Oxidation and Textiles

Most of us are familiar with the term “Oxidation”.

Generally, we equate oxidation with iron and the rust it develops when exposed to air and moisture. But why does this happen?

Furthermore, what other types of materials succumb to oxidation?

In this blog post, we’re going to take a closer look at the oxidation process  and it’s lesser known role in the decay of garments and textiles.


Plainly stated, oxidation is the loss of an atom or compound’s electrons.

…What the heck does that mean?

Well, an atom is composed of neutronsprotons and electrons:

  • Neutrons have no charge (+/-).
  • Protons have a positive charge (+).

NucleusTogether, neutrons and protons form a positively charged nucleus.

Removing any number of protons from a nucleus changes the element entirely, while removing or adding neutrons from a nucleus has no effect whatsoever.

On the outside of the nucleus are negatively charged electrons ().

  • Remove one of these guys from an atom and it will become positively charged.
  • Add one of these guys and it will become negatively charged.

Atom w/ Electrons

That’s a weird concept to grasp, but know that the addition of an electron results in a negative charge.

It sounds counterintuitive that adding results in a loss, but that’s the way it goes!

So getting back to where we started, the removal of an atom’s electrons results in oxidation.

Protons and electrons cancel each other out – when the same number of each is present than an atom is neutral. When one of these numbers change though, it has drastic effects.

Metals like Iron and Magnesium are more prone to giving away their electrons. Because of this, they’re more likely to succumb to oxidation! This is important because oxidation changes the structure of an element entirely.

Garment Degradation

We’ve already covered the effects of rust and iron here. The rest of this post is going to cover a less examined phenomenon of oxidation – the decay of garments and textiles.

When you think of clothing you don’t normally think of rust. Most of us realize that clothing will decay over time, but we usually attribute it to wear and tear, sunlight and mildew.

WWII Aviator CapThese elements certainly play a role in garment degradation. From an everyday point of view – and for more modern clothing – these are the chief concerns when it comes to retaining a garment’s integrity.

Another factor that comes into play with older textiles is oxidation. Tapestries, carpets, quilts, clothing, flags and more are often subject to this caustic process due to the metallic content of the dyes that were commonplace in textile production during the time period.


For antiques and heirlooms, this a major problem!

Oxidation of TextilesDamaged Linen Collar

Let’s take the chemistry we learned a few paragraphs ago and apply it to…say…a 19th century garment.

If a textile manufacturer in the 19th century wanted to apply a dye to a garment and do it accurately, they used what’s called a mordant. A mordant is a substance that’s added to a dye and chemically combined with it. It allows a dye to affix itself to a fabric.

Mordants are a vital part to the dying process and they’re still used today! Unfortunately though, many older mordants contained easily oxidized metals, such as iron. These substances oxidize over time and set into effect a process of breakdown in the textiles, reducing the durability of the cloth and changing its color and chemistry.

Old ClothesWhile the use of iron mordants in the 19th century seemed like a fine idea at the time, their latent effects are being seen today. The use of easily oxidized metals in mordants is a thing of the past, but that doesn’t help today’s individual collectors and museums retain the historical articles that still contain them!

If you own an old quilt, tapestry or garment that’s been passed down in your family, the use of iron mordants in the object’s dyes is something you’ll want to look into before it’s too late. Realistically, they’ve already begun to oxidize – and this is a difficult process to stop.

Suit of ArmorSolutions

The most surefire way to stop the process of oxidation is by placing something in a climate controlled room, box or wall fixture. This, of course, is much easier said than done!

“Climate controlled” is about as expensive as it sounds. With the exception of serious collectors and endowment-blessed museums, this isn’t a realistic option.

Intercept Technology – the propriety tech used in all of PreservAll’s storage bags – provides museums and collectors alike with an effective means of textile and antique protection at a significantly lower cost!


Corrosion & Metals: The Bully & The Victim

Corrosion & Metals: The Bully & The Victim

Science can be confusing. There’s an endless set of laws and theories involved, numbers to remember and chemical reactions to observe. Unfortunately, CORROSION is a scientific process. It plagues nearly all industries, destroys items of value and causes headaches, stress and financial losses.

CORROSION is the enemy!

If you’re not a scientist, but want a fuller understanding of this persistent enemy, then this article is for you!

