How Does Coating a Can with Tin Stop Rust?

The tin-plating of cans is a process that protects the iron from rust and helps extend the can’s shelf life. Rust and other corrosion forms on iron in the presence of water as well as oxygen. Tin, however, does not easily react with water or oxygen, so how does coating a can with tin stop rust?

A tin-coated can keeps out oxygen and moisture from the can, which prevents the buildup of rust. In addition, a tin coating eliminates the need for a second material layer or interior seal (as in cans sealed with pop tops). Tin has a long history as a reliable food coating for cans.

Coating a can with a tin can stop rust. Rust is a type of corrosion that occurs when iron and oxygen interact in the presence of water or wet air. When these three substances react, they produce rust, destroying even strong metals like iron.

Fortunately, coating a can with tin, an inert (a substance that does not readily react) metal, can form a protective barrier around the food inside and prevent corrosion from taking place. In addition to preventing the production of rust, coating cans with a tin can also help keep the food inside fresh for years to come.

How Coating a Can with Tin Stops Rust?

Many people are aware of how cans are very susceptible to rust. This is because of the physical and chemical properties of the metals used to make them. Although they are very helpful for packaging purposes, this is one of their downsides.

Be that as it may, there are ways to address the situation. Coating the can with tin is one of the effective solutions. This would work because the new coating will act in a sacrificial capacity. What this simply means is that the tin coat applied all over the can will face rust issues first.

How Does Coating a Can with Tin Stop Rust

So, whatever rust problems will get to the can will have to go through the tin coating first. Even after the tin coat has been affected by the corrosive state, it can still be reapplied to save the can from rust.

Other than this, you should know that the tin coat is more resistant to rust. The physical and chemical properties used in making the tin coating make it able to resist rust better than the can’s light metal. So, these are the two major reasons coating a can with tin makes the can stand a better chance against rust and several other corrosive states.

Are there Other Ways you can Prevent Your Metal Can from Rusting?

Asides from the process of coating your metal can with tin, there are other proven ways to prevent your can from rusting. But first, you should know that the coating process can also be done with several other metals to achieve the same aim.

Are there Other Ways you can Prevent Your Metal Can from Rusting


For instance, options such as cadmium, nickel, copper, cobalt, and a few others can come in handy in this regard. These metals have been proven to help protect the can from rusting if used as a coat. These metals can do this because they offer a lot more in terms of rust resistance. In addition to this, they act in a sacrificial capacity as explained above.

We have also gathered that gold and silver plating can be used as well. However, many people steer clear of using them especially because of the cost involved. You should know that the whole idea of coating the can in order to prevent rust is known as Electroplating.


Metals offer a lot in terms of functionality. But even at that, there are some possible setbacks, and rusting is one of them. You should know that plastic on the other hand does not rust. As a result of this advantage, you can have your metal can coated with plastic to prevent it from rusting.


By painting the metal can, a thick layer and protective layer are left all over to protect it. This does a lot as experience has proven. For instance, the famous Golden Gate Bridge which is made up of a large amount of metal is painted constantly. The reason for this is not only to get it to look good. It is also so that the bridge stands a better chance against rust and other corrosive states.


In the same vein, you can make the most of paints by applying them to your metal cans. This would drastically reduce the chances of your metal cans rusting.

Preventive Tactics

There is no doubting the fact that rust is a natural occurrence. This is especially the case with such metals used to make metal cans. The reason is that these metals are not usually as resistant to this corrosive state as many other metals.

Be that as it may, you should still understand that rust is practically impossible under certain conditions. By keeping the metal tin from moisture, for instance, there is a better chance that the can will not end up rusty.

This is because moisture and oxygen are the two main things that trigger this corrosive process. So by keeping your metal can out of the reach of both, the chances are very little that the can will end up rusty.

Organic Coating

Other than metal coating by using tin or other metal options, you can also go for organic coating. This can be done by using protective oil as this would prevent oxygen and water from penetrating and triggering rust. However, you should be deliberate about using top-quality protective oil for this purpose.

What You Should Know Before Coating your Can with Tin?

Coating your can with tin is an effective way to deal with rust in metal tins as you have gathered from this article. Should you decide to go about rust prevention this way, you should prepare the can properly before the coating process.

What You Should Know Before Coating your Can with Tin

You should do this by ridding the exterior of the can of dirt and other unwanted things using a hard brush. It is after this you should go about the electroplating process. In addition to this, you can also choose to add a primer before you coat as this also helps.


Coating your metal can with tin is a possibility as you have seen in this article. Doing this also helps the can stand a better chance against rust. We have also explored other rust prevention approaches for metal cans in this article. We hope that you make informed decisions going forward.

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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