12 Amazing WD40 Uses

By: Melanie Radzicki McManus  | 
WD-40 Uses
Consumers have reported more than 2,000 uses for WD-40 to the company. WD-40/Peter Dazeley/Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/wakila/Andy Sacks/Getty Images/HowStuffWorks

Americans are a diverse lot. But one thing they have in common is a love of WD-40. There a lot of amazing WD-40 uses, but it's primarily relied on as a lubricant, degreaser and rust-remover. Some 80 percent of households have at least one can on hand, The New York Times reported.


A New Multi-Use Legend is Born

WD-40 was created in 1953 by Norman Larsen, an employee of the newly formed Rocket Chemical Company. It was produced specifically for use in the aerospace industry. The WD in the product's name stands for water displacement, while the 40 was added because it took the fledgling company 40 tries to perfect the formula. Once it did, aerospace contractor Convair was the first to use WD-40, applying it to the outer skin of the Atlas Missile to protect it from rust and corrosion.

A few years later, with employees regularly sneaking the product home for their personal use, the company began selling WD-40 to the public. Then, in 1969, Rocket Chemical Company renamed itself WD-40 Company, Inc. after its sole product. Today, the original WD-40 is still in use, although the company also sells product variations, such as WD-40 BIKE, a product line geared at cycling maintenance.


12 Uses for WD-40

Move over baking soda, because there's a new deep clean hack. Some of the most popular uses of WD-40 include cleaning power tools, fixing squeaky hinges, lubricating sticky drawers or wheels, and rust prevention. But enthusiastic consumers have reported to the company well over 2,000 ways in which the product can be used. Here are a dozen of the more creative ones.

  1. Untangling jewelry. Spray a little WD-40 on your tangled necklace or bracelet chain and you should be able to straighten it out in no time. Speaking of jewelry, WD-40 polishes gold as well.
  2. Removing chewing gum. If the kids get gum in their hair, a little blast of WD-40 will remove it in no time. (And it's a lot less messy than using peanut butter.) Just make sure to thoroughly rinse your child's hair afterward. WD-40 also will easily remove gum from the bottom of your shoe.
  3. Cleaning your car. Hate returning home from a summer trip and seeing your car's bumper, grill and windshield covered with dead insects? A few blasts of WD-40 and you can easily wipe them away. It can also be used to deep clean vinyl surfaces. In addition, you can use the spray to remove scuff marks, regular grime, tar and paint (if, say, a car sideswipes you). Best of all, it won't ruin your vehicle's own paint job in the process.
  4. Removing tape and sticker residue. You never need to worry about affixing a state park sticker to your windshield again. WD-40 will help you remove the sticker and clean off the sticky residue that remains. Ditto for cellophane tape. Spray some on, let it soak in a few minutes, then wipe.
  5. Rust prevention. WD-40 can prevents rust too. Use it on car and truck exteriors to help displace moisture and prevent rust from destroying your resale value.
  6. Cleaning garden tools. Don't replace your lawn mower of pruning shears. Pickup a can of WD-40 and a paper towel, use them with care, and enjoy another season of squeaky clean garden tools.
  7. Removing a variety of stains. Have some coffee stains on your carpet or jeans? WD-40 will remove them. This magical spray also removes lipstick, ink, tea, berry, tomato stains, and oil stains, lime stains in your toilet bowl, and hair color dye in your towels.
  8. Removing hard water spots. It's so annoying when your hard water leaves unsightly spots on your shower door or dishes, or porcelain, tile and metal surfaces. But spritz a little WD-40 on those spots, and you'll be able to easily wipe them away. If you use the spray on dishes, make sure to thoroughly wash before using them.
  9. Unsticking zippers. Jammed zippers can be so frustrating. Before discarding the item or potentially ruining it as you struggle to set the zipper free, try a little bit of WD-40. Many times, the lubricating properties of WD-40 is all you need to do.
  10. Keeping insects away. Hate spiders? Spray some WD-40 on your windowsills, doorframes or wherever they try to gain entry into your home. This will help keep the spiders — and other insects — out. Gardeners, a generous coating over your wire tomato plant cages will also keep bugs at bay.
  11. Putting a shine on artificial plants. If your artificial house plants look dusty and tired, spiff them up by wiping the leaves and similar foliage with some WD-40.
  12. Breaking in a baseball glove. Baseball gloves, and rubber gloves in general, are notoriously stiff. But, applying a thin layer of WD-40 to a dry cloth and apply it to your genuine leather baseball mitt to help soften the leather.


A Household Staple

The versatility of WD-40, as showcased in these 12 amazing uses, truly makes it a household staple. From untangling jewelry to revitalizing door hinges, this wonder spray continues to surprise with its multitude of applications. But these are just the tip of the iceberg.

With a little elbow grease and a can of WD-40, everyday problems don't stand a chance. While WD-40 is clearly a versatile and invaluable product, remember that it's flammable and should never be used in enclosed spaces.