WD-40: The Most Amazing Product in American History?

Chances are you’ve got a can of WD-40 somewhere on hand. Perhaps in your garage, maybe under your sink, possibly even in your bedroom nightstand. WD-40 got its peculiar name because it was developed as a water displacement formula. After 39 attempts, its inventors finally got it right. Hence WaterDisplacement-40. The intended use of WD-40 was simply to prevent moisture on the electronic parts of airplanes and missiles, as well as to prevent corrosion. Although you may think you were the first person to ever think of using WD-40 for an alternative use, you probably aren’t: the engineers at Rocket Chemical Company quickly began finding new uses for their unique product almost soon as it had been invented.

In fact, there are many uses for WD-40 that you would never think of even if you lived long enough to see the legacy of George W. Bush undergo enough revision to put his mug on Mt. Rushmore. (What I’m trying to say is that you would have to live an eternity plus one day.)

WD-40 and removal of objects and substances.
Okay, you’ve been married ten years now and your finger isn’t quite as thin as it was on your wedding day. Happens to everyone. But that does you no good now that you absolutely need to get that ring off. One of the great benefits of WD-40 is that you can use it to not only remove things from your finger, but your finger from things. (Insert your own joke here.) A longstanding use of WD-40 has been to get tight rings off fat fingers. But did you know it also comes in handy when, for some reason we won’t get into, you get your toe stuck in the bathtub faucet? Or how about getting your finger stuck in a soda bottle? (That probably doesn’t happen as often at it used to, and believe when I say that thirty years or so ago it used to happen a lot!) Anything that you can stick a digit into and get stuck, the use of WD-40 can help get it out.

Did you ever see that episode of The Simpsons where Lisa Simpson gets all kind of crud stuck in her hair and uses all kind of crud to get it out? Well, guess what? She should have started with WD-40. If you get something really nasty stuck in your hair, or on the bottom of your shoe, or really just about any other place-things like gum, Play-Doh, wax, good old Crayolas-just whip out your can of WD-40 and spray. Next, play the waiting game. Once the waiting game begins to suck, play the wiping game.

Much in the same way, WD-40 can also get sticky substances smooth again. If spilled syrup has become a major nuisance on your countertop, a little of the W can help you out. If you parked your car under a tree that drips sap, same deal. In fact, WD-40 can get all that gardening equipment back to snuff again if it’s been on the losing end in a match-up with a sappy tree.

WD-40 and sex.
No, I don’t mean THAT use! If you and your partner have been forced to go at it slow and easy because those squeaky bedsprings are giving your nasty little secret away, then just take out some WD-40 and spray the springs. This will even work if your spring problem stems from inside the box mattress. Get yourself a staple remover and remove the staples on the underside. That will allow you to remove fabric and expose the springs inside. A little spray and-boom, baby!-you two are back to going at it like it was on sale for 19.99.

WD-40 and cleaning your clock.
Old-fashioned clocks that actually need gears to run can benefit from WD-40. If you find that your clock has been running slow, give this a shot: Spray WD-40 into the gearworks before taking it in for repair or tossing it. Often those little gears get clogged with dust and that’s the reason that time seems to be slowing down. An inexpensive little can of WD-40 may save you from paying a huge chunk of change to a clock repairman who is simply going to do the exact same thing.

WD-40 and cleaning food.
Hank Hill of King of the Hill probably knows this one. There’s probably nothing better for loosening food that has been baked into your barbecue grill than WD-40. Spray it onto the barbecue gill and then wait about ten minutes before wiping clean. Just remember to clean it further with soap and water afterward before you grill again.

If you’ve ever given up hope of getting baked-on food off a cookie pan or cake pan, despair no longer. Instead of throwing your pans away, simply spray WD-40 onto that hard-to-get clean pan and wipe it clean. Again, however, always take pains to wash with soap and water before cooking with it again.

WD-40 and animals.
Although not officially acknowledged by the WD-40 Company, many dog owners have found that the substances acts very well as a cure for the mange. The chemicals in the product work to get rid of the tiny little mites that contribute to the mange. Even though use in this way has not been advertised out of the fear of potential misuse, it is not discouraged because it has proven effective.

WD-40 has also long been a friend to fishermen in the know. Those who love to fish have found that spraying WD-40 on your bait serves to mask the scent of the fisherman himself, and so the bait acts better as a lure. Needless to say, the company discourages this use outright because, well, WD-40 is a petroleum-based chemical product and if every fisherman was spraying it on his bait, it would only serve to increase pollution in our rivers. Of course, when you consider what oil companies are doing to those same waters every day, it’s very difficult to make the argument that a little spray of WD-40 is going to do much more damage.

If you’ve got a birdhouse in your backyard that is constantly being targeted by squirrels, try spraying a little WD-40 on any metal access to it. Even the more sure-footed squirrels can’t make it up a wire or pole that’s been greased down with WD-40. (And speaking of squirrels, does it seem to you like every single animated movie about animals today is required to have some offbeat squirrel character?)

WD-40 and deodorizing
Is there anyone whoe doesn’t love that sweet smell of WD-40? It wasn’t also so, you know. The scent was added when it become a commercial product; it originally had a much more industrial odor. Did you know that if you spray a little WD-40 on your air conditioer filters and then turn your A/C that the aroma will soon be wafting pleasantly throughout your house? And you’d have to just absolutely drown the filter for the WD-40 smell to become overwhelming.

WD-40 and A Christmas Story.
Finally, if for some reason you know somebody who decides to test whether Flick could really have gotten his tongue stuck to a frozen flagpole, first make sure to laugh at them for as long as you want. But forget about calling the fire department. Simply spray some WD-40 onto the metal around the tongue and soon enough they’ll be slip-sliding away and without that silly tongue bandage that Flick (Flick? Flick who?) was forced to wear when arrived back in class.

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