How to Properly Store Screws and Hardware to Prevent Rust

How to Properly Store Screws and Hardware to Prevent Rust

Rust – the ultimate nemesis of DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike. It's like that one pesky cousin who always shows up uninvited and overstays their welcome. But fear not, dear readers, for we're about to tackle the age-old problem of rusty screws and hardware. By the end of this article, you will learn how to properly store screws and hardware to prevent rust.

Take note though, because with stainless steel screws, there is not a need to prevent rust while in storage. Just throw your stainless screws in a box on the shelf and you are good to go!


The Importance of Proper Storage

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let's talk about why proper storage is crucial. Rust is a chemical reaction that occurs when metal meets moisture and oxygen. It's a slow process, but it can render your screws and hardware useless in no time. And let's be real, who hasn't spent hours searching for that one specific screw only to find it's rusted beyond recognition? It's frustrating, to say the least.


The Enemy: Moisture

Moisture is the main culprit behind rust. It can seep into your storage containers, sneak into your workshop, and even hide in the packaging of your brand-new screws. So, how do you keep it at bay? Here are a few tips to get you started:


Store in a dry place: This might seem obvious, but it's essential to store your screws and hardware in a dry, well-ventilated area. Avoid basements, attics, or any place prone to dampness.

Use airtight containers: Airtight containers are your best friend when it comes to storing screws and hardware. Look for containers with tight-fitting lids or consider using plastic bags with desiccant packets.

Desiccant packets: These little packets are like magic. They absorb moisture from the air, keeping your screws and hardware dry and rust-free.


The Best Storage Containers for Screws and Hardware

Now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about the best storage containers for the job. You've got a few options:


Plastic bins: Plastic bins are affordable, easy to find, and come in a variety of sizes. Look for bins with tight-fitting lids and consider adding desiccant packets for extra protection.

Metal containers: Metal containers are a great option if you're looking for something more durable. Just make sure they're coated with a rust-resistant material and have a tight-fitting lid.

Magnetic strips: Magnetic strips are perfect for storing small screws and hardware. They're easy to use, and you can attach them to your workbench or a metal surface.


Organizing Your Screws and Hardware


Now that you've got your storage containers, it's time to organize your screws and hardware. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:


Categorize and label: Categorize your screws and hardware by type, size, and material. Label each container so you can easily find what you need.

Use dividers: Dividers can help keep your screws and hardware organized within each container. You can use cardboard, foam, or even 3D print your own dividers.

Store small items separately: Small items like nuts, bolts, and washers can get lost easily. Store them in separate containers or bags to keep them from getting mixed up.


Additional Tips and Tricks

Here are a few more tips to help you keep your screws and hardware rust-free:


Spray with a moisture repelling oil: I'd maybe say that for very long-term storage, consider spraying screws with a thin coat of WD40, especially uncoated screws such as drywall fasteners. While it is handy to have a range of fasteners on hand at all times, it is well worth buying according to your project requirements and not have large stocks left over to store.

Check on your storage regularly: Regularly check on your storage containers to ensure they're still dry and rust-free. Remove any rusty items to prevent them from contaminating the rest.

Use stainless steel screws: When you use stainless steel screws or fasteners you don’t need to be concerned about rust as they will never rust in any condition.


Storing Like a Pro: The Bottom Line

There you have it, folks! With these tips and tricks, you'll be well on your way to storing your screws and hardware like a pro. Remember, it's all about keeping moisture at bay and using the right storage containers. By following these simple steps, you'll be able to keep your screws and hardware rust-free and ready for action. Happy building!

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