Top 10 Preparedness Uses of WD-40

Top 10 Preparedness Uses of WD-40

I was fortunate to be raised by a father that introduced me early to the twin wonders of duct tape and WD-40.  I remember him telling me the story of WD-40‘s creation and thinking it was too fantastic to be true…turns out he took very little editorial license.  The WD stands for ‘water displacing’ (hydrophobic properties) and WD-40 was the first mass marketed hydrophobic coating but it also cleans, lubricates, penetrates, and protects.  There are a number of superhydrophobic coatings entering the market currently but I can’t imagine that any of these magic formulations will be as multi-talented as WD-40.  There are well over 2,000 documented uses of WD-40 according to the manufacturer but here are Prepography‘s Top 10 Preparedness uses of WD-40.

  1. RuWD-40st Removal and Inhibitor:  WD-40 can be used to clean up light rust (spray on a clean cloth and wipe), loosen rusty nuts or screws (spray directly and wait 30 seconds) and prevent rust from forming.  One of my favorite uses is to clean and protect garden tools.  Place a bucket of sand in the corner of your garden shed and use the sand to scour the dirt and grime off of your garden tools (just plunge the tool into the sand after spraying it down with WD-40).  Once your sand is well oiled, spraying the tools down isn’t required any more.  It’s great for keeping firearms parts from rusting as well.
  2. Oddball Cleaning Tasks:  Because WD-40 contains solvent it can also help clean up and remove petroleum products, adhesives, inks, paints, glues and waxes (including beeswax and crayon) from metal, fabrics, carpets, wallpaper, vinyl and most plastics (do not use on Polycarbonate and clear polystyrene).  Make sure to try a little on an unobtrusive area first to make sure that there aren’t any odd effects or unwanted discoloration.  A few of the oddball cleaning tasks that WD-40 can help you with include remove coffee and tea stains, prewashing grease from your hands, or stripping wax from pair of skis.
  3. Pest Control:  WD-40 can be used directly on many insects and spiders but is probably better suited in this role to prophylactic use.  Spray WD-40 onto windowsills and frames as well as into the tracts of sliding doors to make a barrier than many insects and spiders won’t cross.  If you’re having issues keeping wasps from building their nests in your home’s eaves you can wipe the eaves down with WD-40 and it can also be used on Window ledges to keep pigeons away.  Spray the outside of your trashcan or the pole holding up your birdfeeder to keep rodents from climbing up/in or the trunk of any trees that you want to keep beavers away from.
  4. Grooming:  Using WD-40 makes it much easier to untangle hair, remove gum from hair or pull cockle burs from a dog’s hair or horse’s mane.  Make sure not to apply the WD-40 in such a way that the fumes could be inhaled…a good option would be using one of WD-40’s No Mess Pens but you could also spray the WD-40 on a spare rag and apply by hand.
  5. Condition Leather, Wood & Rubber:  I haven’t tried this myself and would only attempt this with my leather if traditional leather balms and mineral oil weren’t available but WD-40’s been used for years to break in and condition baseball gloves, leather gaskets or other leather goods.  WD-40 reportedly cleans, penetrates, lubricates and protects leather when it is sprayed with WD-40 and buffed with a soft cloth.  It can be similarly be used to preserve and protect the wood on your garden tools (similar to the use of mineral oil on kitchen utensils).  Rubber gaskets can be cleaned and revitalized with WD-40 as well as many other rubber products including windshield wipers (very light coating applied with a soft cloth).
  6. Automotive / Equipment:  In addition to WD-40’s mechanical uses it can also be used to remove bugs splats from your grill, clean off paint transfer from a minor collision and even to displace the water keeping your spark plugs from working properly.
  7. Ease Assembly and Disassembly:  Lubricate tight fitting parts during assembly to ease disassembly.  If you forgot to do this and you are having trouble separating two items…spray a little WD-40 on the seam, wait 30 seconds for it to penetrate and then try again.  Some examples I’ve used and heard of include:  Spraying down the bed of a pickup before dropping in the bedliner, lubricating the posts (which nest) for bunkbeds, lubricating the nesting parts of plastic shelving and installing a tight fitting, pink aftermarket stock to my daughter’s Ruger 10/22.
  8. WD-40 No Mess PenImprove Functioning of Electrical Contacts:  I’ve already mentioned using WD-40 on spark plugs but it also can improve the function of other electrical contacts including battery terminals.  Make sure to seek expert advice and unplug your item before you try this in any system over 12v.  WD-40 will displace any water present and remove corrosion which should improve the functioning of those electrical contacts.
  9. Prevent Buildup:  Applying WD-40 to surfaces will help prevent the buildup of mildew, grass clippings (if used under the mowing deck of a lawnmower) and corrosion.  If buildup does occur the WD-40 will make it easier to clean.
  10. Lubrication:  In addition to the anticipated lubrication tasks like quieting squeaky hinges, maintaining bicycle chains and keeping mechanical parts functioning, WD-40 can also be used to lubricate plastic, metal and glass items that are stuck together from stacking.  It can also be used to lubricate locks if graphite isn’t available.

Read more about WD-40’s History as well as WD-40 Myths & Legends.

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