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What is WD-40®?

WD-40® is a versatile product that has become a household name for its ability to lubricate, clean, and protect metal surfaces. Its secret formula, created in 1953, works wonders in displacing moisture and preventing rust. Whether you're fixing a squeaky hinge or maintaining tools, WD-40® is the go-to solution. Curious about its other surprising uses? Keep reading to discover more.
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

WD-40® was created in 1953 by three technicians at the Rocket Chemical Company in San Diego. They were working on a way to protect missile parts by creating a rust preventative solvent and de-greaser. The "WD" in the product name indicates that it is a water displacement compound. The "40" was chosen to indicate that the successful formula for the product was found after 39 failed experiments.

In 1958, the Rocket Chemical Company realized that selling WD-40® for public use as a lubricant spray could be a very profitable endeavor. Today, WD-40® is widely available in hardware and discount stores. There are five delivery systems for the product: WD-40® aerosol is the traditional delivery format; the WD-40® Smart Straw is a can with a permanently attached straw; the WD-40® No-Mess Pen allows you to use the product while on the run; WD-40® bulk/non-aerosol is offered in gallon and 55-gallon containers for large jobs; and the WD-40® Big Blast provides a wider spray pattern and larger can size.

Mineral spirits, one of the ingredients in WD-40®.
Mineral spirits, one of the ingredients in WD-40®.

Although WD-40® has a very distinctive smell, there is nothing dangerous in the product. The odor is simply the result of a fragrance added during the manufacturing process. The primary ingredients in the product are mineral spirits, liquefied petroleum gas, and mineral oil. The exact formula of WD-40® is a highly guarded trade secret, however.

For automotive repair, WD-40® has many uses. It can drive moisture out of the high- and low-tension electrical components of a motor engine and loosen nuts or screws. If you're trying to keep your car in top shape, WD-40® is also good for restoring and cleaning padded leather dashboards in vehicles.

WD-40® can be used to loosen rusted screws.
WD-40® can be used to loosen rusted screws.

Around your home, WD-40® can fix noisy door hinges, keep scissors working smoothly, loosen rusted screws, stop electric fans from squeaking, and lubricate the tracks in your windows to make them easier to open. Many people also report that spraying WD-40® on hand tools is a good way to prevent rust damage.

Although it seems hard to believe, WD-40® is also a great household cleaning product. It is good for removing lipstick or tomato stains from your laundry. You can use it to remove stubborn duct tape residue, clean splattered grease off your stove, keep glass shower doors free of water spots, clean stainless steel sinks, and camouflage scratches in ceramic or marble floors. WD-40® will even take oil spots off concrete driveways.

Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the AboutMechanics team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

Learn more...
Dana Hinders
Dana Hinders

Dana holds a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of Iowa. She has loved being part of the AboutMechanics team ever since discovering the joys of freelance writing after her son was born. Dana also hones her writing skills by contributing articles to various blogs, as well as creating sales copy and content for e-courses.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

anon16876

When a part moves and it isn't supposed too, fix it with Duct Tape. If it is supposed to move and doesn't fix it with WD-40 -Lewdtexan

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    • Mineral spirits, one of the ingredients in WD-40®.
      By: Coprid
      Mineral spirits, one of the ingredients in WD-40®.
    • WD-40® can be used to loosen rusted screws.
      By: Boca
      WD-40® can be used to loosen rusted screws.
    • WD-40 can remove splattered grease from a stove.
      By: Tiramisu Studio
      WD-40 can remove splattered grease from a stove.
    • WD-40 is a great household cleaning product, and can be used to clean stainless steel sinks.
      By: Joe Gough
      WD-40 is a great household cleaning product, and can be used to clean stainless steel sinks.