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11 Surprising Uses for WD-40 around the House

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Woman chewing gum (Photo: @shanti via Twenty20)
If you’ve ever needed to silence a squeaky hinge or loosen a stuck screw, you’ve probably used WD-40. From a little company in the 50s making solvents and degreasers for the aerospace industry to a household name, this spray is one of the most popular products for a wide range of uses around home.
Where did WD-40 come from and what is it? What are its uses around the house? Here’s the lowdown on WD-40.

What is WD-40?

The name WD-40 comes from its purpose and the attempt to create it. In 1953, Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego was attempting to create a product that would be perfect as a rust-prevention solvent and degreaser for the aerospace industry. Of course, repelling moisture was a key function they needed to achieve. The first 39 attempts missed their mark, but the 40th try was a success. Thus, the company listed Water Displacement, 40th formula as the product. It’s better known as WD-40 Multi Use Product.
What it’s made of, though, is a carefully guarded industry secret. Their secret recipe has been protected since creation and has been rumored to have fish oil and Stoddard Solvent. Although it is made of 50% mineral oil, the precise formulation has never been duplicated or published.

Applications for WD-40 around the house

WD-40 lists more than 2,000 uses for their lubricating and rust-preventing spray on their website for around the home or garden. Needless to say, it’s a diverse product. But what are some specific uses that are common for homeowners? Here are some common (and occasionally surprising) ways you can use WD-40 at home.

1. Loosening fasteners

One of the most popular uses for WD-40 is, of course, to unseize screws, bolts, and nuts. A quick spray of WD-40 penetrates the threads, breaks down rust, and often frees up the fastener to remove it.

2. Hushing moving parts

A hinge squeaks because the metal pin is rubbing on the plates that fasten to the door and the jamb. Quieting hinges and other moving parts often takes just a quick blast of WD-40 that creates a barrier between the metal parts.

3. Cleaning up crayon

Did you know that crayon can be removed from painted walls, counters, and non-porous furniture with WD-40? It works! All you need is a little elbow grease and a clean cloth to go with it.

4. Shining plastic surfaces

Whether it’s a dusty artificial plant or your bowling league trophies, WD-40 leaves a brilliant luster on smooth plastic surfaces that lasts.

5. Removing gum

Work a little WD-40 around a piece of gum errantly stuck to carpet, clothing, or furniture to remove it. Once the fluid gets between the gum and the original surface, it unlocks it.

6. Moisturize bone and ivory

If you’re lucky enough to have a piano with real ivory keys or ornaments made from bone or ivory, you can protect them from drying out and cracking. Wipe them down occasionally with WD-40.

7. Shine shower doors

Soap scum and hard water stains make glass shower doors look grimy. Use WD-40 to remove the scum and scale left behind with a little spray on a clean cloth. Buffing the glass afterward will help water bead off nicely too!

8. Remove grape juice stains

Rather than tossing a piece of clothing or ripping out carpet that have been stained with grape juice, clean it out. Dousing it in WD-40 will help break down the stain in the fibers so it can be lifted out when you scrub it with a cloth.

9. Clean electrical connections

Moisture in electrical components can cause corrosion or buildup that interrupts the flow of power. Apply WD-40 to remove the buildup and restore the connection.

10. Lubricate squeaky wheels everywhere

Rollers on drawers, luggage wheels, chair casters—whatever wheels are squeaky can be lubricated with WD-40 to silence their complaints.

11. Prevent snow from sticking to glass

A very small amount of WD-40 on a cloth can be used to coat the glass, and the rain and snow won’t stick.