Almost 2000 uses for a can of WD-40

By Paul Michael on 14 August 2007 (Updated 18 August 2007) 30 comments
Photo: Pollas

My dad always sang the praises of WD-40. "It's not just for a squeaky hinge or a rusty bolt" he'd say. Alas, my memory is not all that sharp and I couldn't quite remember how many uses a good ol' can of WD-40 had. So when I dug out my can from the garage yesterday, I decided to do a little research.

I wondered if perhaps there were 100 uses. Maybe even 200. Then I stumbled across "The Tacoma Wheelmen's Bicycle Club" and found almost 2000 uses for the $4 can of miracle-spray. (The link below takes you straight to a can on Amazon, just in case you're all out and are too busy to get to a hardware store).

wd-40
WD40 11 oz. aerosol

Anyway, it took me a good 15 minutes just to read the list, but I was quite surprised by the versatility of this humble product. I'll admit there's some serious repetition here. I think the word "loosens" appears about 600 times at least. But some of my personal favorites include "Removes scuff marks from lawn furniture" and "Hides small scratches on woodwork."

I've reprinted the first 200 uses below. That's just 10% of the complete list. You can look through the remainder of the list right here , but you'd be wise to grab a cup of coffee and take the phone off the hook. This is the War & Peace of multi-tasking lists.

