Do Galvanized Trash Cans Rust? (The Truth)

Do Galvanized Trash Cans Rust

When it comes to selecting the most suitable trash can for your environment, whether it’s for personal or business use, the material used in the manufacture of the bin plays a key role. Among the various options available, metal, specifically galvanized steel and stainless steel, is often favored for its resiliency and longevity. Today, we delve into a question that arises frequently when considering a metal trash can – Do galvanized trash cans rust?

Do Galvanized Trash Cans Rust?

Not only should our trash cans be able to contain your waste, but they must also withstand wear, tear, and all sorts of weather conditions.

One type of garbage can that catches attention due to its durability, aesthetic appeal, and relative affordability is the galvanized metal trash can.

What makes galvanized trash cans stand out is the zinc coating applied to the metal. This protective coating acts as a barrier that prevents rusting, which is a common problem with metal items. This feature allows galvanized garbage cans to be placed outdoors or in damp areas like the garage or the kitchen without fear of corrosion.

Despite the zinc coating, it is important to note that these trash cans aren’t completely impervious to rust.

The coating can wear away over time and expose the metal underneath to moisture, leading to potential rusting. To help extend the life span of your galvanized trash can, it’s essential to routinely inspect and maintain them.

How Galvanized Trash Cans are Made

The process of creating galvanized trash cans involves the application of a protective zinc coating on a steel or iron container, a method known in the industry as hot-dip galvanization.

This process starts with the submerging of the trash can in a bath of molten zinc. The zinc bonds to the steel, forming a robust barrier that is resistant to both rust and decay.

Benefits of Galvanized Coating in Preventing Rust

Not all trash containers are made equally, and the galvanized variety stand out due to their durability and longevity.

The benefits of utilizing galvanized coating for trash cans are numerous, and they are primarily centered around rust prevention. Here are a few key points:

1- Safety from Atmospheric Conditions: Galvanized trash cans have a significant advantage in combating atmospheric conditions. They are made to withstand outdoor elements and aren’t prone to rust or corrosion, even if scratched or damaged.

2- Maintenance: The smooth, glossy finish leaves the can easy to clean and maintain. The galvanized coating helps to keep the surface of a trash can free from unsightly rust stains and other imperfections.

3- Long-lasting Protection: The galvanization process ensures a trash can has the longest possible lifespan. It provides long-lasting results that other metal protection methods cannot match.

4- Greater Durability: When compared to plastic alternatives or non-galvanized metal bins, galvanized cans are more resistant to rodent damage and general wear and tear.

With galvanized trash cans, you get superior corrosion protection that assures you a longer lifespan and substantial resistance to the elements.

When are Galvanized Trash Cans Prone to Rusting?

Understanding why a galvanized trash can may rust over time involves considering a variety of factors.

Despite the protective zinc coating, under certain conditions, rusting can occur. Here are key factors to consider:

1- Exposure to Moisture & Humidity

Moisture and humidity play significant roles in the rusting process. Moist air makes rusting occur at a faster rate as the moisture aids the reaction between oxygen and metal.

The longer contact with humid air, the higher chances of corrosion and rust. This is especially true in areas with high levels of humidity such as coastal regions.

In these areas, the chloride in sea spray and rain, combined with the presence of the moisture in the air, can contribute to the corrosion of the trash can exterior, leading to eventual rusting.

2- Damage to Galvanized Coating

The integrity of the galvanized coating protects the steel from rusting. If the coating is damaged or worn off, this exposes the underlying steel which can then begin to rust.

The purpose of the galvanized coating is to protect the steel, and if the protective zinc layer gets compromised, rust can form on the exposed steel.

This may happen with time, due to wear and tear or contact with acidic substances.

Keeping Things in Check

  • Humidity and Moisture: Keep your galvanized trash can in a dry place, as far away from moisture as possible.
  • Damages to the Coating: Check regularly for signs of wear and tear on your galvanized trash can.

Maintenance & Care Tips for Galvanized Trash Cans

Even though galvanized trash cans are known for their durability and rust resistance, they still require some regular maintenance and care for them to last in the long haul.

Below are some practical methods to keep your galvanized trash cans in the best possible condition.

#1- Cleaning and Washing Galvanized Trash Cans

Regular Cleaning: One of the most effective ways to maintain a galvanized trash can is a regular cleaning routine.

This process involves wiping down the can with a damp, soapy washcloth. Always remember to follow the grain of the galvanized steel, working your way from top to bottom.

For tougher dirt spots, a mixture of baking soda and liquid dish soap can be used. A nylon scrub brush or old toothbrush can help to reach into the crevices where grime could accumulate.

Never use bleach or chlorides as they can damage the galvanized layer, leading to rusting.

After a thorough cleaning, always remember to rinse the can and wipe it dry, preventing water spots and further corrosion.

#2- Repairing and Patching Galvanized Coating

Patching Holes: In cases where small holes appear on the surface, it might be tempting to just let it slide. However, small unchecked holes can lead to more significant damage over time.

Using an epoxy-based mending compound, available at most hardware stores, you can quickly patch up these small holes.

  • For larger holes, you might need to reinforce the area with light-gauge metal before applying the epoxy.
  • After the repair, it’s crucial to reapply a zinc-rich paint or spray to restore the protective galvanized coating.

Rust Prevention Measures for Trash Cans

Here are some measures you can take to prevent rust from forming in your galvanized trash cans.

A. Painting and Sealing Galvanized Trash Cans

Painting: Galvanized steel can certainly be painted for aesthetic reasons, to add an extra layer of protection in very aggressive environments, and to increase its economic life.

When painting galvanized trash cans, it is crucial to pick the correct paint. Preparation of the steel before painting is vital, and the proper process includes washing, treating with a T-Wash or its equivalent, and thoroughly drying before applying the paint.

Sealing: In addition to painting, applying a sealant to your galvanized trash can is an excellent way to provide an extra layer of protection against rust.

Sealing the metal helps to block moisture, one of the leading causes of rust development.

B. Using Rust-Resistant Liners

Rust-Resistant Liners: Using rust-resistant liners can also help extend the life of your trash can. These liners prevent direct contact of waste materials with the metal – thus reducing the exposure of the can to corrosive substances.

They also make the trash can easier to clean, further reducing the risk of rust.

These measures, combined with regular cleaning and maintenance, provide a comprehensive approach to preventing rust in galvanized trash cans.

Remember, rust prevention is far easier than rust removal, so it’s in your best interest to incorporate these measures early to keep your trash can looking good and functional for the longest time possible.


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