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With all the handyman type stuff I've been doing (see the end of this blog post) and with Father's Day coming up, I decided to post some interesting facts about the one of the essentials in any handyman's arsenal - WD-40. I don't remember where I got what I'm posting, and therefore I don't know who the "I" is in the personal references in it. The list on snopes.com has some not on the list I received and some of mine aren't on theirs.


picture of WD-40

The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser 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 (not sure I'd do this since it contains oil)

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 mowers

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 bumpers

Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles

Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans

Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for easy handling

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, etc., to relieve arthritis pain.

One fellow claims spraying it on fishing lures attracts fish.

WD-40 has been designated the "official multipurpose problem-solver of NASCAR," a ringing endorsement if there ever was one. I told my NASCAR loving sons about this and they said they couldn't imagine how WD-40 can solve the Jeff Gordon problem.

In 2003, in celebration of their 50th year, the company conducted a contest to learn the favorite uses of its 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 Bridge. The favorite use in the State of New York... WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements!

No wonder they have had over 50 successful years!

I (Rob) have not personally tried many of these, so I'm hoping some of you readers may give the rest of us your insights in some comments.


This past Saturday I embarked on a fun little project - building a flower box. I'll start off by giving a little history. When we moved into this subdivision 3 years ago this month, we were impressed by the fact that there were flower boxes atop some of the cement drain covers, including a pretty little box right in front of our house. In the past few months, that box has simply fallen apart. I decided to build a new one this past weekend. I bought the wood at "Home Despot" (my name for this great store), and I had them cut it for me to my dimensions since their saws are so much better and faster than mine. Below are several pictures of various stages of the project.

the cement drain cover after I removed the old box...

picture of drain cover

the finished box with five drain holes cut in the middle...

picture of box done

the box refilled with the dirt I'd removed from the old box and sifted...

picture of box filled

Becka and I decided to drive around the neighborhood to see what others had planted in their boxes. We were surprised and a bit disappointed to find only 3 other such boxes in the entire subdivision! I guess as new members of the neighborhood, we saw things a little idealistically. Two of the boxes we found on our drive had either nothing or almost nothing planted in them! One had some nice petunias. We decided to plant in our box a perennial lantana called "Miss Huff" which will eventually fill much of the center of the box. I planted also a trailing petunia and around the edges of the box I've planted seeds of Johnny Jump-Ups, some historic pansies from Seed Savers Exchange, and towards the back some zinnias. Below is a picture of the two plants I bought. After the other stuff comes up and gets established, I'll try to remember to post an updated picture.

picture of box planted

I found a nice picture online of what the lantana will look like when it's mature. I'm putting that picture below....

picture of Lantana Miss Huff


At the cathedral in Lubeck, Germany there is an inscription that reads, "Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us - You call Me master and obey Me not; you call Me light and see Me not; you call Me the way and walk in Me not; you call Me life and live Me not; you call Me wise and follow Me not; you call Me fair and love Me not; you call Me rich and ask Me not; you call Me eternal and seek Me not. If I condemn thee, blame Me not." - Author unknown

=^..^= =^..^=

You really need only two tools - WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use duct tape.

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9 Comments on “WD-40”

  1. #1 Glenna Kendall
    on Jun 4th, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    I bet WD-40 would remove duct tape adhesive that sticks to everything duct tape sticks to…. huh??

  2. #2 kathie landmann
    on Jun 4th, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    Your flower box is simply beautiful. Do y’all have freecycle.org in your neck of the woods? Up here in southern Maryland there have been lots of listings for treated wood. We got five 16′ pieces leftover from a deck job ~ brand new never used! The flower boxes are such a great idea to cover the storm drains. Many blessings ~ Kathie

  3. #3 Sarah Calhoun
    on Jun 4th, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    Hi Rob,

    I loved the final comment to your blog this time, about really only needing two tools. It reminds us of something that was done at the rehearsal dinner the evening before Meg (our daughter) and Duncan (Johnson)’s wedding three weeks ago: Duncan’s Uncle John got up and offered Duncan a special gift of a “Head of Household Kit,” or some such silly title. The kit contained a roll of duct tape and a can of WD-40, and the explanation was just as you put it. Great memories — and great stuff! Even women can use it.

    Thanks for the good laugh.

  4. #4 Laura Kuykendall
    on Jun 5th, 2007 at 1:30 am

    Did you know that I met the inventor of WD – 40? He came to this country where I live and we published one of his books in our language. He is follower of faith and originally from Korea. He has a very interesting story of his growing up, finding the turth and then sharing it with others.

  5. #5 Zina
    on Jun 5th, 2007 at 5:09 am

    Mr. Loach,
    I have used it to remove lipstick stains. After the lipstick is out then use Palmolive or some other mild soap to remove the WD-40. Then wash as normal.
    Thanks for the tips and the explanation of where its name came from!

  6. #6 B.J.
    on Jun 5th, 2007 at 9:03 am

    I love the flower boxes. It’s nice to see the colorful Lantana again. I haven’t seen it since I lived in Florida, but I never knew the name. It was commonly called “skunk flower” there, because that’s what it smells like! (Wish I knew about that WD-40 working on lovebugs while I was there…)

  7. #7 Jeff Hollon
    on Jun 6th, 2007 at 8:12 am

    WD-40 also makes a GREAT salad dressing!!!

    (JUST KIDDING….Kid’s, DO NOT try this at home!!)

    It also removes lipstick?? I bet divorce lawyers don’t want that information getting out to the general public.

  8. #8 Ruth Schwarten
    on Jun 6th, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    Hi ya, Herr Loach!

    Okay, who decided it was a good idea to spray WD-40 on a cow and see if it would keep flies away? I’ll try the lovebug thing – my car is in desperate need of debugging. Love the flower box!

  9. #9 Deb
    on Jun 8th, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Hi Rob, I thought I had left a comment on this post about your neat flower box project. (Hmm…maybe I didn’t after all.) I like them and would be interested in seeing the blooming finished product. 🙂 Very nice.

    Rob adds:
    Thanks, Deb. Actually you did comment on the computer error messages, but I don’t see any from you about the flower box. Glad you like it. It really was exciting to see many little seedlings popping up this morning, especially since I had just planted them Monday evening!!! I was also more than a little frustrated last evening, though, when I got home from work, to see that some animal had been digging in it – right where some seeds had been planted. I strongly suspect my little nemeses – squirrels. Grr!