Will Nail Polish Prevent Or Stop Rust? (Explained)

Did you know that nail polish has so many other uses apart from painting your nails?

Nail polish is one of those household items that has many practical uses. One of those practical uses for nail polish is preventing rust.

Here is How Nail Polish Works to Prevent Rust:

Rust on metal objects is caused by water and oxygen. Rusting is a chemical reaction that forms on metals in contact with these two elements. Because nail polish is a waterproof substance, it can block these elements when painted on a piece of metal, so it does not rust.

Can Nail Polish Prevent Or Stop Metal From Rusting?

We have many metal items around the house, and sometimes, they rust, especially if they are made from iron or any other metal with high iron content.

When an object starts to rust, it will wear out faster and eventually break down. Not to mention that it can be a health hazard as rusty and irregular surfaces tend to harbor bacteria.

This is why it is important to protect metal objects around the house by applying products that prevent rust. If you do not have one available at home, you can use nail polish.

According to Car Expert, Peter Jones:

Applying nail polish on a car’s scratch seals the exposed metal, preventing moisture penetration. The nail polish will block the water from causing oxidation, thereby averting the process that causes rust

So, nail polish can prevent metal from rusting!

Rusting happens when a metal object comes in contact with oxygen and water or moisture. Since nail polish is water-resistant, it can prevent oxygen and water from coming in contact with metal.

So if you have household items that are made of metal, a quick coat of clear nail polish can effectively protect them and prevent them from rusting.

If you have a metal item that has already started to rust, you can use nail polish to contain the area and prevent it from spreading. Just apply a coat of clear nail polish around the rusty area, so it does not spread.

Can Nail Polish Remove Rust Entirely?

Nail polish is a common household item that you can use to prevent metal from rusting. It is effective and provides a simple fix, so you do not have to buy any additional anti-rust products.

You can only use nail polish to add a layer of protection so you can prevent metal from rusting. If you have a metal object that is already rusty, you cannot use nail polish to remove it.

However, you can use any of these other household items to remove the rust:

  • Acetone – Scrub the rust off a metal object using a sponge dampened with acetone.
  • White Vinegar – Soak your rusty metal objects in vinegar for a few hours or until the rust is gone.
  • Salt and Lemon – Rub some salt over the rusty object and then add lemon. Let it sit for a few hours, and then scrub it off.
  • Baking Soda – Mix baking soda with water to form a paste and rub it all over the rusty object. Then scrub it off.
  • Molasses – Mix one part molasses with ten parts water and soak the rusty object in this mixture until the rust has dissolved.
  • Sand Paper – Use 40-grit sandpaper to remove and scrape off the rust, then use 120-grit sandpaper to feather the edges.

And once you have removed the rust using any of the household items above, you can use the nail polish to coat the metal object to prevent it from rusting again.

Does Nail Polish React Badly To Metal?

Nail polish has so many practical uses around the house, especially for metal objects. Nail polish is a cheap and useful product if you want to prevent rust from forming on metal objects.

In general, nail polish does not react badly to metal. Nail polish works to protect metal and prevent it from getting rusty.

One of the main ingredients of nail polish is a polymer, and the common type of polymer used is nitrocellulose. Polymers are what plastics are made of, so these chemical compounds are known to be waterproof.

The polymer in nail polish works by forming a film on the surface of the nails.

So when nail polish is applied to metal, it will act the same way it does to nails. The solvent will evaporate, and the polymer will form a film on the surface of the metal that eventually solidifies.

Thus it forms a thin waterproof coat on the metal that is effective in protecting it and preventing it from getting rusty.

Can Clear Nail Polish Be Used As A Sealant?

Since nail polish adheres to most surfaces, it can be used as a sealant for different objects or items around the house.

You can use clear nail polish to seal an envelope if the glue on the envelope is not sticky enough. It can also be used as a substitute for glue for crafting.

You can also use clear nail polish to seal splinters in wooden items. If you have wooden items in your home that shows signs of splintering, you can apply a quick coat of clear nail polish to seal them and make the surface smooth and splinter-free.

Use nail polish to reattach gems. If you have some jewelry where the gems have become loose, you can use nail polish to stick them back onto the jewelry.

You can use nail polish to repair cracked windows or windshields. If your window has a tiny crack, you can apply a coat of nail polish on both sides to mend the crack and prevent it from getting bigger.

Similar to windows, nail polish can also help repair a chipped tile. If the tiles in your home have small chips or cracks, you can fix them by applying a small amount of nail polish to the crack. Just make sure to use nail polish in a color that’s close to the color of your tiles.

You can also use clear nail polish to fix a torn window screen.

Use clear nail polish to tighten loose screws. If you cannot get a screw to fit properly on a DIY project, add a coat of clear nail polish. This will thicken the screw slightly, so it fits snugly.

Nail polish can also keep screws in place, especially for eyeglasses. No need to go to the optician to get the screws on your eyeglasses tightened. Just apply a tiny amount of nail polish, and it should keep the screws of your eyeglasses in place.

If your leather bag or shoes has scuff marks, you can use clear nail polish as a sealant to hide those marks.

Can You Waterproof Metal With Nail Polish?

The polymer in nail polish makes it water-resistant, which is one of the best qualities of nail polish. This quality has also made it a versatile product that has many household uses.

You can waterproof metal with nail polish. Just add a quick coat of nail polish onto any metal object.

Nail polish works like an enamel paint that, when you apply it onto any object – tends to adhere very well and stay on for a very long time. When you make a metal waterproof, you can prevent it from getting rusty.

Apart from metal, nail polish can waterproof other objects or items around the house:

  • Costume Jewelry – Waterproofing costume jewelry with nail polish makes it tarnish-proof.
  • Car – If your car has a tiny area with chipped paint, you can use nail polish to waterproof it, so it does not become rusty. Make sure to use a nail polish that is close to the color of your car.
  • Cans – Rusty cans of deodorant, hair spray, and other household products can leave marks on surfaces. Use nail polish to waterproof the bottom of the can to prevent it from rusting.
  • Labels – Use nail polish to waterproof food labels to prevent them from smudging and becoming unreadable.
  • Postage – Waterproofing postage labels and stamps using nail polish protects them from different outdoor elements.
  • Matches – Nail polish can also waterproof matches to keep them dry while camping.
  • Garden Markers – Use nail polish to waterproof garden markers to protect them from all kinds of weather.

7 other ways prevent a car scratch from rusting

1. Car paint – specifically designed to protect the vehicle’s body.
2. Clear coat – a transparent layer that guards the underlying paint.
3. Rust inhibitors or rust prevention sprays – creates a barrier that prevents oxidation.
4. Primer – a preparatory coating that prevents rust and ensures better adhesion of paint.
5. Wax or sealant – forms a protective layer that shields from moisture and contaminants.
6. Grease or oil – can temporarily block moisture from reaching the scratch.
7. Using a rust converter – transforms rust into a stable compound, preventing further rusting.

It’s essential to clean the area thoroughly before applying any of these solutions to achieve the best results.


Peter Jones, Author of Auto Basics, A Beginner’s Guide To Car Parts.

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