You may have seen or heard before that the only two tools you need are duct tape and WD-40. While that isn’t quite true, WD-40 is an incredibly versatile product which is why we’ve made it our Pick of the Week.
From preventing rust to silencing squeaky hinges, removing ink stains from jeans, and even just cleaning mud off of your shoes WD-40 has been recognized as having over 2,000 uses. But what is it and where did it come from?
Created by chemist Norm Larsen in a small lab in San Diego in 1953, WD-40 was initially developed to prevent rust on aerospace technology. WD-40 actually stands for Water Displacement 40th formula, meaning it was Larsen’s 40th try when he finally got the formula right.
What is it?
WD-40 is a multi-purpose solution. Although it has thousands of different applications, they can be boiled down to 5 main uses:
Lubricates, Penetrates, Protects, Removes, & Displaces
Its unique formula, which even after all these years still remains a secret, is a lubricant capable of freeing up rusted or frozen parts, preventing rust, removing stuck on adhesive or grease, and of course as the name suggests it can help displace water or moisture which can particularly come in handy when working with circuits.
Other than the addition of the Smart Straw and Spray Nozzle so you no longer have to worry about losing that little red straw, the formula itself hasn’t changed since WD-40’s humble beginnings and it still continues to grow in popularity.
By 1993 it was found that around 80% of households owned a can of their own. One of the main benefits of WD-40 is that it can be used on a variety of surfaces. It’s safe to use on wood, metal, rubber, surfaces that have been painted, and most plastics aside from polycarbonate and certain polystyrene plastics.
That being said, it can’t fix everything. Because it’s technically a Water Displacement Solution and not a true lubricant certain jobs may require a heavier or purpose specific lubricant, oil, or grease in place of or in addition to WD-40.
It’s still great for a quick fix though and when it comes to many of its other uses, for example cleaning a valve on your air conditioner, removing adhesive, or protecting your garden or hand tools from rust WD-40 is top notch.
Something else we’d like to note is that WD-40 doesn’t last forever. The recommended shelf life for the famous blue and yellow can is around 5 years. After that point, it starts to lose its effectiveness. So, if you’ve had the same can sitting on the shelf in your garage since 1995, it’s time for a new one.
Luckily, WD-40 is still very affordable and is relatively easy to find including right on our website. You can also find many other lubricants and cleaners you might need for your appliances if WD-40 isn’t quite right for the job.
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Written by: Sarah Walker