If you grew up with a handy adult around the house, chances are you’ve been familiar with WD-40 since you were a kid.
The magic water-displacing, petroleum-based spray was created in the 1950s to prevent parts of the Atlas Missile from rusting. But these days, it’s a common household item that has dozens of uses — some well known and others not.
WD-40 is traditionally used on squeaky hinges or to loosen a rusted screw or nut. But it actually has a lot of unexpected uses that aren’t listed on the can. According to the WD-40 website, a bus driver in Asia actually used WD-40 to remove a python that had coiled around the undercarriage of the bus. Now that’s some clever thinking.
24 Clever Ways to Use WD-40
You can use your trusty can of WD-40 for cleaning your home, pest control, and even keeping your clothes and car looking good. Here are just a few of the many WD-40 uses out there.
Around the House
1. Remove Carpet Stains
WD-40 can help loosen stubborn carpet stains before using a regular carpet cleaner. Give the stain a thorough spraying and leave for a few minutes to let the liquid soak in. Follow up with any regular carpet cleaner to get rid of the stain for good. Don’t leave out the step of using the carpet cleaner. WD-40 is helping to loosen the stain but it shouldn’t be left on fabric. It could stain!
Depending on the type of stubborn stains, you may need to do this more than once in order to remove the mark completely. Try this on tea stains as well as coffee and wine, or even the spaghetti sauce that dripped onto the run on the way to the dinner table.
2. Clean Scuff Marks
Scuff marks on vinyl or tile floors can be difficult to remove with regular floor cleaner. Remove scuff marks by spraying with WD-40 to loosen them, and then wipe clean. The scuff marks should vanish as quickly as they appeared.
3. Remove Lime Stains From Porcelain
Your toilet can benefit from WD-40 if you have hard water that leaves lime stains in the toilet bowl. Spray inside your toilet with WD-40 and clean thoroughly with a toilet brush before flushing to rinse the residue away.
Bonus! You can also use WD-40 on hard water buildup around faucets.
4. Remove Kid Scribbles
If you’re a parent, you know the joy of seeing that your beloved child has drawn a beautiful picture for you. You know the pain of finding it on a wall instead of a piece of paper.
WD-40 can remove crayon marks from walls without damaging the paint. Give it a quick spray and wipe off, and you should see the scribbles come off as well.
5. Remove Sticker Residue
If your kids are like mine, they absolutely love stickers. My kids stick them everywhere, but one of their favorite spots is on my kitchen cabinets. Giving them stickers provides me with a few moments of peace, but I pay for it when it’s time to remove them.
WD-40 can remove the sticky residue left. Simply spray it on the sticky patch and wait about a minute, then wipe away. The sticker residue should come off easily. This trick also works for bumper stickers on your car.
6. Banish Hair Dye Stains
You can save a bunch of time and money by coloring your hair at home. But it’s a messy process and can leave stains on towels or clothing. Trying to remove stains like this can be difficult.
If you find yourself with a stained towel, loosen the dye by spraying WD-40 on the stain, rubbing it in, and then washing the towel in your machine on a hot cycle. The stain should disappear once the towel is clean.
On the Property
7. Prevent Snow Build-Up
If the weather forecast predicts a big winter snowstorm, grab a can of WD-40 and spray it on your house’s windows before the snow starts. The water-dispensing properties will prevent snow from building up on the outside of your windows.
8. Keep Snow Off Your Shovel or Snow Thrower
People who live in colder climates know what a pain it can be to shovel snow. Snow can be heavy and hard to move, especially when it gets stuck to your shovel or in the chute of your snow thrower. A quick spray of WD-40 on your shovel blade or inside your snow thrower’s chute so you can clear your driveway or sidewalk faster and with less energy expended.
9. Remove Oil Spills From Concrete
Although your garage floor or driveway may not be your biggest priority to keep clean, oil spills can look messy on an otherwise clean surface. Luckily, your handy can of WD-40 can help remove the stains quickly and easily.
Simply spray the oil stain with WD-40 and rinse thoroughly with your hose. Once dry, the oil stain should be completely gone.
10. Protect Wooden Tool Handles
Wood-handled tools can age and splinter without proper treatment. Rubbing them with WD-40 helps protect the wood from weather damage, making them last longer and protecting your hands from splinters.
11. Remove Grease From Your Hands
If you like to work on your car, you know how hard it is to get the grease off your hands when you’re finished. A quick spray of WD-40 helps loosen the grease so you can clean your hands more easily.
