WD-40 is marketed as a “multiuse product.”
It’s known for the capabilities for which it’s usually enlisted — such as lubricating squeaky hinges, loosening rusted parts and driving out moisture. In fact, “WD” stands for “water displacement.”
But WD-40’s uses extend well beyond those tasks.
The WD-40 Co. offers thousands of uses for its namesake product on its WD-40 website, including 2,000-plus uses contributed by the product’s devotees. Folks have been discovering more uses since the original WD-40 product was developed in 1953 after 39 failed attempts. (Thus, the “40” in its name.)
We’ve rounded up some of the least known but most helpful uses below.
If you try a new use for WD-40, test it in a small inconspicuous area first. WD-40’s list of fan-submitted uses notes that the company has not tested those suggestions, and that “customers should exercise common sense whenever using WD-40” and read the label.
1. Unstick chewing gum
WD-40 has been used to remove gum that was stuck to hair, shoes, concrete and lunch trays.
2. Wipe away permanent marker
Did you or the kids unwittingly pick up a Sharpie and go to town on the dry-erase board? The damage need not be permanent.
3. Remove adhesives
Give your fingernails a break. Whether you’re trying to peel off a stubborn sticker, decal, price tag or tape, reach for the blue can. WD-40 also works on adhesive residue that has been left behind by sticky stuff.
4. Separate stubborn Legos
Did Junior stick those blasted bricks together a little a too well? Spare your fingertips and nails.
5. Dissolve glues
Examples from WD-40’s website include removing glue from carpet, leather and other surfaces; removing hair-extension glue from hair; and removing glue stains from jeans.
6. Clean shoes
Paint or grass stains on your favorite sneakers? Dog poop or salt in the crevices of your boot soles? WD-40 has been used to tackle it all.
7. Remove crayon and modeling clay
WD-40 is among the cleaning products that Crayola’s website recommends for removing Crayola products from various surfaces.
8. Remove coffee stains
Examples from WD-40’s website include coffee stains on cups, tables, counters and floor tiles. Just be sure to wipe up all fluid from floors so no one slips.
9. Deter squirrels
WD-40 Co. CEO Garry Ridge told the Los Angeles Times that his favorite story about an unusual use for WD-40 involves a woman who sprayed it on her backyard bird feeder pole because squirrels were filching bird food. Petroleum jelly — good ol’ Vaseline — works as well.
10. Keep lawnmower blades clean
Spray your lawnmower blades to prevent grass clippings from collecting on the blades.
11. Deter wasps
For evicting the buggers from a nest or preventing them from building one, users of Reddit’s “LifeProTips” message board agree on WD-40’s effectiveness. Just don’t spray a nest while wasps are around. As one commenter who made this mistake put it, “They do not like it, and will attack.”
12. Open iced mailboxes
Put the ice pick down. WD-40 is a safer “open sesame” when you find your mailbox door frozen shut.
13. Prevent snow from sticking
Spray your shovel and your snowplow blades with WD-40 to stop snow from sticking to them.
14. Remove dead bugs
Is a summertime road trip in your recent past or near future? When the fun is done, remember that WD-40 has been used to remove dead bugs plastered onto everything from car radiators to boat windshields and golf carts.
15. Remove bird droppings
Try reaching for that blue can the next time you find bird poop punctuating the hood or roof of your car.
16. Prevent car parts from freezing
A frozen-shut door lock or ice-clogged windshield wiper spray nozzle is the last thing you need when you’re running late to work.
17. Banish barnacles
Yes, WD-40 has even been used to remove barnacles from the undersides of boats.
For more unusual uses for household products, check out “77 Uses for Baking Soda — and How It Could Save Your Life” and “30 Household Uses for Baby Oil.”
Do you have a favorite use for WD-40? Or a favorite alternative product? Share your thoughts by commenting below or on our Facebook page.