  1. Use to loosen rusty nuts and screws, clean garden tools
  2. Cleans piano keys
  3. Keeps wicker chairs from squeaking
  4. Lubricates small rolling toys
  5. Keeps garden tools rust-free
  6. Cleans patio door glide strip
  7. Removes crayon from clothes dryer (make sure to unplug dryer first)
  8. Removes scuff marks from ceramic tile floor
  9. Keeps metal wind chimes rust-free
  10. Removes crayon from walls
  11. Helps join plastic shelving to make disassembly easier
  12. Removes water spots from mirrors
  13. Lubricates hinge on pruning shears
  14. Lubricates screws on lawn furniture
  15. Lubricates hydraulic rams on slideout of 5th wheel
  16. Cleans fiberglass bathtubs
  17. Cleans and prevents rust on oil tank exterior
  18. Cleans and protects bed of wheelbarrows
  19. Prevents rust on swamp cooler nuts
  20. Removes tea stains from countertops
  21. Removes crayon from wallpaper
  22. Lubricates gate locks
  23. Removes crayon from carpet
  24. Removes tape marks from the wall where posters hung
  25. Shines leaves of artificial houseplants
  26. Keeps snow from sticking to shovel
  27. Removes coffee stains on floor tiles
  28. Keeps hose ends from corroding
  29. Lubricates moving parts on playground equipment
  30. Removes crayon from plastic
  31. Removes decals from bathtubs
  32. Removes old cellophane tape
  33. Removes crayon from shoes
  34. Cleans ashtrays
  35. Removes crayon from toys
  36. Cleans and protects underside of cast iron skillets
  37. Removes ink from carpet
  38. Keeps garden plant cages bright and rust free
  39. Cleans lawnmower blades
  40. Cleans and protects antique kitchen tools
  41. Prevents mildew growth on fountain
  42. Removes marks from floors left by chair feet
  43. Removes crayon from chalk boards
  44. Eliminates static on volume and tuning control knobs
  45. Cleans candle soot
  46. Removes ink from blue jeans
  47. Cleans residue on luggage handles
  48. Cleans old muffin tins
  49. Cleans and protects pruning shears
  50. Cleans gold-plated faucets
  51. Removes petroleum stains from clothing
  52. Keeps sewing needles from rusting
  53. Removes Kool-Aid stains from carpet and fabric
  54. Removes gunk from plastic dish-drainer
  55. Lubricates kitchen sink handheld spray nozzle
  56. Removes rust from curtain rods
  57. Removes adhesive from precious china
  58. Cleans bottoms of pots and pans
  59. Helps prevent rust on hide-a-key containers
  60. Cleans vinyl garage doors
  61. Cleans doggie doo from tennis shoes
  62. Removes gunk when replacing old faucets
  63. Cleans and protects medicine door latches
  64. Protects wrought iron from rust
  65. Removes tomato stains from clothes
  66. Prevents rust from forming on washing machines
  67. Keeps metal wire screens rust free
  68. Removes blue baked-on acrylic cover shields from acrylic windows
  69. Preventative maintenance on cooking burner
  70. Removes coffee stains from leather
  71. Protects electric pump on furnace
  72. Removes ink stains from leather
  73. Prevents corrosion on copper parts of fountain
  74. Lubricates folding parts of ironing board
  75. Removes rust from chair feet
  76. Cleans and polishes gold and brass lamps
  77. Removes adhesive price tag from shoe bottoms
  78. Keeps trigger on glue gun from sticking
  79. Cleans bed frame
  80. Protects shower heads from rust
  81. Protects silver from blackening
  82. Lubricates external pivots on lawnmowers
  83. Keeps blades from rusting on garden plow
  84. Cleans black streaks from hardwood floors
  85. Protects inner machinery in toilet against corrosion
  86. Removes paint from tile flooring
  87. Protects hand trowels from corrosion
  88. Cleans and protects pitchforks
  89. Lubricates screen channels upon installation of rubber bead
  90. Removes rust stains from bathroom tubs
  91. Cleans metal figurines
  92. Shines shower doors
  93. Protects patio door from sun damage
  94. Cleans mildew from refrigerator gasket
  95. Helps clean rust from wire shelves
  96. Cleans newspaper ink from tables
  97. Removes rust stains from floor after mopping
  98. Cleans and protects TV antenna
  99. Removes gum from wallpaper
  100. Penetrates and frees stuck toilet shutoff valve
  101. Spray on rototiller blades to prevent rust during off-season
  102. Cleans melted vacuum belt from carpeting
  103. Removes crayon from television screen
  104. Lubricates zippers on lawn mower grass catcher bags
  105. Cleans gunk from chain saws
  106. Prevents rust on metal patio chairs
  107. Removes crayon marks from glass
  108. Camouflages scratches in cultured marble
  109. Removes berry stains from patio furniture
  110. Removes gum stuck to concrete
  111. Cleans heavy dirt from shovels
  112. Cleans rust from metal exterior of speakers
  113. Coat outside pipes during winter to help prevent freezing damage or pipe bursts
  114. Removes glue deposits from linoleum
  115. Lubricates hinges on antique smoking stand
  116. Removes masking tape residue from linoleum
  117. Cleans gunk built up on doorknobs
  118. Removes stickers from credit cards
  119. Cleans smoke stains
  120. Removes lipstick from carpet
  121. Lubricates metal latches on chain link fences
  122. Removes melted scotch tape from dining room table
  123. Removes stains from coffee cups
  124. Removes crayon from screen doors
  125. Removes crayon from plastic tables
  126. Removes oil stains from nylon
  127. Spray on hula hoe swivels to clean & prevent corrosion
  128. Lubricates air holes before inserting hand air pump nozzle onto tires
  129. Keeps lawnmower wheels turning smoothly
  130. Keeps plant supports from rusting
  131. Removes gum from linoleum floor
  132. Removes strawberry stains from countertops
  133. Removes tar from shovels
  134. Keeps plant hangers from rusting
  135. Removes mascara from tile floors
  136. Erases marks caused by chair backs on running boards of wall
  137. Spray on silverware during unused periods to prevent tarnishing
  138. Clean black marks from shoes off the floor
  139. Removes labels from medicine bottles
  140. Removes wax from shoes
  141. Cleans chair wheels
  142. Cleans window sills
  143. Protects snow shovels from the effects of salt
  144. Cleans and protects washer lid
  145. Prevents corrosion on outdoor light fixtures
  146. Removes felt pen marks from floor
  147. Loosens valve stems on lawnmower tires
  148. Removes gum from aluminum siding
  149. Removes wax from vinyl surfaces
  150. Lubricates mixer gears
  151. Removes rollerblade marks from kitchen floor
  152. Adds moisture to and preserves ivory and bone items
  153. Keeps lawn mower carburetors free of gunk
  154. Removes Velcro stickers
  155. Polishes away scratches on countertops
  156. Lubricates vacuum cleaner roller brush
  157. Cleans gunk from base of toilet bowl
  158. Lubricates runners on porch glider
  159. Cleans roofing tar off circular saw blades
  160. Protects exposed metal parts on snow blowers
  161. Removes sticker residue from clothes
  162. Removes gum from flagpoles
  163. Keeps clay from sticking to shovels
  164. Prevents rake from rusting
  165. Removes laundry detergent stain from washer
  166. Polishes splash guards
  167. Cleans crayon off of rock walls
  168. Lubricates ball valve handle on sprinkler system
  169. Lubricates return springs on riding lawnmowers
  170. Keeps kitty-doo from sticking to electric cat-box rakes
  171. Removes dried toothpaste stains
  172. Removes silly putty from furniture
  173. Cleans lime stains from toilet bowls
  174. Spray on bottom 6 inches of wooden patio table to prevent mildew build up
  175. Removes glue from refrigerator
  176. Helps clean showers
  177. Cleans build up on hedge trimmers
  178. Lubricates gardening shears
  179. Cleans dog hair from sliding door rollers
  180. Removes marks-a-lot ink from most items
  181. Removes rust from cookie tins
  182. Keeps flower pots from sticking together when stacked in storage
  183. Removes gum from dryer lint screen
  184. Cleans tar from rubber water hoses
  185. Removes scuff marks from lawn furniture
  186. Removes rust stains from tile floors
  187. Lubricates lever on razor scraper
  188. Removes lipstick from fabric
  189. Cleans and lubricates the rubber surrounds on stereo sub woofers
  190. Spray down drain throat to remove scum
  191. Removes crayon from place mats
  192. Removes stubborn body oils and shampoo residue from bath mats
  193. Spray around bottom of garbage cans to prevent animals from getting in
  194. Removes oxidation from aluminum window frames
  195. Polishes and protects brass candlesticks
  196. Cleans music racks
  197. Cleans peanut butter from shoestrings
  198. Cleans and protects blades of pruning shears
  199. Cleans wood planter bed
  200. Cleans scum from rubber gloves
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Guest's picture
Jeremy

