What Is Cosmoline?

Are you curious to know what is cosmoline? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about cosmoline in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is cosmoline?

In the world of preservation and protection, a waxy, rust-preventing substance called “Cosmoline” has long held its ground. Used primarily for the preservation of firearms and military equipment, Cosmoline is a tried-and-true solution for safeguarding valuable items from the damaging effects of rust, corrosion, and moisture. In this blog, we’ll delve into what Cosmoline is, its history, applications, and the enduring role it plays in preserving and protecting a wide range of products.

What Is Cosmoline?

Cosmoline is a generic term for a class of rust and corrosion inhibitors, known as rust preventatives or rust inhibitors. It is a waxy, grease-like substance that is applied to metal surfaces to protect them from rust and corrosion. Cosmoline acts as a barrier, sealing the metal from exposure to moisture, air, and other corrosive elements. It is known for its long-lasting effectiveness, making it a popular choice for the preservation of firearms, machinery, and military equipment.

The History Of Cosmoline

Cosmoline has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century when it was developed as a rust preventive and lubricant. It was initially used by the military to protect firearms and equipment during transit and storage, especially in maritime environments. The term “Cosmoline” is believed to be a contraction of “Coatings, Oils, and Specially Prepared Material over Zinc” and “Marine Corps” – a nod to its early use by the U.S. Marine Corps.

Applications Of Cosmoline

  1. Firearm Preservation: Cosmoline is most commonly associated with the preservation of firearms. It is applied to all metal parts of a firearm, from barrels and actions to magazines and bolts, to protect them during storage or shipping. Once the firearm reaches its destination, the Cosmoline is removed, and the weapon is ready for use.
  2. Military Equipment: In addition to firearms, Cosmoline is used to protect various military equipment, including tanks, vehicles, artillery pieces, and spare parts, ensuring they remain operational and free from corrosion.
  3. Machinery and Tools: Cosmoline is also employed in the preservation of industrial machinery, tools, and equipment, particularly when they are stored for extended periods or transported overseas.
  4. Antique Preservation: Collectors of antique machinery, automobiles, and firearms may use Cosmoline to safeguard their valuable and historical items from corrosion and deterioration.

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Why Cosmoline Endures?

Cosmoline’s enduring popularity can be attributed to several key qualities:

  1. Effective Rust Prevention: Cosmoline creates a protective barrier that effectively prevents rust and corrosion, even in harsh environments.
  2. Longevity: Once applied, Cosmoline can remain effective for extended periods, making it a reliable choice for long-term storage and transportation.
  3. Versatility: Cosmoline can be used on a wide range of metal surfaces, from small firearm components to large industrial equipment.
  4. Easy Removal: While Cosmoline provides robust protection, it can be removed with relative ease using solvents, heat, or abrasive methods when the protected items are ready for use.


Cosmoline is a classic example of a product that has stood the test of time, demonstrating its effectiveness in preventing rust and corrosion. It continues to be a trusted choice for military organizations, firearm enthusiasts, and preservationists seeking to protect valuable equipment and historical artifacts. In a world where preservation and protection are paramount, Cosmoline remains a reliable and enduring solution.


What Is Cosmoline Made From?

Cosmoline is a trademarked brand of petroleum-based, wax-like corrosion inhibitors. Its chemical composition consists primarily of a homogenous mixture of oil-based, non-polar hydrocarbons. Physically, Cosmoline is brown in color and comes in various viscosities and shear strengths.

What Is Cosmoline Used For?

The most common use of Cosmoline is in the storage and preservation of some firearms, hand tools, machine tools and their tooling, and marine equipment. Entire vehicles can be preserved with cosmoline, as was attempted with Miss Belvedere.

Is Cosmoline Still Made?

Due to regulation changes and advances in technology the heavy, thick grease type of Cosmoline is no longer available, but all of our rust preventives are a formulation derived from the original Cosmoline.

What Removes Cosmoline?

A lot of people swear by mineral spirits as a primary solvent to remove Cosmoline, and you can either apply it with a rag or submerge/dip your gun into it.

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