A lock is only as good as its durability. A rusty old lock can’t protect your valuables. So naturally, that means you will have to take some care of your locks if you want to keep relying on them to stand guard. Of course, indoor locks are rarely a problem, although they also need some care. However, when we talk of locks left to nature’s mercy, you need to know how to treat them so they can last longer. To help you in this endeavour, we sought some advice from our friends at Fantastic Services, one of the leading locksmith service providers in the UK. They made a list of everything you need to know to keep rust far away from your outdoor locks.
Keeping away rust from your padlock is not as hard as you might think. It’s not a set of different chores you must do every day. In most cases, all you need to do is use the lock regularly. All it takes is to use the lock once every two weeks or so in the summer and once every 7-10 days in the more rainy seasons. This will effectively prevent rust from forming on the lock, and by opening and closing them regularly, you will get rid of any rust formations in their infancy. Moreover, this will increase the security of what you keep locked, as burglars avoid raiding regularly visited places.
Rust on metal locks is inevitable, especially with the UK’s high humidity and terrible weather over the autumn and winter months. Still, you can postpone this inevitability for years by keeping your lock cleaned and painted. Moreover, if the lock gets clogged with dirt, sand or dust, it can break your key, get stuck and even damage the lock mechanism. Of course, that’s not something you’d want to experience first-hand, so try to blow away any dust from the lock and always make sure there is no sand or dirt when closing the padlock. It’s not that hard, as you can see.
Having a rusty lock is not just inconvenient and squeaky but also dangerous for your keys. A rusty lock can break your key inside the keyhole, which, unfortunately, will render the entire padlock inoperable. In other words, you will have to cut it open. Fortunately, that’s easily preventable with lubrication. Make sure you lubricate your lock at least once a month. During more volatile weather, you can even do it once every two weeks. A droplet of silicon spray will do the trick. The silicon will encapsulate the iron in an anaerobic environment. Thus it won’t be able to oxidise and form rust. For the spray to be effective, you must lock and unlock the padlock several times after applying the lubricant.
As it has become evident, keeping rust away from your outside locks is not so demanding of a job. Naturally, there are many different ways to ensure the iron won’t oxidise and become brown and fragile. The most important thing, however, is not to forget to use the lock often. A used padlock will always be one step further from rust than one that always stands locked and in place. Moreover, in time this may even compromise the structure of the lock rendering it useless and leaving the site it was securing unlocked. That’s not ideal if you keep some valuable items there, and even if it’s only some gardening tools, losing them because of rust will set you back significantly.
Even if you are not ready to pamper your padlock with pricy silicon spray and other costly cosmetics for the iron, you can go ahead and use some stuff you already have and use. There are many DIY recipes for keeping rust away, but here are the ones that the professionals from Fantastic Services share as the best.
We know not everyone has car wax by their side at any given moment, but this is an innovative DIY method to keep the rust away from your locks. Any brand will do the trick, so you can even go for the most cost-friendly option without hesitation. Cover the lock with the car wax every couple of weeks, and you will never see rust on it. The wax not only prevents air from touching the surface of the padlock but also gives it a nice additional layer that will protect it against scratches. This, in terms, will prevent rust from forming deeper in the padlock, as water won’t be able to stick to its surface. This is a must for people living near the coast, as the moisture in the air there is full of salt particles, making the corrosion process even faster.
While car wax is not a must-have in your home (although if you have a car, it’s genuinely a good idea to supply yourself with some), every home should have a WD-40 spray. It’s one of the handiest lubricants you can ever find. WD-40 will effectively prevent water from getting into the lock, and more importantly, it will prevent it from freezing during the winter. This will prolong your padlock’s life significantly. Typically spraying your lock once a month in summer is enough. Come the rainy season, try to service the padlock at least once a week. During especially harsh winters, it’d be preferable to spray the lock at least two times a week. All you need to do is put the nozzle in the keyhole and spray it well. It literally takes less than a minute.
If you are fresh out of WD-40, you can go old-school and use a candle instead. Just put a light coat of candle wax all over the lock every once in a while. This can be done even once in a few months. Moreover, if you see some rust forming, immediately cover it with candle wax. This will seal the rust, and it won’t spread. In practice, you seal away all air and moisture from the metal, making it impossible for rust to appear. That method has been used for centuries.
Lastly, if you live anywhere around the coast and humidity is constant, you might want to invest in a lock dehumidifier. They will suck all the moisture out of the air and will prevent rust from forming.
Locks serve a fundamental purpose, and you should treat them as such, especially as it’s not that hard. Typically taking good care of your outside lock will take only 2 minutes every week in winter and 2 minutes every other month in summer. Yet, you will enjoy one trustworthy lock no matter where it is.