That list is ridiculously padded. How many separate entries do you need to say "cleans and protects metal objects" and "removes crayon from many surfaces"? Some of them were surprising, but I think the interesting uses tend to get lost in all the repetitive slush. Maybe you should take some WD-40 to that list--clean and protect it.

Guest's picture
Guest

Didn't even mention how good it is for starting fires!

Guest's picture
Guest

.... it is amazing stuff though.

Paul Michael's picture

I did point out the repetition in the post, but the top 200 were much less padded than, say, the final 200. I think it's a fun list with some great points. What I'm thinking of doing is creating a list of 100 supreme wd-40 uses from that list based on reader comments.

Guest's picture
Jeremy

Yeah, no fault to you--you were providing a link and an excerpt. Sorry if it came out the wrong way.

I think a revised list that cuts to the chase is an excellent idea. The whole thing reads like brainstorming that wasn't taken any further, which is too bad, since it's a good idea for a list.

Jessica Okon's picture

huffing it!
(Just kidding, but I had to put it out there)

Andrea Karim's picture

Jessica, that is totally inappropriate!

It also happens to be the first thought that came to my mind. :)

What? I like the smell. Maybe good as a room freshener, as well?

Guest's picture
Tony

What the heck is an electric cat-box rake? (#170)
What the heck is a hydraulic ram, and why does its 5th wheel slide out? (#15)
#193--Did they mean "repel" or "prevent"? I don't think animals climb on garbage cans. They either knock them over or (if they're open) they jump in.

I agree, the repetition makes this list seem less impressive, but it is true that WD40 has a lot of unusual uses.

Paul Michael's picture

is one of those automated litter boxes that scoops the poop automatically. I believe our very own Justin Ryan did a post about something very similar. Give it a read.

http://www.wisebread.com/pet-hack-why-i-love-the-autobox

Guest's picture
Guest

Lubricate - lubricate - lubricate!!!

If you read the label of a can of wd-40, it does not use that word once! And there is a reason for that - it is NOT a lubricant.

wd-40 is a SOLVENT that has some lubricating properties amongst many others. wd-40 will loosen many things because it eats up whatever is binding them. That property will also eat up and destroy many things that you don't want destroyed, like seals on bearings, grease, and oils.

wd-40 is great stuff, but using it as a lubricant can cause more harm than good. If you must use it in an emergency as a "lubricant", be sure that you clean and properly relube the device ASAP.

Guest's picture
Guest

Trivia - WD stands for Water Dispersant. 40 because it was the 40th formula. There was once a WD-40 scented men's cologne.

