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Does Cold Weather Humidity Cause Your Tools to Rust?


Does Cold Weather Humidity Cause Your Tools to Rust?

When the weather turns cold, we often forget about our tools left in the shed or garage. Summer humidity is a given. But even in the cold, our tools can rust, and it’s not just because of the ice and snow; humidity also plays a significant role. This article looks at how cold weather humidity can make your tools rust and what you can do to keep them safe.

Does cold weather cause rust?

Cold weather alone doesn’t cause rust; rust occurs when metal is exposed to moisture and oxygen over time. However, cold temperatures can affect how quickly rust forms in a few ways. In cold climates, the air holds less moisture, leading to condensation when warm, moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces, including metal tools. This condensation provides the moisture needed for rust to form. 

Additionally, deicing salts in cold weather can accelerate rusting by lowering the freezing point of water, allowing moisture to remain in contact with metal surfaces for longer periods. Therefore, while cold temperatures don’t directly cause rust, the conditions they create can undoubtedly contribute to the rusting process.

At what humidity will tools start to rust?

Rust shows up on tools when the air around them gets quite damp, usually when the humidity or water vapor hits around 60% or more. This dampness gives the perfect amount of moisture that rust needs to start forming through a process where the iron in the tools reacts with oxygen and water. Even if the air isn’t particularly humid, condensation can cause rust on your tools. Condensation happens when tools get colder than the air around them, making water from the air settle on them like dew. 

To avoid this, keeping your tools in a well-ventilated, dry place, such as a garage or toolbox, is a good idea. Regardless of where you put your tools, you should keep the surrounding humidity below 50%. This helps keep your tools safe from rust, ensuring they last longer and are ready to use whenever needed.

How do you keep tools from rusting in a humid garage?

Keeping your tools from getting rusty in a damp garage means keeping the area dry and your tools well-protected. You can use a dehumidifier to pull excess moisture out of the air. Throwing in some silica gel packets, which soak up moisture, into your toolboxes or drawers can also make a big difference. Coating your tools with oil or wax creates a shield against dampness, and making sure they’re dry before you put them away stops rust before it can start.

If you’ve tried these tips but your tools are still getting rusty in the garage, RC Industries has a custom solution that could help. We make sturdy toolboxes that protect your tools from the damp and cold. Whether you need a box for your truck or something for the garage, RC Industries can build it. Our toolboxes keep out moisture, meaning your tools stay dry and ready to use, no matter how humid. With a toolbox from RC Industries, you can rest easy knowing your tools are protected from rust, letting you focus on your work without the hassle of dealing with rusty equipment.

Need a custom metal fabricator?

RC utilizes continuous improvement methods, high-quality materials, and the best fabrication tools money can buy; we constantly refine our toolboxes and other products to give you the best result at the most economical rates. If you struggle with your current supplier’s quality, try RC. Contact us today, and you will find that we deliver as promised.