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Corrosion Prevention of Canned Goods

Some areas have difficulty storing metal canned goods for long periods of time. This is usually caused by very high humidity or exposure to salt in a marine environment. If this is a problem, it is possible to extend the life of metal cans by coating their outsides. I've seen this used on boats here in Florida, especially when loading for a long trip. There are at least five methods that can be used to do this, but for cans that are going to be opened with a can opener that pushes down into the food only the paraffin or mineral oil methods should be used.

PARAFFIN METHOD: Using a double boiler, paraffin is melted and brushed on the clean, unrusted cans. Be certain to get a good coat on all seams, particularly the joints. If the can is small enough, it can be dipped directly into the wax. Care must be taken to not cause the labels to separate from the cans. Do not leave in long enough for the can to get warm.

MINERAL OIL METHOD: Use only food grade or drug store (medicinal) mineral oil. Wipe down the outside of each can with only enough oil to leave a barely visible sheen. Paper labels will have to be removed to wipe underneath with the contents written on the outside beforehand with a marker or leave the under label areas uncoated. Even with a barely visible amount of oil the cans will tend to attract dust so you will need to wipe off the can tops before opening.

PASTE WAX METHOD: Combine 2-3 oz. of paste or jelly wax with a quart of mineral spirits. Warm the mixture CAREFULLY in its container by immersing it in a larger container of hot water. DO NOT HEAT OVER AN OPEN FLAME! Stir the wax/spirits thoroughly until it is well mixed and dissolved. Paint the cans with a brush in the same manner as above. Place the cans on a wire rack until dry.

SPRAY SILICONE: A light coating of ordinary spray silicone may be used to deter rust. Spray lightly, allow to dry, wipe gently with a clean cloth to remove excess silicone.

CLEAR COATING: A clear type of spray or brush on coating such as Rustoleum may be applied. This is best suited for larger resealable cans, but will keep them protected from corrosion for years.


Misc.Survivalism FAQs maintained by Alan T. Hagan, athagan@sprintmail.com
Copyright ©1996, 1997, 1998, 1999. Alan T. Hagan. All rights reserved.

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