Posts tagged ‘wd-40’

WD-40 Ingredients and Uses

By Chad Upton | Editor

WD-40 was created in 1953 by Norm Larsen. It was originally designed to prevent corrosion caused by water — the WD stands for “water displacement.” Norm’s 40th formula was successful and that’s where the “40” comes from.

The formula is so secretive, they decided not to patent it. This may sound counter intuitive, but filing for a patent would require disclosing the ingredients.

That strategy was good for a while, but many years later, the Hazardous Communication regulation required that ingredients of potentially hazardous products be made available to emergency responders.

I did some digging and found the material safety data sheet for WD-40 (PDF).

The main ingredient is Stoddard solvent, which is also known by its own brand name, Varsol. CO2 is used as a propellant and mineral oil is another main ingredient.

It was first used to protect the Atlas missile from corrosion and it became available to consumers in 1958. Since then, consumers have found over 2000 uses that the WD-40 Company endorses (and many more it doesn’t).

There is a popular email circulating that you may have seen. It states WD-40 is primarily fish oil, but that’s not true. The email also lists a number of uses, although the WD-40 company only recommends about half of those. Some of the 2000 recommended uses include:

  • Stop squeaks (doors, bike chains)
  • Remove and prevent rust (lawn mower blades during off season, cookie tins/sheets)
  • Remove gum, glue, ink and lipstick from fabrics and other items
  • Lubricate metal parts (zippers, tools, machines)
  • Loosen nuts and screws
  • Cleaning (shower doors, tools, lime stains in toilet bowls)

Check out the full list of 2000 uses (PDF).

PS – The WD-40 company has an affinity for product names with numbers. They also make 2000 flushes, X-14, 3-in-one-oil and a few other products.

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Sources: Official WD-40 Uses (PDF), MSDS (PDF), Snopes

June 11, 2010 at 12:24 am 12 comments

Prevent Snow Buildup on Your Shovel

Snow can be wet and sticky. Shoveling that heavy snow is bad enough without extra snow buildup on the shovel. The secret is to lightly spray the inside of your dry shovel with WD-40.

“WD” stands for Water Displacement and it is the fortieth attempt at developing a substance to prevent rust and corrosion on the Atlas missile and rocket family. Basically, it was developed by rocket scientists.  So, if you need to displace water (snow) then this is your answer.

There is a rumor that WD-40 is based on fish oil, but it is in fact a petroleum based product. The exact formula is such a big secret, it is not even patented, which means the ingredients are not publicly documented. Although, with some digging I found a Material Safety Data Sheet, which is required in some countries in case someone swallows it or gets it in their eyes.  The two main ingredients are Aliphatic Hydrocarbon and the Petroleum Base Oil.

It also looks like they brought some of those rocket scientists back to develop a straw that is impossible to misplace (see photo).

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Sources: WD-40, JobSite

December 22, 2009 at 12:35 am 3 comments

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