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April 26, 2021

Is WD-40 really that indispensable?

Consumers and tradespeople looking to save time and money need look no farther than a can of WD-40, say Tim Nyberg and Jim Berg, a.k.a the Duct-Tape Guys in their eponymous masterpiece The WD-40 book.

And they may be on to something.

The versatile brand of household lubricant, which has been around since 1958, was invented by a small three-person company trying to develop a rust-prevention solvent for the aerospace industry. 

Since the inventors came up with a successful formula on their 40th try, they called it WD-40. And that might have been it had impressed plant workers not started to sneak the product home for their own use, creating a buzz that still exists today.

Uses for WD-40 have soared since then with the company – which has annual sales of more than $300 million worldwide and also markets other must-have products like 2000 Flushes toilet cleaner, X-14 mildew stain remover and Carpet Fresh rug deodorizer  – documenting over 2,000 ways that users claim to have put its product to use. 

There's even a web site – wd40uses – that allows zealots to submit stories, photos and videos about creative ways to avoid paying for expensive repairs or replacement items.

A few of these "and there's more" claims include:

  • Getting pythons to uncoil themselves from under buses
  • Unsticking tongues stuck to cold metal
  • Making golf balls fly farther
  • Repelling mosquitoes
  • Winter proofing boots
  • Camouflaging scratches in ceramic tiles 
  • Keeping pigeons off balconies
  • Alleviating arthritis and other aches
  • Unfreezing door locks in winter
  • Loosening tight Lego blocks.

Do you have any unusual WD-40 applications? Or have you found a better alternative altogether?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...