Paul Michael's picture

Thanks guest. So what you're saying is use WD-40 to cure a sticking problem, but then wipe it off and lubricate with oil, something designed for the job. Good advice.

Guest's picture
Guest

I don't think you are supposed to ever use it on dishes, silverware or cooking pots, even if you plan to wash them later. What if some other person eats with them without knowing they are covered in WD-40? Also it sounds risky to put something sprayed with WD-40 on a hot burner. Mmmm...fumes...

R

Paul Michael's picture

I think you need to exercise your own personal judgment on these tips. Basically, cherry pick the list.

Andrea Karim's picture

I have to objet to #190, because I think it's pretty toxic. But it is fabulous stuff. I bought a can a few years ago, and I've been surprised just how often I need to use it. Especially living in Seattle. :)

There was NOT a WD40-scented cologne! Right? There wasn't, was there? Because if there was, I'd so swoon.

Guest's picture

lol. That is a crazy list. Found this post by StumbleUpon.

Guest's picture
Updog

Heres a more condensed version of the above list.
1.cleans stuff
2.removes stuff from other stuff

Guest's picture
Guest

someone told me they used it on there knees ((auld Git)and for the yanks old person)can this be confirmed or not lol

Guest's picture
Guest

I've been enjoying browsing this site today. Thanks for so much great info.

I just wanted to add my $0.02 (as a former mechanic) on WD40 that fellow frugalists might appreciate:

As another poster mentioned, WD40 is a penetrating oil, not explicitly a lubricant. It works great on a lot of things, but it has some problems--foremost is that because it is a consumer-oriented product it doesn't have very strong solvents (key to the "penetrating" part) and tends to get sticky and attract dirt and other crud which can make whatever you were trying to clean or lubricate worse in the long run. Second, it's an aerosol, which means that whenever you use it, even if you use the little straw, you are going to be wasting a lot of product (and making a mess).

I suggest you using a trade-oriented liquid penetrating oil for all of the 200 uses above. A 10 oz. spray can of WD40 will run you about $4. An 8 oz. can of liquid Kano or similar penetrating oil found at your local auto parts store (try one that caters to working mechanics... i.e. NAPA over Kragen), will also run about $4, but will last you many years. I've had the same tin of Kano for about 8 years and it's barely 1/2 used. Apply it with cotton balls, swabs, or a towel/sponge for bigger jobs. Use a little straw and the magic of air pressure--your finger over one end (don't suck!)--to draw up and deposit the oil into locks, etc. I think the lubricating qualities of Kano and PDRP etc. are also better.

Finally, two more uses for penetrating oil... 1) it's a great de-fogger. Use a cotton ball or cotton towel to lightly coat your bathroom mirrors, inside car windows, even your eye glasses, etc. A light touch, plus the solvents, will keep the glass from streaking or feeling greasy and it will last through multiple cleanings. 2) use it to clean and protect battery contacts, including (especially) in your car. Good clean oiled contacts increase battery life.

Guest's picture
Guest

Hiya, just read your comment, re using oil in locks, this should, unless despirate, be avoided. Oil and WD40 are not reccomended by locksmiths, one should always use graphite powder. Just thought i would mention this.

Guest's picture

WOW! whodda thunk? Now we need to find 2001 usees for duct tape!

Guest's picture

That is really long list!

Guest's picture
UncleAzzy

Isn't this stuff contain a noted carcinogen, though? I have heard anecdotal evidence both for and against this claim, but until this is clarified, d'ya really want to put this on your kids' toys?

Guest's picture

99% are lubrication and cleaning. Removing crayon from 20 different surfaces is NOT 20 different uses.

Guest's picture
Guest

I for ONE am glad that I read an email forward a while back about WD-40. TODAY I needed to remove Graffiti spray paint from the side of our family vehicle. WD-40 came to the rescue. Added just a little Baking Soda and it also removed the permanent Magic Marker from the side of car too. I think I will always have a can of it around the house and in the car.

Guest's picture
Pat

My Grandmother used it on her arthritic knees. She swore that it relieved the pain.

Guest's picture
Guest therese

im told it is good for such as your knees and pain is this true

Guest's picture
Guest therese

is wd40 good for spraying on your joints for arthiritas ect

Guest's picture
Guest

does wd40 clean leather sofas

Guest's picture
Thiah

What is the process in removing oil stain from fabric?