I’m going to break down corrosion and various methods of corrosion protection with a traditional analogy:

A Bully, his Victim and an Interloper.

NOTE: By no means do we mean to make light of bullying or its devastating effects. We feel that this analogy provides a simplistic way to comprehend corrosion. If you or someone you know is being bullied, visit www.stopbullying.gov/resources for more info on how to properly deal with the situation)

The Corresponding Roles

Corrosive Gases and Moisture

We’ve talked at length about the causes of corrosion. Put simply, the most common causes of corrosion are:

  • Corrosive Gases (Sulfuric Gases)
  • Moisture

You can picture these elements as the bully in this analogy, picking on his victim (ferrous and non-ferrous metals).

Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metals

The metals that degrade by way of corrosion are the bully’s victims:

  • Ferrous Metals
  • Non-Ferrous Metals

Whether the influence is rapid and immediate or drawn out over time doesn’t matter. What’s important is that the bully’s effects on the victim are drastic.

The Interloper

The form of corrosion protection used to protect metals can be thought of as the interloper:

  • Galvanization
  • Conversion Coatings
  • Volatile Corrosion Protection
  • Intercept Technology

These are the third parties who stand in-between the bully and his victim in an attempt to stop the caustic process.


A common method of corrosion protection is galvanization. We’ve mentioned it before. Galvanization is a process in which a ferrous or non-ferrous metal is coated with zinc.

The zinc acts as a sacrificial anode by way of giving up its electrons and corroding in place of the metal it’s coated on. It takes the bully head-on.

In this sense, Galvanization stands up to the bully for a period of time. While at first it defends the bully’s victim (the ferrous/non-ferrous metal), eventually the bully’s influence is too much for the interloper to take.

Exposed Ferrous & Non-Ferrous MetalsAs the bully’s caustic behavior is directed towards galvanization, it wears him down. Over time the galvanization interloper surrenders, throwing in the towel and leaving the victim completely exposed to the bully’s onslaught.

Conversion Coatings
Conversion Coatings

Conversion coatings are chemical and electro-chemical process in which a metal’s surface is converted into a derivative that’s more suited for corrosion inhibition.

In this analogy, a conversion coating is an interloper who attempts to train the victim how to defend himself. He gives him defense tactics, informing him of what to do when faced with the bully.

Conversion coatings are ineffective though for a few reasons. First and foremost, conversion coatings DO NOT WORK ON NON-FERROUS METALS. That’s an entire class of metals that conversion coatings cannot defend.

Second, conversion coatings wear away quickly when faced with friction.

This means that over the Exposed Ferrous & Non-Ferrous Metalscourse of time, the conversion coating’s attempts at teaching the victim how to defend himself will be in vain. The persisting bully will overcome the victim’s new defense strategies and continue to affect him.

Volatile Corrosion Protection

VCP's and Metals

Volatile Corrosion Protection incorporates any compound-releasing storage materials that attempt to stop the corrosion and oxidation of ferrous & non-ferrous metals.

They emit a vapor when stored in packaging, coating the metal inside and forming a barrier. While VCP’s claim to protect metals from corrosion, in reality they compromise metals’ integrity.

In our analogy, the VCP interloper initially defends the victim, following him everywhere he goes. Anytime the bully strikes, the VCP interloper is there to defend him.

However, over the course of time, the interloper begins to “smother” our victim. His ongoing presence becomes just as much as a negative effect on the victim as the bully’s torments!

This is because VCP’s contain volatiles. The compounds released by VCP’s are oily, ineffective at preventing corrosion and their ingredients are mostly unknown. As a matter of fact, other countries have banned the use of VCP’s due to the volatile chemicals they contain.

The Result of VCP ProtectionIn effect, our VCP interloper eventually turns around and starts picking on the victim along with the bully himself!

The VCP and the bully spread their influence from our one defenseless victim to the ENTIRE PLAYGROUND of students, subjugating them to caustic and unhealthy behavior.

Intercept Technology

Intercept Technology, the protective material used in all of PreservAll’s preservation bags, surrounds metals with a blend of copper and plastic in order to protect them from corrosion.

Copper is naturally un-reactive, which means it doesn’t undergo drastic chemical or structural changes when in contact with other elements. By making alterations to its atomic structure, the copper used in Intercept Technology becomes more reactive. Increased reactivity means that all forms of corrosion – gases, moisture, etc. – are drawn towards the Intercept material.

