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The best season or the rust season? Preventing summertime corrosion

As temperatures and relative humidity increase throughout the country, corrosion increases right alongside them. While rust often doesn’t make an appearance until the warmer months, it is important to be aware of these issues all year round. Once the corrosion process starts, it doesn’t truly stop, so the best way to tackle rust is to prevent it in the first place!

Rust vs. Corrosion

Corrosion is the process by which materials deteriorate because of oxidation. Corrosion typically involves exposure to air or chemicals and appears in various colors.

Rust is a type of corrosion that specifically applies to the oxidation of iron in the presence of air and moisture. It has an orange-brown color.

What causes rust in your shop?

Rust is a chemical reaction that occurs when metal is oxidized, meaning an acidic substance (even water) comes in contact with iron or steel. The reaction requires an anode (the metal part), a cathode (acid, bacteria, or other contaminate), and a carrier (typically water). When the metal part is affected by oxidation, a corrosion pit is formed.

How is rust prevented?

Quaker Houghton offers an extensive line of rust preventive fluids (RP’s) that can protect your metal parts during storage, transportation, and processing, regardless of your process or materials. Besides making sure that you are using the best RP for your application, follow the best practices below to guide you toward a rust-free shop this season:

1. Maintain your metalworking fluids and test them regularly to prevent contaminants. Monitor concentration, pH, bacteria levels, hardness, chloride & sulfate levels, and tramp oils.

a. Target bacteria levels < 104 CFU/ml
b. Keep chlorides < 100 ppm
c. Chlorides + sulfates should not exceed 125 ppm 

2. Monitor water quality and keep excess water away from tools and workpieces.

a. Poor water quality can result in hard water salts, chlorides, and sulfates. Quality can be improved with water purification systems such as reverse osmosis (RO) and de-ionization (DI)
b. Blow-offs are a good way to remove excess fluid

3. Control atmosphere to prevent moisture/humidity.

a. Maintain a controlled, air-conditioned storage area

b. Keep parts stored far away from open doors, battery storage, and high traffic 
c. Use desiccant during storage and transportation to absorb moisture

The above tips, in combination with the correct rust preventive, should set you up for success for the humid season. 

If you have any questions or are seeking product recommendations, don’t hesitate to contact us by phone at 1-888-872-1375 or email us at