It’s often said that the only two survival tools you need are duct tape and WD-40.
As the experts say, “If it moves and shouldn’t, use Duct Tape, if it doesn’t move and should, use WD-40.” Known as a multitool product for survival, WD-40 is useful in everyday situations, as well as emergencies.
WD-40 History: From Rocket Ships to Living Rooms
Developed in 1953 by Rocket Chemical Company, WD-40 was intended to function as a rust-prevention solvent and degreaser for use in the aerospace industry. WD stands for water displacement, and it was perfected on the 40th try, which explains its unusual name.
Upon the discovery of this brilliant multi-use tool, its popularity quickly took off. According to the WD-40 company website, “Convair, an aerospace contractor, first used WD-40 Multi-Use Product to protect the outer skin of the Atlas Missile from rust and corrosion. The product actually worked so well that several employees snuck some cans out of the plant to use at home.”
By 1993, WD-40 was found in 4 out of 5 American homes and used by 81% of working professionals with more than a million cans sold every week. Today, WD-40 is more popular than ever. A 2021 Bloomberg report shares, “How greased is WD-40 Co.’s stock price? The maker of lubricants for bikes and home projects now has a bigger market value than iconic department store Macy’s Inc. and a richer valuation than Shake Shack Inc.” As isolation renovation became prevalent during the pandemic, people across America found many ways to use WD-40, boosting its sales and stock market value.
The World-Wide Liquid Quick Fix
Beyond its many household uses, people have discovered creative ways to use WD-40. For instance, the WD-40 website shares the following examples of people using it in desperate situations:
- A bus driver in Asia used WD-40 to remove a python, which had coiled itself around the undercarriage of his bus.
- Police officers used WD-40 to remove a naked burglar trapped in an air conditioning vent.
If WD-40 is effective for protecting the outer shell of a space missile, detaching pythons, and removing burglars, it’s a survival tool you need to keep on hand.
28 Emergency and Everyday Uses for WD-40
#1 Prevent ice from sticking: If snow or ice is on the way, spray WD-40 on the outside of your car windows to prevent the ice from sticking.
#2 Protect firearms: Use WD-40 as a substitute for gun oil. It works to lubricate firearms and prevents rusting.
#3 Silence hinges: If squeaky hinges are annoying or giving away your location, use WD-40 to silence them by spraying directly on the hinges.
#4 Protect tools: Use WD-40 to remove rust on tools and protect them from further rusting.
#5 Repel bugs: WD-40 is one of a few quick and easy home pest control measures. You can spray your windows and entryways with WD-40 to repel them, as well as spray the top of standing water to prevent mosquitos.
#6 Prevent webs and nests: Make it harder for spiders to build webs and wasps to build nests by spraying frames and eaves with WD-40.
#7 Winterize shoes: As a water displacement tool, WD-40 works to winterize shoes. Apply WD-40 to shoes to repel water, snow, and ice, which will protect your feet from dangerous winter conditions like hypothermia.
#8 Relieve stings: If you are stung by a bee, a small spray of WD-40 on the spot will relieve the sting.
#9 Protect locks: Feel safe and secure by applying WD-40 to your locks. In addition to removing rust from closed locks, you can also use it to prevent future rusting.
#10 Works as a fire starter: Spray WD-40 on kindling and it works as a fire starter (once lit with a match). Additionally, you can use WD-40 as a flame torch by spraying it into the flame of a lighter.
#11 Protect food storage: You don’t want bugs to get into your long-term emergency food storage. One way to stop this from happening is to spray WD-40 on the containers.
#12 Prevent wood splintering: Spraying WD-40 directly onto wooden handles keep them from splintering.
#13 Improve digging: Make shoveling dirt or snow easier by spraying the shovel with WD-40. It’ll keep the debris from sticking to the shovel.
#14 Soften leather: Apply and rub WD-40 into leather shoes, collars, or ropes to soften the leather.
#15 De-rust cast iron: Keep your cast iron in good shape with WD-40. According to SolidSmack, “After spraying and letting it do its thing for five minutes, you can use 100-120 grit sandpaper or 00 steel wool, rubbing in small circles to remove the rusty build-up for a brand new look.”
#16 Remove crayon marks: Spray WD-40 on a cloth and simply wipe away crayon marks from surfaces.
#17 Remove road tar: Clean road tar off your car’s bumper by liberally spraying WD-40 on the surface, waiting 10 minutes, and then wiping the area with a cloth. WD-40 is a go-to for this type of car cleaning because it will not remove the car’s paint.
#18 Remove adhesive: Remove adhesive stickers by spraying the sticker with WD-40 and waiting 5 minutes, or applying a paper towel soaked in WD-40 on the sticker. And if you're using duct tape in emergencies or as a multi-use problem solver, this same method works for removing its residue, too.
#19 Remove gum: Whether you have gum stuck on the bottom of your shoe or your carpet, WD-40 will remove it. After removing as much of the gum as you can, spray it and wait for several minutes. Then, use a blunt object to remove the remaining gum.
#20 Keep critters away: If squirrels or other critters are getting into your bird feeders, spray the pole or hanging apparatus with WD-40 to prevent climbing. Plus, it is entertaining to watch.
#21 Ease car trouble: WD-40 is a car miracle worker. Here are some of the ways it eases car trouble according to the website:
- Removes carbon build-up on spark plugs
- Gets rid of residue from solenoids
- Loosens carburetor linkage when stuck
- Removes road tar
- Prevents antennas from freezing
- Prevents spray nozzles on windshield washers from freezing
- Dries ignition wires (with the engine turned off)
- Removes residue from pistons
- Prevents locks from freezing and unfreezes frozen locks
#22 Clear lime build-up: WD-40 is useful for cleaning, such as clearing lime build-up in bathrooms. Simply spray WD-40 into the toilet on the lime build-up, wait a few minutes, and then wipe away using your toilet brush.
#23 Remove grease: In addition to removing grease from hands and tools, WD-40 removes grease from clothing and fabrics. Apply the WD-40 directly to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then wash.
#24 Unstuck zipper: If the zipper on your go-bag gets stuck, spray it with WD-40 to loosen it up.
#25 Prevent mildew buildup: Spraying WD-40 on outdoor furniture and pots prevents mildew from building up.
#26 Clean bottom of shoes: If you step in pet waste, use WD-40 to remove it from the bottom of your shoes. After a basic clean up, spray the bottom of the shoe with WD-40 to get any remaining waste off your shoe.
#27 Protect electrical wires: The WD-40 website suggests, “Before lightning strikes, use WD-40® Multi-Use Product to smoothly pull wires through a conduit to safeguard your property from a potential fire or explosion.”
#28 Remove carpet stains: Spray WD-40 directly on the carpet stain. Then, clean the area with warm, soapy water using a sponge.
As you can see, it’s good for everyday use and in emergencies. Keep it on hand, friends.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply