, that eventually prevent rusting. As the stuff is transparent, it won’t taint your metal’s outer appearance.

8. Powder Coating

It’s a process of covering your metal with rust preventive powder substance. There is no involvement of water in this process. Hence, it’s a suitable method for projects needing certain finishes.

What’s the mechanism?

The powder that hinders the rust is epoxy, acrylic, polyester, or polyurethane. Static current binds the powder with your metal’s exterior and then melts to form a uniform layer. The melting process is done in a furnace.

The rest is simple. The coating act as a barrier. The downside is that, if there is any exposed portion, it will lead way to rust.

9. VCI Packaging

As the name goes, it’s a storing process that will hinder moisture contact. It’s also known as dry packaging.

In this process, the rust preventive compound is mixed into the packing ingredients. In Vapor Corrosion Inhibitor, chemicals are used to protect ferrous and non-ferrous from rusting,

Inside the packing, the vapor space inside is being filled up, and a protective shield protects the metal’s exterior. So, there remains no room for moisture and the formation of rust. It’s one of the most time-efficient methods.

10. Storage

Apart from all the processes above, if you can stop moisture contact by proper storing, that falls under this section. Proper storage should involve air-tight and water-tight properties.

This method isn’t for objects in use, but objects in shipping or storing.

So, above are the methods of preventing rust, but if rust is already formed and spreading, the matter is more serious. Then you need to look for something active on stopping rust.

Some of the DIY shortcuts you can try at home are: dipping the metal in white vinegar, application of salt and lemon, use of baking soda, or, submerging it in citric acid solution.


Now that, you know, how to keep steel from rusting without paint, hope you won’t panic if you don’t have paint. The processes above involve both commercial-grade and home-based methods which you can use either for your business or homie projects respectively.

FAQs Section

Can Vaseline Prevent Rust?

Petroleum jelly can act against corrosion. If you have any small home appliances, you can give this trick a try. Lightly coat your metal with Vaseline after washing the metal, and you are good to go.

Does Wax Prevent Rust?

Wax can prevent rust and it’s one of the big reasons why wax is used on metal. Wax has water-repelling properties, that stop atmospheric moisture from contact. Hence, rust can’t form.

Can Oil Spraying Prevents Rust?

It does. Not only it can prevent rust to form but also stops the spreading of rust, once it’s formed. Spraying oil penetrates the core of rusted metal and stops further oxidation. So, it’s an effective way to prevent rust.

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