Family & Education

Got a Problem? Try WD-40

TIMEDecember 16, 2021

The year is 1953. Rocket Chemical, a struggling company in San Diego, sets out to create a rust-preventive solvent that can displace water. On the 40th attempt (note: 39 failures), they nailed it. Thus, WD-40 was born.

While the ingredients remain a well-guarded secret more than 50 years later (the company insists there’s nothing in it to harm us), WD-40 has myriad uses beyond what it was intended to do: clean rocket parts.

WD-40 will take care of things that are:

Sticky

WD-40 removes stickers and adhesives from glass, plastic, countertops, and containers. Use it to lubricate the tracks in sticking sliding windows to make them glide. Spray a little WD-40 to lubricate sticky drawers and to penetrate and loosen sticky knobs on adjustable chairs. Give your snow shovel a quick spray to combat sticky snow.

Stuck

Zipper stuck? Loosen it with WD-40. A quick shot will help untangle jewelry chains and unfreeze door hinges. Spray on glass objects that are stuck together to separate without breaking. Lubricate the stuck walking foot on your sewing machine. Use it to free stuck bolts, lug nuts, and hose ends that won’t budge, to loosen tight Lego blocks, and to make window shades roll smoothly.

Grungy

WD-40 removes tar, doggie doo, and scuff marks from shoes. It also cleans filthy guitar strings and removes the grime from the barbecue grill. You know that buildup on your favorite pair of scissors? Hit it with WD-40 to make them like new again. It removes the grime and scum from fiberglass showers like a dream. It removes the gunk from a plastic dish drainer and the sink’s handheld spray nozzle, too. It cleans and protects brass and silver from tarnishing.

Squeaky

If it squeaks, WD-40’s likely the solution. It keeps wicker chairs, kids’ swings, rocking chairs, bed springs, and noisy hinges from squeaking. It will quiet your trash compactor, too. Use it to silence a squeaky weathervane, car strut mounts, and windshield wipers.

Pesty

WD-40 keeps flies off cows and pigeons off balconies; they hate the smell. Spray WD-40 around flower beds to gently send cats away. Spray it along the bottom of chain-link fences that surround gardens to repel rabbits and rodents and on wire tomato plant cages to keep insects away. WD-40 also removes dead insects from a car’s front grill, radiator, and windshield.

Scratched

WD-40 cleans, restores, and camouflages scratches on ceramic and marble floors. It gives floors that “just waxed” sheen without making them slippery. It hides small scratches on woodwork.

Stained

WD-40 cleans piano keys and removes Kool-Aid and tomato stains from carpet and fabric. It takes lipstick from anything, makes those oil stains on the concrete driveway disappear, and takes hair dye out of your towels.

Rusty

WD-40 will keep your fishing reels, lures, and flies rust- and gunk-free. Curiously, many fishermen report that spraying WD-40 on fishing lures actually attracts fish! WD-40 removes and prevents rust on anything made of metal. It removes and prevents rust from forming in washing machines, on showerheads, and on garden tools. You know those rust stains on your tub and shower? Those terra-cotta pots that oxidize? You know the routine: WD-40!

I’m convinced. WD-40 is quite an amazing product and is available just about anywhere (even the grocery store). I’ve moved my can of the stuff from the garage right into the house. Funny thing, though: It was so covered with dirt and grime from so many years of nonuse, I used WD-40 to clean the WD-40. It worked great!

Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Mary invites you to visit her at her website, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at EverydayCheapskate.com/contact, “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Copyright 2021 Creators.com