Taking Care of Steel Armour – Do’s and Don’ts

Medieval Collectibles is proud to offer an array of steel armour. You may be wondering how to take care of your steel armour. Here is a list of the Do’s and Don’ts of taking care of steel armour as well as some products to use in keeping your armour in top condition.


Don’t leave the metal bare

One of the biggest mistakes that many people make when taking care of steel armour is leaving it bare. This means that they have left the armour with no coating to keep the metal from coming in contact with water. This is especially problematic with steel armour over other metals since steel is partially iron. When iron comes in direct contact with water and other corrosive substances, it will start to rust. This is bad for armour. Without any coating, armour will eventually rust through. This will either happen quickly or slowly depending on the amount of water it comes in contact with, but it will happen regardless. Even some moisture in the air or perspiration from the wearer will cause rust. This is why steel armour must have some kind of protective coating.

Don’t wash it with soap

There a couple of reasons why you do not want to wash armour with soap. The first is that soap requires water to work and the second is that soap removes oils and waxes. Together this means that not only does washing with soap make the steel come in contact with water, but it also removes the coating that protects it. This is a recipe for rusted armour, and no one wants to wear rusted armour. Other oil or wax solvents are better used if removing the coating is desired (such as replacing one type of coating for another). Mineral spirits are commonly used in various industries to degrease metal parts and will therefore be helpful in removing the coating on a piece of armour. Lacquer thinner can also be used. However, lacquer thinner should not be used on blackened armour. It can cause a negative reaction with the dark finish.


Keep it oiled or waxed.

As mentioned above, steel armour needs some kind of coating that can repel water. This is usually some kind of hydrophobic product, aka the product repels water. Your armour will arrive from us already with an existing coating. This coating may not to be to your preference, but if you wish to remove it, you must replace it with another coating. Seriously, this cannot be stressed enough. Steel armour must have a water repellant coating. Coatings can include various waxes and oils. One easy to get product would be WD-40. Other options include mineral oil such as liquid paraffin or a machining oil. A product that we sell, Renaissance Wax, would work well for this purpose. In addition, you should periodically re-oil or wax your armour to make sure that you maintain the armour coating.

Remove Dirt, Grit, and any Surface Rust

After wearing your armour to an event, especially ones that occur outdoors, you should remove any dirt and grime that has come in contact with your armour. Depending on the type of coating used, dirt will be attracted to the armour. Removing dirt and grime helps to keep the appearance of your armour. There are multiple products to choose from for cleaning. For example, our Metal Glo Pro Polishing Paste works for not only cleaning but also polishing.

Regarding rust, if you maintain your armour properly, there should be little to no rust. However, in case you happen to miss a spot when coating your armour, especially with chainmail, it is best to tackle any surface rust that you may see as soon as you catch it. By using some sort of abrasive such as a scrubbing pad, brush/scrub off the surface rust and replace the coating. If rust is not taken care of early on, it can continue and damage your armour. Rust solvents/removers are especially useful for this purpose. It is also important that you reapply your preferred protective coating afterwards.

Store it in a Dry Location

When you are not needing your armour, you will want to put it into storage. Be sure that it has a proper coating on it before putting it away. You will want to keep your steel armour in as dry of a location as possible. This is to help stave off moisture reaching the steel. Remember: water is the enemy of armour, so protect it. Once it is in storage, check the armour regularly for any signs of rust or corrosion. Again, while rust will be kept to a minimum with proper maintenance, it is still possible with steel armour. Diligence is key when maintaining your armour.

In summary, steel armour is susceptible to rusting and corrosion. This is preventable with proper routine maintenance. Ensure that your armour is always protected against water in some way. There are a variety of coatings to choose from and you may find one that you prefer over others. Regardless, your armour will usually arrive to you from us with an existing coating. This helps to ensure that the armour reaches you without any rust. Medieval Collectibles is proud to offer you an array of steel armour and to give you the Do’s and Don’ts of taking care of steel armour.

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