WD-40 is marketed as a “multi-use product.”
The spray is known for the ways in which it’s usually used — 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 San Diego-based WD-40 Co. offers thousands of uses for its namesake product on the WD-40 website, including more than 2,000 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.
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. Remove dead bugs and bird droppings
Is a 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.
You can also reach for that familiar blue can the next time you find bird poop peppering the hood or roof of your car.
Just don’t store the can in your car if it’s one of WD-40’s aerosol products. As we explain in “9 Things You Should Never Leave in Your Car:”
“Aerosol cans — such as those containing spray paint, sunblock or deodorant — shouldn’t be kept in your car, since they are sensitive to heat. The contents of pressurized cans may expand, possibly causing them to explode.”
2. Remove adhesive
Give your fingernails a break. Whether you’re trying to peel off a stubborn sticker, decal, price tag or tape, WD-40 can help. It also works on adhesive residue that has been left behind by stickers.
3. Remove coffee stains
Examples of successful removal listed on WD-40’s website include coffee stains on cups, tables, counters and floor tiles. Just be sure to wipe up all fluid after cleaning floors so no one slips.
Baking soda can also remove stains from coffee mugs, as we explain in “7 Household Uses for Baking Soda.”
4. 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.
Tip: Enlist an old toothbrush for the job. They’re good for cleaning various nooks and crannies, including those in the soles of your shoes, as we report in “7 Smart Ways to Use Old Toothbrushes.”
5. Unstick gum and glue
WD-40 has been used to remove chewing gum that was stuck to hair, shoes, concrete and lunch trays.
It’s also been used to remove glue from carpet, leather and other surfaces; to remove hair-extension glue from hair; and to remove glue stains from jeans.
6. Keep squirrels at bay
Former 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. Instead of climbing to the feeder, the squirrels slid back down.
Petroleum jelly works for this purpose as well, as we detail in”9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline.”
7. 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, thanks to WD-40.
8. 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. Lubricating locks with a squirt of WD-40 before winter can keep them from locking up when icy times return.
For more handy driver’s aids, check out “26 Things You Should Always Have in Your Car.” (Just remember, WD-40 is not on that list.)
9. Keep lawn mower blades clean
Spray your lawn mower blades with WD-40 to prevent grass clippings from collecting on the blades.
10. Banish barnacles
But in any case, know that WD-40 has been used to remove even barnacles from the undersides of boats.
11. Fend off wasps
For evicting these 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. Separate stubborn Legos
Did Junior stick those blasted bricks together a little too well? Use WD-40 to spare your fingertips and nails for a slicker way to pry them apart.
13. Open iced mailboxes
Put the ice pick down. WD-40 is a safer “open sesame” when you find your mailbox door frozen shut.
14. Prevent snow from sticking
Spray your shovel and your snowplow blades with WD-40 to stop snow from sticking to them as you clear the walk.