12. Remove Gum From Hair
Chewing gum is great for keeping your breath fresh, but once it gets in your hair it’s game over. There are plenty of remedies out there for gum removal (including just cutting your hair and starting over), but one of the best is a spray of WD-40. (Peanut butter will work, too.)
Spray the WD-40 directly onto the part of the hair tangles with the gum, then comb through and rinse. The gum should come right out — though, for super-stuck gum, you may need to do this a few times.
13. Keep Bugs Out of Your House
Do you have a bug problem? WD-40 can help keep them at bay. Grab your can and spray the solution wherever bugs might be getting into your house, such as a door or window frame.
14. Prevent Wasp Nests
You can also use WD-40 to stop wasps and yellow jackets from building nests under the eaves of your roof. Spray thoroughly under the eaves to deter wasps and other flying pests from building their nests there.
15. Use As a Weed Killer
Traditional weed killers have a bad rap for being toxic and bad for the environment. WD-40 is a good alternative for killing pesky weeds such as thistles, which can be hard to remove at the root and come back year after year.
Spray the weed with WD-40 and wait until it dies. It should be easy to pull the weed up (roots and all) so it’s less likely to come back a few weeks (or even days) later.
16. Keep Squirrels Off Bird Feeders
You might not think of squirrels as “pests” — at least until you put a bird feeder out that ends up sustaining more squirrels than birds.
You can keep squirrels off your bird feeder by spraying the feeder with WD-40. This makes it slippery and means any squirrel who attempts to munch the bird seed will slide right off.
17. Waterproof Your Boots
A misting of WD-40 can help protect boots and shoes from getting wet. Before heading outside on a rainy or snowy day, spray the tops and side of your boots and your toes will stay dry and toasty on your walk.
Avoid spraying the soles of your boots, though, as it could make them slippery and cause you to fall.
18. Remove Dog Poop
Stepped in dog poop on your walk? WD-40 can help remove the stinky mess from the bottom of your shoes. Spray directly onto the poopy area and use a brush (like an old toothbrush reserved for cleaning) to remove the poop completely. Make sure you wipe off WD-40 completely with a dry paper towel so that you don’t make your shoes slippery. (See No. 17.)
It goes without saying, but make sure you don’t accidentally use your actual toothbrush …
19. Loosen a Zipper
Have you ever purchased a new pair of boots, only to find that it’s almost impossible to unzip the zipper? I speak from experience when I say that WD-40 works well to loosen stuck zippers on boots, and likely on jacket zippers as well as backpacks, computer cases and luggage.
Spray the zipper with WD-40 and zip up and down a few times to get the zipper moving. Once it’s loose, it should be easier to unzip moving forward.
20. Keep Locks From Freezing
When temperatures fall, your car door lock can freeze and prevent you from unlocking your parked car. But if you proactively spray WD-40 into the lock, it’ll prevent moisture from getting inside and freezing, so you can get into your car without any hassle.
21. Remove Dead Bugs From Your Grille
There’s a lot to look forward to in the warmer months as pools open and there’s more opportunity to spend time outside. But summer comes with bugs, and deceased bugs on your car grille can be difficult to remove. But if you have a can of WD-40 on hand, you can prevent the bugs from getting stuck there in the first place.
Before going out for a drive, spray your grille with WD-40. The lubricant will mean the bugs will slide off rather than splatting on your grille and getting stuck. A little preventative work can save you a lot of time and hassle in the long run.
22. Lubricate Your Gas Cap
Your gas cap probably isn’t something you think about often … until it becomes a problem. A quick spray of WD-40 a few times a year can prevent the gas cap from rusting and ensure you can easily open and close it when you refill your tank.
Just make sure you wipe up any residue, because the WD-40 could harm your car’s clear coat.
23. Get Rid of Paint Smudges
Paint smudges on your car are no match for the power of WD-40. My daughter always opens her car door right onto the wall of our garage, so the edge of her door is caked in white paint.
To remove paint rub stains from your car, spray the affected area with WD-40 and wipe away. It’s that simple!
And Then There’s Baseball
24. Break in that New Glove
The leather on a new baseball glove can be stiff. To break it in, spray with WD-40, place a baseball in the palm of the glove, and fold the glove over the ball. Use a rubber band to tie it in place and leave overnight. When you remove the rubber band and the ball, the glove will be softer and will have a little ball-shaped pocket in the center perfect for catching a fly ball.
Ohio-based Catherine Hiles is a British writer and editor living and working in the U.S. She has a degree in communications from the University of Chester in the U.K. and writes about finance, cars, pet ownership and parenting.