Why does corrosion often take place under metal washers?

Corrosion under metal washers takes place due to low levels of oxygen between the base of the machine and the floor. Such a type of corrosion is referred to as “crevice corrosion,” which is a form of localized corrosion and is destructive in nature.

Moreover, it is very common in shielded areas, such as under metal washers or bolt heads, where there’s a lack of space between two points.

Additionally, trapped moisture caused by a leaking washer or water spills under the washing machine is one of the major causes of corrosion underneath.

To prevent this from happening, always make sure that your washing machine is slightly above floor level and that the area beneath it is clean and dry after every use.

Installing the washer’s feet stands, or pedestals can help prevent the base of the metal washers from corroding.

Key Takeaways

  • Washing machine components and their accessories are made using different metals.
  • Different forms of corrosion can occur in a washing machine so not all forms are corrosions are the same.
  • When we talk about corrosion under metal washers it’s most likely a crevice or galvanic corrosion.
  • Galvanic corrosion can occur between two dissimilar metals for example, if a washing machine is placed on a stand made with dissimilar metal.
  • Crevice corrosion occurs due to restricted oxygen supply between metal bases and the floor.

What is crevice corrosion in washing machines?

Crevice corrosion is a form of localized corrosion that is very aggressive in nature and can occur in any area where the oxygen supply is limited, such as under metal washers.

Crevice corrosion is often accelerated by the accumulation of corrosive elements like chlorides, sulfates, and other acidic reactions.

When it comes to crevice corrosion under washing machines, it can be caused by exposure to moisture, the use of harsh chemicals, the trapping of chloride ions, the presence of debris, the stagnation of electrolytes (water), local pH changes, and poor ventilation.

In other words, crevice corrosion occurs in confined spaces or crevices and is caused by a combination of elements.

The aggressive nature of this particular form of corrosion can cause extensive damage to the metal components of washers.

To avoid or mitigate the effects of crevice corrosion, the crevices or gaps between the washing machine and the floor must be kept clean and dry.

How do you prevent corrosion under metal washers?

Regular cleaning

Regular cleaning of the base surface of your washing machine is the best way to prevent corrosion under metal bases.

To clean the floor, move the washer aside and tilt the machine to access and clean the base surface.

Additionally, be sure to keep the area around the machine free of dust, dirt, and lint, and do not forget to clean off any buildup under the machine itself.

You should also check for any signs of rust or discoloration at regular intervals and take action accordingly if required.

To get rid of any debris or moisture that may have accumulated under your washing machine, you should regularly lift the machine up and clean its base surface.

Make sure to use a soft cloth to avoid scratching or damaging any surfaces, and use suitable cleaning solutions.

Keep the area dry

Another important step in preventing corrosion under metal washers is to keep the area dry.

If you see water that may have accumulated around the washer, wipe the areas using a dry cloth.

Do not wait for some other time to wipe out the surrounding floor or leave it to dry itself.

In fact, you should inspect your washer and the surrounding area if you see any leakage.

Ventilation around the washer

Proper ventilation is key to preventing corrosion under any metal appliances, including your washing machine.

Make sure the area around the washer is well-ventilated so that air can flow freely, which will further help reduce moisture levels around the machine.

You might also want to think about using an exhaust fan to help increase ventilation in the area, which may also reduce the odor and humidity from the washing machine.

Additionally, if the moisture level is too high, you can use a dehumidifier if needed (it will help reduce moisture levels in your laundry room).

Make use of corrosion inhibitors

Another great way to prevent corrosion under metal washing machines is to use corrosion inhibitors.

Such products are designed to protect metal surfaces from corrosion by creating a thin film or layer on them.

These protective layers help prevent the washer’s metal parts, such as its base, from being exposed to oxygen and water.

Corrosion inhibitors for washing machine metal components are easily available at your local hardware store or online.

Difference between galvanic and crevice corrosion

While both galvanic and crevice corrosion affect metals, the mechanisms by which they develop or affect the metal are a bit different.

When two dissimilar metals are in contact with one another in the presence of an electrolyte, such as saltwater or acid, galvanic corrosion occurs.

When this happens, one metal serves as an anode while the other serves as a cathode.

Corrosion occurs at the anode due to the release of electrons, while the cathode remains unscathed.

Using metals with similar electrochemical properties or isolating the metals from each other are both effective methods for preventing galvanic corrosion.

On the other hand, crevice corrosion develops in tiny crannies and cracks between metal surfaces or between a metal surface and another material.

Electrolytes and oxygen can become trapped in these cracks, leading to an oxygen-poor and corrosive environment.

This causes metal corrosion in the crack, which can be hard to spot and fix.

Making sure there are no openings or crevices in the metal structure or employing materials that are resistant to corrosion in such environments are both effective means of avoiding the damage caused by crevice corrosion.

Final Thoughts

Corrosion occurs when the metal base of the washer is exposed to water and has low oxygen levels for longer.

Regular inspection and keeping the base surface dry and clean are key to preventing corrosion underneath.

Applying corrosion inhibitors underneath the washing machine’s base surface will reduce the possibility of rusting.

With some basic maintenance and upkeep, you can keep your washing machine free from corrosion for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do metal washers rust?

Metal washers can rust, depending on the type of metal used and how you maintain it. However, generally, stainless steel washers resist rust due to the protective layer of chromium oxide on their surface. In the long run, the protective layer may get removed and cause crevice corrosion at the bottom of the washer.

Where does corrosion occur on a metal washer?

The edges, threads, and surfaces of a metal washer are all susceptible to corrosion. Cracks and spaces between the washer and the surface it rests on are also vulnerable to corrosion. Corrosion on a metal washer can occur anywhere on the surface, depending on the metal’s composition, the surrounding environment, and the presence of corrosive agents.

Does corrosion take place at the anode or cathode?

Corrosion occurs at the anode, which is the metal that corrodes rapidly and loses electrons, while the cathode is the metal that corrodes slowly, if at all, and gains electrons in a corrosion process.

What are the main causes of corrosion?

Corrosion can be caused by a number of different factors, the most prominent of which are exposure to salty water, high temperatures, air conditioning gases like CO2 and SO2, and moisture. These conditions can hasten corrosion, which in turn will speed up the process of the metal’s surface breaking down.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at) portablelaundry.com