OT - WD-40?

This product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and
de-greaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953 by three
technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. It's name comes from
the project that was to find a "water displacement" compound. They were
successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40.
The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their Atlas missile parts.
The workers were so pleased with the product, they began smuggling (also
known as "shrinkage" or "stealing") it out to use at home. The executives
decided there might be a consumer market for it and put it in aerosol cans.
The rest, as they say, is history.
It is a carefully guarded recipe known only to four people. Only one of them
is the "brew master." There are about 2.5 million gallons of the stuff
manufactured each year. It gets it's distinctive smell from a fragrance that
is added to the brew. Ken East says there is nothing in
WD-40 that would hurt you.
Here are some of the uses:
Protects silver from tarnishing
Cleans and lubricates guitar strings
Gets oil spots off concrete driveways
Gives floors that 'just-waxed' sheen without making it slippery
Keeps flies off cows
Restores and cleans chalkboards
Removes lipstick stains
Loosens stubborn zippers
Untangles jewelry chains
Removes stains from stainless steel sinks
Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill
Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing
Removes tomato stains from clothing
Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots
Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors
Keeps scissors working smoothly
Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes
Gives a children's play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide
Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding
Rids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises
Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open
Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close
Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl
Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles
Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans
Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for easy
Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly
Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools
Removes splattered grease on stove
Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging
Lubricates prosthetic limbs
Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell)
Removes all traces of duct tape
I have even heard of folks spraying it on their arms, hands, knees to
relieve arthritis pain.
One fellow claims spraying it on fishing lures attracts fish.
In celebration of their 50th year, the company conducted a contest to learn
the favorite uses of it's customers and fan club members, (Yes, there is a
WD-40 Fan Club).
They compiled the information to identify the favorite use in each of the 50
states. Naturally I was curious about Georgia and Alabama and found the
favorite use in both states was that it "penetrates stuck bolts, lug nuts,
and hose ends." Florida's favorite use was "cleans and removes lovebugs
from grills and bumpers."
California's favorite use was penetrating the bolts on the Golden Gate
Let me close with one final, wonderful use--the favorite use in the State of
New York--WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
No wonder they've had 50 successful years.
Reply to
Cliff Huprich
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I have always been a WD-40 fan myself. That is up until a year or so ago. You used to be able to barely squeeze the nozzle just enough for a few drops to come out of the straw. This was great for spraying small items in tight areas. Plus, you still had the ability for a full blast spray for large areas. They changed their spray nozzle a while back so that you had less control when you were trying to spray small amounts. Try it. It is very difficult to spray small, low pressure amounts. I am sure this was done so that more would get wasted and you would have to buy more WD-40, more often. To me, that is just way to greedy. It aggravated me so much that I have switched to another brand that still uses the older style nozzle. I still like the product a lot, but I won't buy it until they go back to the old nozzle.
Reply to
Seth Renigar
You can also buy bulk WD-40 in gallon can (plus some other sizes, I am sure). Then we just fill up a squirter bottle and use that.
Reply to
I never use the crap! In a few weeks, it makes things rust that probably wouldn't have - if left unsprayed. Yes, the stuff displaces water - when it is first applied - then the solvent flashes off and it turns sticky and hygroscopic. Ever use it on a micrometer? Ever look at your lathe ways two weeks after use?
The only thing it is good for is a kind of 'bug' remover, as others have noted - actually 'Goof Off' is better. I use Starrett's M-1 for what WD-40 is advertised for.
It does smell good to me, though.
Sincerely, Jerry Forcier
Cliff Huprich wrote:
Reply to
Jerry Forcier
I agree on the hygroscopic issue. I once sprayed down some taps in a plastic container that was cloth lined. The container was in a truck tool box that felt dry as a bone and lots of other tools remained in fine condition. After a couple of weeks, the cloth in the the container was dripping wet and I almost lost all the taps. An amazing amount of humidity was drawn into the container and cloth. You maybe could use it as an emergency desalination method :) fwiw bill
Reply to
bill allemann
A great way to keep taps, tools, etc. from rusting without gumming them up with any kind of oil-based preservative, is to put a briquette of charcoal in the same container (drawer) as them. The charcoal acts as a dessicant and draws any moisture from the air with the tools, hence, preventing rusting. Be sure to replace the briquette every month or so. Works great and it's cheap too!
Reply to
Steve Fye
oh please. let's see some empirical evidence of this. I've used WD40 my whole life and have never seen it cause rust. Most likely it's cleaning a surface and exposing metal that wasn't before but it doesn't CAUSE rust. This is a myth that persists for some reason but it's ridiculous.
Reply to
Not empirical evidence but straight from the horse's mouth nonetheless...
The following was a "Letter to the Editor" in the June, 1993 issue of "Combat Handguns." It was signed:
Louis E. Repaci WD-40 Company San Diego, CA
To the Editors:
One of your readers forwarded a "letter the editors" article to our attention. The gentleman commented on an article written by Mark Parsons "Keep 'Em Clean," and that he was aghast that the use of WD-40 is recommended for guns as it is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).
Could we please clear the air and set the record straight for your readers by correcting the misconceptions regarding the use of WD-40 on firearms.
