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Uses for WD-40

Claim:   Article lists a variety of household uses for WD-40 brand spray lubricant.

MIXTURE

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2006]

I had a neighbor who had bought a new pickup. I got up very early one Sunday morning and saw that someone had spray-painted red all around the sides of This beige truck (for some unknown reason). I went over, woke him up, and told him the bad news. He was very upset and was trying to figure out what to do probably nothing until Monday morning, since nothing was open. Another neighbor came out and told him to get his WD-40 and clean it off. It removed the unwanted paint beautifully and did not harm his paint job that was on the truck. I am impressed! WD-40

Water Displacement #40. The product began from a search for a rust Preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a "water displacement" compound. They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40. The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts.

Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

When you read the "shower door" part, try it. It's the first thing that has ever cleaned that spotty shower door. If yours is plastic, it works just as well as glass. It is a miracle!

1. Then try it on your stovetop.. Voila! It’s now shinier than it is ever been. You will be amazed.
2. Here are some of the uses:
3. Protects silver from tarnishing.
4. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
5. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
6. Gives floors that 'just-waxed' sheen without making it slippery.
7. Keeps flies off cows.
8. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
9. Removes lipstick stains.
10. Loosens stubborn zippers.
11. Untangles jewelry chains.
12. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks. Cleans the fronts of Stainless steel appliances (have personally seen the employees of Lowes use it on their appliances in the store to keep them new looking)
13. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
14. Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
15. Removes tomato stains from clothing
16. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
17. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
18. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
19. Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes.
20. Gives a children's play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
21. Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
22. Rids kid’s rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises.
23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
25. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.
29. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
31. Removes splattered grease on stove.
32. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
35. Removes all traces of duct tape.
36. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve Arthritis pain.
37. Florida's favorite use is: "cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers."
38. The favorite use in the state of New York — WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
39. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a LITTLE on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it is a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using Some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
40. Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
41. WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.
42. Also, if you've discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and re-wash. Presto! Lipstick is gone!
43. If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start.
44. It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn't seem to harm the finish and you won't have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
45. Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40!

P. S. The basic ingredient is FISH OIL.
 

Origins:   The WD-40 brand of spray lubricant (we cover the origins of its name in another article) is one of those ubiquitous products that is both found in a large
percentage of households and put to a wide variety of uses (not all of them recommended by the manufacturer). The above-quoted list seeks to enlighten consumers about a number of unusual uses for WD-40 lubricating spray they might not have considered. As we explain in our article about a similar list of tips about Bounce brand fabric softener sheets, classifying as "True" or "False" e-mails that enumerate the many uses to which a particular household product can supposedly be put is always problematic, for a couple of reasons:
  • Many household products will do at least a passable job in a variety of uses other than the ones for which they are primarily intended, so such claims are not necessarily remarkable or unique.
  • Products designed for particular uses are generally more effective at those tasks than other products put to non-intended uses. (That is, bug spray might clean glass just fine, but plain old window cleaner is better, cheaper, and safer for that purpose.)
We queried the manufacturer of WD-40 about this e-mail to see if they could provide any enlightenment, and their customer service department responded by offering a modified list from which they "removed the tips we do not recommend." The manufacturer-recommended uses for WD-40 spray that remained after their emendations were as follows:
3. Protects silver from tarnishing.
4. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
10. Loosens stubborn zippers.
11. Untangles jewelry chains.
14. Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
18. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
19. Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes.
21. Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
22. Rids kids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises.
No water! 23. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
24. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
26. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
27. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
28. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.
30. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
33. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
34. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
35. Removes all traces of duct tape.
37. Florida's favorite use is: "cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers."
43. If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start.
44. It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn't seem to harm the finish and you won't have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off. Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks. Wash off after use.
45. Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly! Use WD-40!
Of course, this doesn't mean WD-40 won't necessarily work (more or less effectively) for the other purposes originally listed, just that the manufacturer doesn't recommend them. We welcome comments from readers detailing the results obtained from trying some of these alternative uses for WD-40 spray.

As for the claim the "basic ingredient" in WD-40 is "fish oil," it's a common rumor and one that is easily propagated (because cans of WD-40 spray include no ingredients list), but a glance at the composition information included in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for WD-40 aerosol indicates the product is primarily petroleum-based, with the main ingredient being "solvent naptha, petroleum, medium aliphatic" (also known as Stoddard Solvent):
  • solvent naphtha petroleum, medium aliphatic, > 60%
  • petroleum base oil as paraffinic distillate, heavy, solvent-dewaxed (severe), 15% to 25%
  • corrosion inhibitor unregulated, 1% to 10%
  • wetting agent unregulated, 1% to 10%
  • fragrance unregulated, 0% to 1%
  • carbon dioxide, 2% to 3%
Last updated:   13 February 2013

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