Does Salt Cause Rust?

When it comes to corrosion, protection comes in many forms. Salt is just one of those ways. The first defense against salt is to wash your car immediately as soon as you return home after being away. Failure to wash off any dirt on your car can lead to rust. However, does salt cause rust if you fail to wash it off?

Yes, Salt can cause rust on metal and should never be used as a preventative measure. Yet, there are many people who have recklessly saved money by using this common household item to cure rust stains on metal.

It is important you know that consistent and vigorous use of salt on steel can result in excessive rusting and physical damage to the metal itself. You can find more information on how saltwater damages metals and how to protect and prevent metals from salt rusting.

Ways Salt Can Get to Your Metal

In our different activities at home and in our workplaces, we come in contact with salt and so do our properties such as our cars and others. You may be wondering, how or why would one pour salt on one’s materials or metals? Well, it doesn’t always happen deliberately, and sometimes, you just can’t help it.

Ways Salt Can Get to Your Metal

Thus, there are different ways salt can get to your metal and begin some really dangerous work there if not well taken care of. During winter for instance, ice and snow drown the roads and are capable of causing accidents if allowed to be plied by cars.

Most cities and states undertake the responsibility of working to remove the ice and snow. The treatment they usually carry out to dissolve these ice and snow are with salt. When the salt dissolves the ice it turns into salt water. Now, consider riding the salt-watering road at some high speed. The salt water automatically finds its way right into different parts of your car’s steel parts. The water particles stay for days if not washed immediately

At home also, especially the kitchen, the possibility of salt dissolving in water and finally finding its way to some of your steel properties is common. Some water is naturally salty and if not treated could pose serious corrosion danger to the properties which it is used to wash.

How Salt Causes Rust?

Rust is formed when oxygen and iron (Fe) react in water or moisturized air or vapor. Rust can also be caused by the reaction of iron and chloride in water. Salt or sodium chloride can therefore accelerate the rust or corrosion process of your steel metals by providing an enabling environment for easy current flow in the chemical reaction process.

Does Salt Cause Rust

The flow of current is much easier in salt water than it is in fresh water. Salt water is an electrolytes solution and therefore contains a heavier quantity of dissolved ions than can be found in freshwater. This makes the movement of electrons quite easier in salt water.

Salt accelerates rust because the process of rust is dependent on the movement of electrons. This is exactly why boat engines rust quicker because of their exposure and being submerged in salt water always.

Your metal must not be submerged in salt water, however, before it becomes susceptible to rust. Moisture and vapor bearing salt are equally capable of accelerating the corrosion and rust process.

Salt solution, therefore, speeds up the chemical process that leads to rust since it can act as an electrolyte, allowing the metal (iron) to lose its electrons faster and quicker.

How to Prevent Rust from Salt?

Having known that salt does not cause rust but facilitates and accelerates the process, you need to know and apply as measures by which you will be able to avoid or prevent the process from being quickened.

How to Prevent Rust from Salt

Of course, one of the major properties vulnerable to salt accelerated rust is your car. This is because, almost more than any other metal else, it is the most used in salt littered environments or roads.

Thus, to prevent rust resulting from salt solution in your metal properties or more specifically your car, the following procedures are advised:

Wax Your Car

Waxing your steel properties such as cars before the winter is a good way to save yourself the stress and damage resulting from salt solution.

Wax Your Car

The wax serves as a coat for the sensitive parts of your car and costs less than it would if allowed to rust.

Clean and Polish Regularly

Ensuring that all your properties that are exposed to salt water or salt solution are properly cleaned and polished regularly is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to avoid rust resulting from salt solution.

Your car, for insty, should be washed at least four to five times a month especially during winter because of the salt treated roads.

Ensure Protection for Your Undercarriage

The undercarriage of your car can be as difficult to wash but the easiest to take in salt solution when you ply roads. To treat this, taking your car to a professional car wash can be helpful. There, the tools and machines to get to the hidden places abound. They would help flush the undercarriage of your car and prevent salt solution picked on the road from hiding and accelerating rust and corrosion.

Ensure Protection for Your Undercarriage

Hold on to a Good Carpet

This is for both your car and your house. If you use all-weather floor carpet in your car, it will prevent the salt solution you match on the road, especially during winter from getting down the chassis of your car.

If you use the same at home, it will equally prevent the same solution from getting right into your house and doing some damage to your steel properties.


I have been able to take you through what salt can do to your metal regarding rust and how you can prevent the damage. Salt may not directly cause rust, but it provides the conditions which quickens the chemical process or reaction that leads to rust.

While it may be very difficult to avoid contact with salt water or salt solution especially during winter, special care can be taken to prevent the damage which it can cost you. One of the major places to look out for and take care of when it comes to contact with salt solution is your car, especially during the winter season.

Evan Cooper

Evan Cooper

Hi, I’m Evan Cooper, the founder and an editor of this site, Doesitrust. I’m a chemical engineer and working in a rust-eliminating paint manufacturing company. Besides this profession, I’m a researcher and blogger.

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