WD-40 is a lubricant, penetrant, rust preventative, moisture displacer and cleaner used extensively in the firearms industry on: * Gun barrel (inside and out) * Ejection mechanism * Firing pin and magazine
WD-40 is not hygroscopic ((does not) absorb moisture from air)
WD-40 does not contain chlorinated paraffins or contribute to stress cracking of stainless alloys. WD-40 does not degrade into acidic byproducts under exposure to ozone.
WD-40 does not contain Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's), HCFC's, Halons, or 1.1.1 Trichlorethane (Methyl Chlorofrom); chemicals that are alleged to contribute to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.
WD-40 is used exclusively at Trinidad College's School of Gunsmithing in Colorado for general gun care and maintenance as well as after the bluing process to displace the saltwater solution in order to prevent metal corrosion and rusting.
According to Professor Harold Thomason, WD-40 displaces water which is why it is used in the final stages of the bluing process.
Other uses for WD-40 include: 1. For excessive powder build up, use WD-40 as a cleaner. 2. If a case is used for storage, WD-40 is all the protection required. Under these conditions WD-40 will protect firearms for one year or more. 3. If WD-40 is used with teflon, silicone, graphite or grease, softening of these type lubricants may occur. To correct this simply flush with WD-40 to remove the gummmy residue. WD-40 is all the protection required. 4. WD-40 may stain unfinished wooden stocks. WD-40 has no effect on finished wood.
I would appreciate your assistance in sharing the foregoing information with your readers.
Sincerely Louis E. Repaci
Reply to
One may note that the formulation of WD-40 may have been changed sometime in that timeframe. Something about the removal/replacement of DMSO from the formulation? Memory fades & fails ....
Reply to
Cliff Huprich
I doubt they would have taken the original formula not being hygroscopic and modified the formula such that it is now hygroscopic.
Reply to
Actually, if it is not hygroscopic how could it "displace" water & ice to "unfreeze" frozen locks (claimed but I don't know if it ever actually does that) ? An azeotrope perhaps that evaporates the water at a lower temp as one component? Not that I know of any such existng for that temp range ...
Reply to
Cliff Huprich
I don't know. That's a question better directed to WD40 than asked on this group. Methyl hydrate de-ices, is it hygroscopic? I just searched a bit on MH and found nothing indicating that it's hygroscopic.
The MSDS for WD40 also shows it as insoluble in water (I would assume hygroscopic liquids would be soluble to some degree). It also lists no reactivity to water.
I had heard once that the primary ingredient in WD40 is kerosene. I just compared the MSDS sheets from both Kerosene and WD40 and interestingly they have the same reactivity and specific gravity.
Reply to
My bad:
WD40's site specifically states that it does not contain Kerosene.
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Your bad:
No where does WD40 claim that it de-ices. What it does say is "PENETRATES: WD-40 loosens rust-to-metal bonds and frees stuck, frozen or rusted metal parts." I don't think they are using the term "frozen" as in de-ices but as in immobile.
Reply to
Ok, my turn...
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WD-40 is NOT a good lubricant. It DOES NOT make metal rust but it also provides LITTLE PROTECTION from future rust, which sets in as soon as the light layer of oil is gone. Read the MSDS and you'll see why it "unfreezes" stuck parts "displaces water", etc... it's because it's basically 70% solvent, 25% mineral oil and 5% other.
It's solvent with a little bit of mineral oil in it, which makes it slightly more protective than raw solvent.
WD-40 is an excellent cleaner and "water displacer" because of its high solvent content. But don't for a minute think it's a good lubricant. It's barely a mediocre lubricant. The mineral oil helps lube and protect what you cleaned only until you can apply a coating of something more appropriate, which better be relatively quick 'cause that mineral oil doesn't hang around long. The people I know who use it as a lubricant use a lot of it, and frequently, which makes perfect sense. It isn't really a lubricant. It's a solvent.
Did I mention it's a solvent? :-)
- Eddy
Reply to
Eddy Hicks
The solvent is: NAME: Stoddard Solvent
SYNONYM(s): Dry cleaning safety solvent; Mineral spirits
Just mineral spirits ... whatever that happens to be today.
"Mineral oil" could be from drilled for oil or from coal or .... it's an oil.
Not all solvents dissolve water or in it.
Has oil in a lighter distillate as a carrier ...
Nothing to make it go away, though the mineral spirits will evaporate over time.
Yes. But of what?
Reply to
Cliff Huprich
Ok Cliff, I'll try one more time...
WD40 = Decent Solvent + Light Oil = Decent Cleaner with Limited Protection From The Elements
Buy it as a cleaner, solvent but don't expect it to do much lubricating. The "light oil" namely functions to prevent immediate oxidation. If you clean a piece of ferrous metal with mineral spirits and nothing else it will begin to oxidize immediately, even if you can't see it. If you clean a piece of ferrous metal with mineral spirits and wipe it with a very light coating of mineral oil it will prevent oxidation for a very limited time. Any chemists or metallurgists care to elaborate to fill in Cliff's blanks on where the mineral oil goes over time?
What's so hard to understand about this?
- Eddy
Reply to
Eddy Hicks

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