Creative Tips and Uses for WD-40
Around 80% of U.S. households own a can of this handyman’s helper. Famed as a lubricant and a rust remover, it is most commonly used to silence squeaky hinges. The aerosol version is the best-known variety, but it also comes as a grab-and-go pen and in gallon containers.
I can do what?!
Consumers have reportedly found 2,000-plus uses for WD-40. Problems it’s fixed: hiding scratches on ceramic tile, removing gum from wallpaper, and cleaning toilet bowl lime stains. Oh, and it once helped firefighters in Denver, CO, dislodge a naked would-be burglar who was stuck in a vent.
Spray me sparingly on hinges
Noisy door? Avoid drenching the entire hinge with WD-40. Instead, pop up the hinge pin—don’t remove it entirely—clean off dust, and spritz lightly. Push the pin back in, open and close the door a few times, and wipe away any drips.
Shh—I’ll never reveal my mistakes
To ensure the WD-40 formula remained a trade secret, the company never patented it. Brand enthusiasts have tried to suss out its ingredients, claiming they’ve ID’d mineral oil and lots of water-repellent hydrocarbons, but the company has never confirmed the exact recipe.
Quit rushing me—I'm working here!
If you’re trying to loosen unbudgeable nuts, bolts, and screws, don’t expect instant results. You’ll need to wait about 15 minutes after applying WD-40 for it to do its thing. For only slightly stuck stuff, it’ll take three to five minutes.
A little history about this common household item:
- WD-40 was concocted in 1953 by three California chemists who wanted to find a way to degrease ballistic missiles and keep them from rusting.
- The name WD-40 stands for “water displacement, 40th formula.” There were 39 previous formulas that didn’t pan out.
- WD-40 made its debut commercially in 1958, when it hit store shelves in San Diego, CA.
The experts: Ernie Bernarducci, Ph.D., vice president of research & development at WD-40 Company; Stephen Fanuka, host of DIY Network’s Million Dollar Contractor; Lou Manfredini, home expert at Ace Hardware; Ed Padilla, founder and director of the Association of Certified Handyman Professionals