-- The Home Page of the Finishing Industry

on this site
current topics
Live! From Pine Beach NJ: The world's most popular metal finishing website, and the internet's friendliest corner

topic 28759

Will nail polish prevent rust?

A discussion started in 2004 but continuing through 2018


Q. Hi!

I am having a Science Fair coming up in about a month. I am a little stuck! I thought maybe you can help me! My purpose of the report is to find out which household items can prevent rust?, I am going the coat 4 nails in nail polish, motor oil, cooking spray, and glue. I will then let it sit in a cup of water for 5 days. I need to start writing the rough draft and I don't have enough info. for it. the results were the nail that was coated in nail polish did not rust. I need to find out why? perhaps there is a special ingredient in the nail polish which doesn't allow it to rust. I don't know I can't find out why? please help me find out!


Debbie P.
Student - Passaic, New Jersey, America

simultaneous 2004

A. To have rust, you need iron, moisture and oxygen. When you painted the nail, you kept the moisture and the oxygen from getting to the iron, thus no rust.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. Consider this: Rust is oxidation. You need contact with an electrolyte to rust. You did what with the nail polish to the nail? Did the nail polish stay on the nail when it was in the water?

James Totter
James Totter, CEF
- Tallahassee, Florida

November 16, 2018

Q. Me and some peers are doing a science fair project to see which household projects can prevent rusting, and we are stuck because the teacher asked us to do some research on why nail polish prevents rusting. We are trying to find out what is it that nail polish has that it can prevent rusting and why?

Vanesa Marin
student - Houston, Texas, United Sates

November 2018

A. Hi Vanesa. It's not about a magic ingredient; as James & James explained, it's about putting a coating on the object which discourages water and oxygen from reaching the iron/steel. If you painted the object the result would be similar.Fingernail polish is just probably more available for your experiment.

It's not terribly different from putting your nail or other object into a Zip-loc plastic bag, or sealing it up real good with scotch tape before submerging it ... if you keep the air and water away from the object, it's not going to rust.

Nail polish

But you can certainly research nail polish to understand what is in it. As the acetone solvent evaporates, it leaves a pretty watertight coating on the object.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey
We need "Aloha" now more than ever

If you have a question in mind which seems off topic, please Search the Site

ADD a Q, A, or Comment on THIS topic START an UNRELATED topicView CURRENT HOT TOPICS

Disclaimer: It's not possible to diagnose a finishing problem or the hazards of an operation via these pages. All information presented is for general reference and does not represent a professional opinion nor the policy of an author's employer. The internet is largely anonymous & unvetted; some names may be fictitious and some recommendations may be deliberately harmful.

  If you need a product/service, please check these Directories:

JobshopsCapital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & Consumables Consult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental ComplianceTesting Svcs. & Devices

©1995-2019, Inc., Pine Beach, NJ   -   About   -  Privacy Policy
How Google uses data when you visit this site.