Surprising Uses for WD-40 (And When Not to Use It)


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Slick Moves

Did you know WD-40 was created as a nuclear missile lubricant during the Cold War era? Its name is an abbreviation for "water displacement, 40th attempt." Today the most common use for WD-40 is to protect metal parts from getting rusty and corroding. But there are so many other ingenious uses for WD-40. Here are 25 surprising uses for WD-40.

Related: 13 Cleaning Hacks Using Essential Oils

little baby boy and girl drawing with crayon color on the wall

Remove Crayon Stains

To remove crayon stains from hard surfaces, spray directly onto the crayon marks, wait a couple of minutes, then wipe it away. If you are working on soft materials, you'll spray the WD-40 first, then rub in some liquid detergent before wiping it away. You can follow the removal with a clean, wet rag to remove the rest of the WD-40 before blotting dry.

Related: Are You Making These Laundry Mistakes?

Unrecognisable woman cleaning brass candle sticks with a yellow duster

Polish Brass and Gold

You can buff and polish the brass and gold items in your home, from furniture legs to lamps, using WD-40. First, you will need to wipe your item down with a mix of soap and water or use a special cleaner for lacquered brass items. After thoroughly drying the items, you can apply WD-40 to a cloth to buff the item. 

Related: 16 Filthy Things Even Clean Freaks Miss

Chewing Gum on the carpet

Remove Gum From Surfaces

WD-40 is a great way to remove gum from carpets, concrete, bottoms of tables, floors, and even shoes. To remove gum from surfaces, saturate the gum and surrounding area with WD-40 and wait for it to loosen the gum for about one minute. Once it's had time to soak into the gum, you can peel the gum from the attached surface. 

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Dead Bugs on a Front Bumper

Keep Bugs Aways

Did you know that bugs don't like WD-40? It repels insects and helps to remove those already stuck to surfaces. WD-40 is an excellent product for cleaning dead bugs from your vehicle's grille. You can also spray bug spray around your doors and windows to keep bugs from entering your home.

Senior man removing snow from his back yard

Keep Snow from Sticking

What's worse than shoveling a driveway on a freezing, snowy day? Snow sticking to your shovel and other tools. Spraying your shovel with WD-40 before you start will keep your shovel clean, which will make the process quicker and more efficient to get you back indoors quicker.

Man Cleaning Refrigerator With Disinfectant Wipe

Shine Appliances

Shine and remove fingerprints from stainless steel appliances throughout your home. To make your appliances shine like new, you'll need WD-40 and a dry rag. You'll need to spray your rag with WD-40 and wipe your appliances down for this project.

Sticker trace and glue trace on grey wall texture. Perfect for background.

Remove Adhesives from Surfaces

WD-40 is a quick and easy hack for removing old duct tape, price tags, stickers, and their residues from surfaces. It can even remove super glue from surfaces. To remove adhesives, spray the sticky surface, wait until it is saturated and then wipe the loosened adhesive away with a rag.

Related: 10 Things You Should Never Clean With Vinegar

Bird droppings (Vogelkot) on vehicle. Feces from animals cause damage to the paint on the car. Contaminated Vehicle door.
In Stock/istockphoto

Clean Vehicle Exteriors

Sometimes your car can get covered in tree sap or bird droppings, and a drive through a car wash may miss some of the caked-on grime. Removing sap, droppings, or even tar is easy. Spray the dirt with WD-40 and let it sit for about one minute before wiping it away.

Related: How to Keep Rust From Ruining Your Car

Bench in garden

Protect Outdoor Furniture

You can use WD-40 to protect your wrought-iron furniture from rusting and corroding if you have outdoor furniture. Prepare your metal furniture by scrubbing the grimy areas with a soft-bristled wire brush. Once you've removed the buildup, you can spray the furniture down with the WD-40 and wipe away any excess.

Taxidermists workshop

Taxidermy Projects

WD-40 is a very useful product when it comes to taxidermy. Not only can it be used to clean and protect your tools, but it can also make snakeskins more pliable to get your desired shape. Another common taxidermy WD-40 use is wiping down antlers and eyeballs to give them shine.

Hand in glove cleaning carpet by carpet and upholstery shampoo with a sponge and foam
Vitalii Petrushenko/istockphoto

Remove Ink Stains

While you may think ink stains in carpets are a lost cause, WD-40 can save the day. You spray the WD-40 and let it sit on the area for a few minutes before sponging it with a mix of soap and warm water.

