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Zinc pest

Article about: hello....I recently purchased a group of assorted medals in not so great condition but at a price that could not be beat....I've read thru the forum but want to make sure I have the most cur

  1. #1

    Default Zinc pest

    hello....I recently purchased a group of assorted medals in not so great condition but at a price that could not be beat....I've read thru the forum but want to make sure I have the most current info on making an attempt to make them look better.....

    this unmarked Shuco design badge has quite a bit of oxidization .... just wondering if , lightly scrub + 24 hour vaseline and then wipe is the current process....will post(in proper spot) some before/after if it works out....

    a couple pics of the condition
    Zinc pest

    resoldered pin(?)
    Zinc pest

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  3. #2
    TWS is offline


    I might be contradicted, but yes, that's what I do.

    Every zinc badge gets the Vaseline treatment when it enters my collection, regardless of condition. It can improve the appearance of badges that have condition liabilities and retard the progression of oxidation/zinc pest, but I treat even the nice ones as a protective measure.

    I gently rub Vaseline on with a Q-tip. Let sit for at least 24 hours and then wipe off with more Q-tips and/or a very soft cotton cloth.

    That being said... no offense, but that badge is pretty rough and not a condition level that I collect. Understand you got it at a bargain, but I don't know how effective the treatment will be for that one. Fingers crossed for you.
    Former U.S. Army Tanker.
    "Best job I ever had."

  4. #3
    MAP is online now


    I would recommend slapping 60 grit sandpaper to a orbital sander and grind off all the pest until you are back down to bare metal. Then use a bead blaster followed by a blow torch to melt away any scrapes and cuts from the sandpaper and bead blaster.

    But seriously. in this condition a soft bristled brush to remove the powdery substance followed by some vasiline as you and Todd point out is the only approach.

    Interesting to point out. Even though we all call this zinc pest. In reality what we often actually see is not zinc pest but what is called Weissrost aka White Rot.

    Major threat to your WW2 Miltiaria: Zinc Pest and White Rust - Military Trader/Vehicles
    "Please", Thank You" and proper manners appreciated

    My greatest fear is that one day I will die and my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them

    "Don't tell me these are investments if you never intend to sell anything" (Quote: Wife)

  5. #4


    I've been involved with Corrosion Control for many years. Ran TACOM Corrosion Prevention and Control (CPAC) program 2001 - 2012, 25th ID, USAR, & Hawaii's National Guard. I served all branches of the military in Hawaii, including 25th ID Tropic Lightning museum as well as Ft Derussy museum.

    Zinc is designed to corrode, and once that starts it consumes itself and the white rust is zinc oxide. Designed as a barrier metal and that makes it a sacrificial anode. Eliminating oxygen will preserve the zinc.

    I'd say, treating the badge with vasoline, a good heavy coat, let it sit for at least 72 hours in a warm area so the zinc can absorb the vasoline. Then do your wipe down. the badge will be darker and with that the tell tale sign of new white oxides tells you its time to repeat the process.

    There are petroleum based rust & corrosion inhibitors that can be used as well.

  6. #5


    thanks for the input guys !....much appreciated, she is in bad shape but at the price of a tinnie, I had to give it a go....someone once told me, never buy a used rental car from Hawaii, constant salt air does it's thing
    "Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life" - Herbert Henry Asqulth

  7. #6


    That myth about Hawaii vehicles gets destroyed by corrosion proves false if people use Salt Away when washing and then spraying the bottom of the vehicle.

    I own a 1939 Harley I've ridden for years with only enough corrosion to make it look, well, older.

    Also have a 2002 V Rod that has little corrosion on it. The V Rod has 132,000 miles on it, when I was able to ride, we'd ride the North shore of Oahu on big surf days where clouds of sea water mist would cover my helmets wind screen and the chloride laced mist would turn the surface white making it hard to see out of.

    Both are washed monthly & then treated annually with CarWellCP90.

    BTW, not trying to sell anyone anything here, just stating facts of what I found works.

    Salt Away lifts the chlorides from any surface rinsed with it. Spray until surfaces drips at 500 parts water to 1 part Salt Away. Then it leaves a flash rust inhibitor behind, CORTEC VpCI as that is in the Salt Away solution. The solution provides a 30 day rust protection or until rain strikes the vehicle.

    For the MC's and cars I own, they are sprayed annually with CarWell CP90, the same inhibitor that we sprayed all Army tactical equipment with. Back in 1999 I set up USMC CSSG3 with product and spray equipment to treat their tactical gear. Total treatments while I was able bodied to work with my CPAC team was well over 600+ pieces a month, 7,200 treatments or more annually.

    CP90 was tested by Army TACOM (Tank & Automotive Command) & NSWC (Naval Surface Warfare Center) Carderrock Division and found to have a 92-95% efficacy in corrosion damage reduction. We saved the Army roughly 3 million every year on corrosion repairs. We tracked each piece of equipment by a program to understand what category of corrosion damage was found on equipment, category 1 as new, category 4 were equipment write offs due to corrosion damage.

    So with todays CPAC technology, great protection is happening.

    The image seen is of a HMMT that has cab frame rail corrosion. The gloss is from the CP90 inhibitor seen & that within a couple months, the gloss recedes and the CARC coating returns to its normal off gloss primer look.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture Zinc pest  

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