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W D 40: Uses ,Myths, and Warnings

By Edited Oct 5, 2016 5 17

When in Doubt, Check It Out!

Until my windows were stuck today, I hadn't really thought much about an e-mail that I recieved from a friend a while back. Tugging ,huffing, and puffing to get my windows open on this beautiful day, I recalled that the e-mail claimed that WD 40 was the answer to seemingly everything. I had to laugh at some of them. I saved the e-mail thinking I might check out some of the claims myself. I love the product ,and always have a can under the kitchen sink.

In fact,when I was growing up so many years ago ,my dad used WD 40 almost daily for something. Today, had he been still alive ,Daddy would have suggested WD 40 to get my windows unstuck. Just as he believed duct tape would hold it, Daddy always believed that WD 40 would loosen it. All these years later, having a can of WD 40 on hand is still a must in his children's households and shops.

After spraying my trusty WD 40 on the metal window frame, the windows went up easily. The windows were up all day, and thanks to WD 40, they lowered and closed smoothly too.

Back to the e-mail claims for WD 40. Some uses I knew to be true, or at least those are the claims that are on my can . Some of the claims sounded highly unlikely. Such as the claim that the main ingredient was fish oil. I knew it contained flammables.Some of them sounded like some urban legend or myth that you would just have to check out on Snopes dot com, so that's just exactly what I decided to do.

Snopes does verify that there is an e-mail with the same claims (read myths) that I had read in my recent e-mail. So let's look at what the claims were, and what the facts actually are.


photo by Josh Immens flickr creative commons

The Claims

Note: Before you read the excerpt from my e-mail about WD 40, remember that following this excerpt you will find that some are entirely false and potentially harmful. Here's the excerpt:

" Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you... IT IS MADE FROM FISH OIL"

A few lines down the e-mail states, "When you read the 'shower door' part, try it. It's the first thing that has ever cleaned that spotty shower door. If yours is plastic, it works just as well as glass. It is a miracle! Then try it on your stovetop.... It is now shinier than it has ever been before."(With the warning that contents are flammable on the can? Does that make any sense at all?)

There follows a list that makes claims such as number four on the list ,"Gives floors that "just-waxed" sheen without making it slippery. ( I tested this in a small spot. It left the floor dangerously slippery!)Here's number twenty : "Gives children's play gym slide a super shine for a super fast slide. "

There is a rumor that has circulated for many years that WD 40 works miracles for arthritis when sprayed on the affected joints. While researching WD 40 on one well respected site similiar to Info Barrel, I was alarmed to again read the claim that there is nothing in the ingredients to harm you, and that it is made of fish oil. Several commenters posted below the article that this was a myth and gave facts from the US Material Safety Data Sheet (also called the MSDS ) on the product. Sadly, as of today, the author has left the claim as is

The Facts

Now the facts are that WD 40 does not list all of the ingredients on the can, but the back of the can states that the contents are highly flammable and contains petroleum distillates. One of several warnings on the can states,"direct inhalation of the vapor or spray mist may be harmful or fatal." Additionally, there is a safety hotline number (1-888-324-7596) Certainly this lends little credit to the claims and myths that these ingredients are not harmful!

In fact the myths and misconceptions about this product have prompted the WD 40's official website to issue a statement regarding the matter. In the section "About Us" with a subtitle of " Myths and Legends" they state ;

"One thing we must do is correct any misinformation that may be harmful to either our consumers or our good name. Specifically the listing of incorrect and poorly defined ingredients and safety information."

They add that the use of WD 40 as a fish attractant is not recommended as they "have taken steps to respect and conserve the environment and encourages its users to do the same."

Most importantly,the company debunks the myth of using WD 40 for any medical puposes. They state that they have no reason to believe that it is effective for the pain relief of arthritis, adding that their product contains petroleum distillates and should be handled with the recommend precautions for any product containing petroleum distillates.

As a sidenote, during my research I found multitudes of warnings about using WD 40 medicinally. Katherine Poelmann Ph.D., author of Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Infection Connection, writes that not only is there no credible studies to support its use in medicine ,but that it "may have cummulative harmful effects"

Finally, on the WD 40 website they give credit to what they consider the original founder of WD 40, Norm Larsen. Norm was the founder of the Rocket Chemical Company.(Not Ken East as mentioned in the well known e-mail.) WD 40 got its name from the fact that it is a water displacement formula (WD) and that it took the 40th attempt to perfect the formula.(40).To find out more fun facts about WD 40, you might enjoy visiting their official website.