Florist: Silk Flower Designer spraying cleaner

Shine and Protect Fake Plant Leaves

While faux plants around the house can spruce up a living area, dusty, sad leaves won't pass for the real thing. Wipe your faux plant leaves down by spraying some WD-40 on a cloth to give them a life-like shine. You can also spray the fake flowers before placing them at an outdoor gravesite to protect the colors from the sun.


Remove Candle Wax

Getting candle wax out of a carpet can seem impossible, but WD-40 can help get candle wax out of carpets and wooden furniture. For carpet, spray the area and wait a few minutes before sponging the area with soap and water. Wooden surfaces can be cleaned by scraping the dried wax and then spraying and wiping the surface.

Rusty nail

Remove Rusty Nails

Sometimes a surface has rusted over, and it's too hard to get to the screws or nails beneath the rust. WD-40's penetrating oils can help with getting rid of rust. To remove rust, spray the area with WD-40 and let it sit. You can wipe the area down after several minutes, allowing you to remove the nails or screws.


Lubricate Zippers

Sometimes zippers get stuck. Replacing a zipper on a bag, a pair of pants or your favorite jacket can be a hassle, and taking the item to a seamstress can be timely and expensive, but WD-40 is a great alternative. When spraying the area, just be sure to avoid the fabric so as not to stain it.

In the garden  this photo shows a single hand holding the hose in the attempt to water the plant

Protect Hose Endings

Water hoses can rust and corrode over time. You can protect these items from rusting by spraying the metal end with WD-40 every once in a while. For additional protection, put your water hose away during the winter season if you're not going to be using it for an extended period.  

Related: Home Projects You Should Tackle this Fall

Frozen icy down pipe

Prevent Frozen Pipes

If you live in an area where temperatures are known to drop below freezing, WD-40 can help to protect your pipes in the winter. When you expect freezing temps, you can spray pipe exteriors and taps. This will prevent them from freezing or, worse: bursting.

Piano keyboard of an old music instrument, close up

Prevent Piano or Organ Keys from Sticking

Repairing a musical instrument like an organ or piano can be costly. WD-40 is a great solution to fixing sticky keys or even managing a squeaky pedal. Simply apply to solvent and be sure to wipe any excess with a dry rag.

paining wood boards

Soften Paint Brushes

Breaking in a paintbrush can take quite some time. WD-40 helps to soften and clean paint brushes, so they feel broken in and ready to use. Because the metal ring nut is so close to the bristles, the metal edge often begins to rust from being wet for extended periods of time. WD-40 can be used on both the bristles and the brushes' ring nut.

A closeup view of three golf irons with dirty grooves that need cleaning
Chris Babcock/istockphoto

Clean Golf Club Heads

WD-40 is an easy way to remove dirt, grass, and other grime from the irons and wedges in your golf bag. Not only does the product clean the club heads, but it is also a great way to protect your gear from rusting when your bag is sitting in the cold, damp garage during the off-season.

Garden tools hanging on the wall of a graden shed
Peter Carruthers/istockphoto

Protect Garden Tools

Garden tools are constantly used in damp environments. WD-40 is a great way to clean and protect your tools. You can spray your tools and then scrub them with a brush to loosen dirt. WD-40 can also break through grass buildup on tools and can lubricate mower wheels, shears, and more.

blue cleaning gloves holding a sponge cleaning a tile floor

Clean Ceramic Floors

Removing scuff marks from tile floors with WD-40 is simple. Spray the solution onto a cloth or paper towel and rub the scuffed tiles in circular motions. Once all scuffs have been wiped, you can clean the areas with a damp cloth and let the space dry.


Don't Use It to Lubricate Door Hinges

One of the most common uses for WD-40 you've probably heard of is for greasing hinges. However, WD-40 on hinges will attract dust, which will make the hinges turn black over time. While WD-40 is usually easiest and already on hand if you have to use it, clean the area with soap and hot water and dry the hinges.

Washing baby bottles and nipples

Don't Use on Certain Plastics

While most surfaces are WD-40 safe, it is not recommended that anyone use the product on polycarbonate or clear polystyrene plastics as they do not react well. In fact, WD-40 can leave oily streaks on these plastics and even cause them to crack and break over time.

Related:Things You Should Never Clean With Disinfecting Wipes

Paintball mask with splash

Don't Use on Paintball Guns

Did you know that WD-40 can melt seals in guns? It's essential to use oil lubricants made specifically for paintball guns when oiling the o-rings. WD-40 is a penetrating oil, which can cause extensive, and sometimes irreparable damage, making your gun useless. 

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