Intercept Technology acts as a sacrificial anode by taking on corrosives. The essential difference between Intercept Technology and the other forms of corrosion protection listed in this article is that Intercept neutralizes corrosives.

In our analogy, Intercept packaging is an interloper that solves the victim’s bully problem. Standing in place of the victim, it takes on the bully’s caustic behavior, counteracting and neutralizing it.

The bully is gotten rid of for good, and the ferrous metals and Intercept live together in harmony!Intercept and Metals

Protect What Matters Most

This past year has been emotionally taxing and held a lot of changes for the world. With the occurrence of so many polarizing events and with New Years right around the corner, now seems like the perfect time for resolutions and personal reflection.

What Matters Most to You

It’s an essential question that oscillates throughout our lives. More likely than not, though, what matters most to you is that which you feel the strongest compulsion to protect.

The drive to protect that which we revere is a fundamental instinct. It’s possessed not only by humans, but by all species. Often times, this entails protecting and providing for our loved ones, conserving memories or ensuring security.

here are preservall’s protection specialties:

Protect Memories of the “Big Day”

It goes without saying that your wedding day is one of the most important events in your life.

It’s an act of lifetime commitment and the exact moment in which you agree to share the rest of your life with another person. The bond that’s created on your wedding day has effects that perpetually influence future generations, and each and every matrimony truly changes the world.

wedding dress preservationAs we grow old the bond of matrimony is strengthened, but often times the memories themselves fade.

It’s an unavoidable consequence of the aging process!

This is why protecting wedding dresses and passing them down has been a tradition for centuries. Not only does preserving your wedding dress create a physical token of what was hopefully the greatest day of your life, but it provides your children and grandchildren with a memento as well. If you keep your wedding dress in quality condition, it’s possible that your own daughter will exhibit it on her big day as well.

This may very well be the sector that PreservAll takes the most satisfaction in. Knowing that our products play a role in preserving your family’s memories is humbling and that’s why we create the most effective garment protection bags on the market.

Protect Ancestor’s Hard Work

Some of the most valuable family heirlooms are quilts and tapestries. These keepsakes provide the utility of keeping loved ones warm while also embodying a beauty rich enough to make them pieces of art in their own right. Whether their patterns are plain and simple or intricate and complex, quilts are distinctive pieces of history.

quiltThe amount of work required to make quilts and tapestries is truly staggering. This is why families that are lucky enough to have them as heirlooms want to keep them protected. Not only are they physical reminders of a more hands-on time, they’re the stunning result of dedicated craftsmanship.

While the number one way to protect a quilt from degradation is by using it, sometimes this isn’t an option. Long term and short term storage of quilts can result in the occurrence of mold and mildew. Protecting quilts from degradation is perhaps our greatest contribution to the preservation of history, simply because these quilts were made to last. The fact of the matter is that in facing the present day atmosphere, quilts may need a little extra help in order to get by.

Protect a Means of Security

We mentioned earlier that the compulsion to protect something is usually an excellent indicator of how much you value it. When most people think about what they value most, family stands out from all the rest. We go about protecting our families in different ways.

For some individuals, protecting their family entails gun ownership. It’s a divisive topic and a sector that people feel very strongly about on both sides. The idea of having a firearm to protect your family from a malevolent intruder provides some with peace of mind.

38 detective specialAdditionally, firearms are often held in the same esteem as wedding dresses and quilts due to their historical significance.

Firearms are often passed down from generation to generation. Accompanied with stories ranging from stoic recollections of war to lighthearted hunter’s tales, firearms convey history that owners want to keep intact.

Regardless of the reasons an individual would want to protect their firearms, we offer effective protection for all types of hardware. Whether they’re viewed as a means of protection or as a means of tradition, PreservAll’s commitment to protecting firearms from corrosion is steadfast.

PreservAll Takes Pride in What We Do

We know our customers undergo great measures to protect the things they love and that’s why we’re so honored to aide in the process. It’s also why we have an extensive product line, providing protection for valued keepsakes of all shapes and size.

Whether an object’s value is monetary or sentimental, keeping it safe from degradation is top priority. As outside events shape your worldview and the year comes to a close, take note of the things you treasure most.