Great uses for WD 40

WD 40 is great for the claims it makes on it's can. It lubricates moving parts such as wheels on rolling suitcases, and roller skates. Lubrication of hinges stops squeaky doors and helps your mailbox door open easily. The lubrication also enables stuck zippers to move again on boots,sleeping bags,purses, and jackets.Curtains glide easily when WD 40 is used on the rod.

It protects against corrosion and rust, also working well to penetrate and loosen rusted bolts and tools. It can penetrate inside of locks to unstick inner components. Swing set bolts last longer in the elements when sprayed with the product.

It displaces moisture and works great to displace wetness on spark plugs, engines, and power tools.

It removes residue from tapes ,adhesives,and glues. Crayola recommends it for removing crayon mishaps on walls. It removes scuff marks, grease, and grime easily.

Clearly ,WD 40 is a well respected and popular product with many household and outdoor uses. Whether you are taking care of a squeaky wagon handle, spraying the wheels on the fern planter or your child's roller skates, you'll love it's low price and flexibility in a pinch.( I onced used it to kill a roach!) For more uses , visit their official website where there are over two thousand listed uses.

The pupose of this article is to give you, the consumer ,a reference about the myths and warnings of incorrectly using the product WD 40 ,and also a guide to the many uses of the product. When used as directed ,it can be a useful product. While I do use WD 40 in my home and am pleased with its many uses, this article is not meant to endorse or discredit WD 40.

Lubricates photo by Flickr CC

Article Copyright by DMCA 10/10 by Jackie D. Kimball



Nov 3, 2010 1:33pm
great article. EVERYone has a can somewhere in the house, though I would never have dreamt of the uses claime in your email...
Nov 3, 2010 3:37pm
Great article! My favorite use, to date, is killing the nests wasps had been building in the minivan I had parked for a few months. Hold the nose, aim...and bye-bye wasps!
Nov 4, 2010 12:33am
~~~~`Philtrate ~~~~the e-mail was ridiculous, but to make it worse, a sight similiar to InfoBarrel and hubpages has an author that apparently used the e-mail as the gospel truth. Even when some of her follwers pointed out that it was toxic and gave her information, she did not change it.
Nov 4, 2010 12:36am
~~~`Merwyn~~~Thank you! Kills wasps? Okay! Good to know.ZAP!
Jan 6, 2011 12:10am
I use WD-40 once or twice a year to keep my sliding screen door moving smoothly. Works like a charm! This is a wonderful feature article.
Jan 6, 2011 8:14am
WD-40 is some amazing stuff. There are some wonderful uses for it, but you have to be careful to not use it for things it was never intended for.

Congratulations on the featured article.
Jan 6, 2011 9:20am
HI, I too have a can of WD-40 under my kitchen cabinet. It does come in handy.
Jan 6, 2011 10:21am
Good job with this well known product.
Jan 6, 2011 11:01am
Thanks for clearing up all that confusion! Congratulations on the featured article - you deserve it!
Jan 6, 2011 3:02pm
Thanks for gathering so much information and dispelling some myths. Fish oil??? If a consumer can't smell the petroleum in this product, maybe stuck metal parts isn't they're biggest problem! Congratulations on a very helpful feature article!
Jan 6, 2011 6:19pm
Love WD-40. I once couldn't remember my online banking password, but after a quick shampoo with WD-40, I could remember! This truly is a miracle product. Great article.
Jan 6, 2011 9:09pm
Oh, this was a timely article for me, as garage doors freeze and so do car locks and i usually think WD-40. I'm glad you mentioned scopes.com. It is a good site to verify, and thanks for doing the research- great article!
Jan 7, 2011 8:58am
This article is useful for those who have appliances at home..or any vehicle.People may read this is aware of it's uses
Jan 7, 2011 12:11pm
Great article. Congrats on feature. It is well deserved.(^^)
Jan 7, 2011 3:49pm
Signor...funny! I love that wisecrack!.It cracked me up!thanks!!!!!!
Jan 7, 2011 3:51pm
ALL OF YOU,thanks for all the nice comments! What a nice start to getting back to work since my holidays break!
Mar 20, 2011 11:25pm
What a great, informative and funny article....thank you!
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