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18 Great WD-40 Uses for Around the House

By David Bakke

wd-40 productsIt’s a safe bet you’ve heard of and used WD-40, an oil which can be used as a cleaning product, lubricant, and anti-corrosive solution. Its name actually stands for “Water Displacement – 40th Attempt.” The creator of the product sought to concoct a formula designed to prevent corrosion, and he perfected it, as you may have guessed, on his 40th attempt.

WD-40 performs five basic functions: It cleans, displaces moisture, penetrates, lubricates, and protects. These functions can be expanded for use on a variety of items in and around your home.

Safety of WD-40

While generally considered a safe product, WD-40 is petroleum-based, so it is crucial to be aware that it is highly flammable. Also, understand that it can be very harmful if swallowed and can aggravate respiratory issues if not used in a well-ventilated area.

Furthermore, it can be damaging to pets, and the fumes can be harmful towards children. However, as long as you take the proper precautions, WD-40 is relatively safe for a variety of applications. WD-40 comes with a long assortment of uses – just be sure to utilize them in the safest way possible.

Standard Uses for WD-40

1. Prevents Rust
For the DIY types out there, keeping your tools in tip-top condition is a must for home improvement projects. Spraying a little WD-40 on saws, saw blades, and other tools will keep them from rusting and ready for your next venture. It also protects silver from tarnishing, and keeps umbrellas and scissors working correctly.

2. Cleans Tools
In addition to protecting from rust, WD-40 will clean just about anything in your tool box. It works long after it seems to have dried.

3. Cleans and Protects Sports Equipment
It can also be used to remove unwanted dirt and decals from bicycles, and can lubricate your chain and gears as well. You can use it as a protectant on your dirt bike to guard against excessive mud, and it can be used on watercraft to protect against corrosion and expel moisture. Lastly, it’s also great for cleaning golf clubs.

4. Helps Open Rusty Locks
If you’ve got a rusty key or a keyhole that won’t cooperate, apply some WD-40 and you should be able to gain easy entry.

this looks like a job for wd-40

5. Lubricates Sticky Drawers
In the past, I had always relegated myself to coating the mechanisms of hard-to-open drawers with dry soap, but I now know that spraying a little of this magic on these drawer will do the same trick.

6. Fixes Squeaky Hinges
Nothing can be more irritating than a squeaky hinge on a door. Apply some WD-40, rotate it back and forth, and the squeak should vanish.

7. Extends the Life of Shower Heads
This is another little-known household use for WD-40. Shower heads have a tendency to break down over time, but applying WD-40 can extend their life span by years.

Uncommon Uses for WD-40

8. Removes Crayon From Wallpaper
This actually does work. If you have small children at home, you’ve probably encountered this issue in the past. Spray some WD-40 on the crayon marks, wipe with a rag, and the crayon marks disappear. Plus, your paint will still be there.

9. Removes Old Cellophane Tape
Trying to remove old cellophane tape from any surface can be a difficult project – but not with WD-40. Spray a little on the affected area, wait a few minutes, wipe off, and you’re done.

10. Removes Stains From Clothes and Carpets
Have you ever had a pair of jeans that had a pen ink stain? Hit it with a little WD-40 and it comes right out. It also works for lipstick and tomato stains, and if you’ve got a juice or Kool-Aid stain in any carpet or fabric around the house, apply some WD-40. It should remove the stain safely and effectively.

11. Removes Mildew From Refrigerator Gasket
We’ve all seen it before: Disgusting gunk builds up on your refrigerator gasket. Well, WD-40 will remove this. Simply apply, let it sit for a few minutes, wipe off, and you’re done.

12. Filters Dust When Sprayed on Air Conditioning Filter
Spray a light coating of WD-40 on your AC filter before installing, and your filter becomes exponentially more effective. I tried this method, and it did seem like I was breathing cleaner air in my home. Later, when I went to change out a filter that I had sprayed with WD-40, it seemed to have filtered a great deal more dust than normal.

13. Cleans Grill and Bumper of Automobiles
If you’ve just returned from a vacation, try spraying WD-40 on the grill and front bumper of your car. This will easily removes bugs and other dirt and grime accumulated during your trip. It can also be used on the rest of your car’s exterior to remove tar, unwanted paint, and more. And, it won’t damage the current paint job on your auto.

14. Removes Anything From a Glass Surface
Whether it is an old sticker or leftover tape from winterizing your home, spraying a little WD-40 on the affected area will make removal easy to complete.

wd-40 can be used to clean glass

15. Cleans and Lubricates Guitar Strings
This product’s uses are varied and wide ranging. Consider applying it to your guitar’s strings to increase performance and life.

16. Removes Oil Spots From Concrete Driveways
As the owner of a clunker myself, WD-40 helps in maintaining the cleanliness and look of my driveway. Spray the oil stains, wait, and then blot with a rag.

17. Untangles Silver Jewelry
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to untangle jewelry in an old jewelry box. Used in small amounts, WD-40 should help you untangle the mess in no time at all.

18. Frees Stuck Zippers
Rather than discarding that coat or pair of boots that has an uncooperative or stuck zipper, try using a little WD-40 on the affected area. Many times, it will smooth it right out.

Final Word

I am addicted to using WD-40, especially knowing that the cost of using it is significantly less than the standard solution for any particular cleaning or repair job. And, for many of its uses, there really isn’t any cleaning product on the market that does exactly what WD-40 can do.

Just keep in mind that WD-40 is flammable and should not be used in closed spaces. Any cleaning job attempted with WD-40 should always be done with adult supervision.

What are your favorite uses of WD-40?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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  • http://www.budgetforwealth.com Long Pham

    Great tips. I’m wondering how exactly you use the WD-40 on a shower head though.

    • Davidbakke

      It can protect it from rust, or help loosen it if it is already rusty. Spray it on, wait a few minutes and loosen. If using it to protect, apply it and then run the shower for several minutes to clear out any excess. Hope that helps and thanks for commenting

    • Davidbakke

      It can protect it from rust, or help loosen it if it is already rusty. Spray it on, wait a few minutes and loosen. If using it to protect, apply it and then run the shower for several minutes to clear out any excess. Hope that helps and thanks for commenting

  • Thebamptons

    It has been suggested that we use WD40 to clean our very grubby (building dust, plaster, spots of emulsion etc) small block parquet flooring… would you think that is a good idea? and if so, would it need sealing afterward? and if so…what product should we use? I don’t really fancy using polyurethane.

    • Davidbakke

      That’s a tough call. I suggest trying out a bit on a small portion of the floor to see how it holds up. If it seems to do the trick, you can probably go ahead and do it on the rest. You can clean it up with a hardwood floor cleaner.

      But I would also suggest checking in at your local hardware store. They’re usually pretty good at giving advice on these types of things….hope that helps…

  • Wrmetallo

    I have used WD-40 to stop our oak floors froom squeeking, been a few weeks no new sounds or no dsicoloring. I have not seen or heard it being used prior

  • isabel

    I had a name tag sticker on one of my favorite shirts and forgot to remove it before throwing it in the laundry. After I got it out of the dryer, the leftover adhesive was stuck on my shirt! I kept picking it off by pieces, but it was too difficult, so I gave up. Then I looked up solutions on the internet and came across a page that suggested WD-40. Although I was hesitant and skeptical, I took the risk (I mean, the shirt was already messed up anyway, why not try?). I sprayed it on the damaged area, let it soak in for a few minutes, gently brushed it off with a toothbrush, and OMG i was so amazed. It came off like magic!!! I then threw it in the washer and dryer and now the shirt is like brand new!

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