Letter Re: A Flooded Basement and Rusting Canned Foods

Greetings Jim,
I hope you can help me figure out if much of my preps are imperiled. I had water leaks in my basement a few months ago after major storms overran my roof’s gutters and caused water to seep down
into the front half of my basement. So I turned on the dehumidifier I keep in the basement and let it run until the basement floor was dry, then let it run an extra 24 hours just for good measure. Well, there appears to be a bit of residual moisture in the air in my basement, and when I went down into my basement a few minutes ago after being gone for a couple weeks, I glanced over at a shelf of canned goods and noticed that just about all the cans on that shelf–more than 300 cans on that one shelf, plus a couple thousand other cans of items–are showing rust on their rims. I’ve got a huge investment in canned goods in addition to hundreds of pounds of dry goods, and I’m really worried now about losing well over 1,000 pounds of canned goods if this rust poses a risk. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

God bless, – Chad

JWR Replies:
Once rust starts on bare steel it is very hard to stop.

1. Keep that dehumidifier running! Even though a concrete floor appears dry, it can still hold a lot of moisture. An accurate Air Humidity Monitor is a good investment.

2.  Buy a quart or two of clear lacquer.  At this point, even though it is laborious, you need to lacquer the tops and bottoms of all of your steel cans, and the metal lids of your home-canned jars to arrest the already started oxidation process.