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Six unusual uses for WD40

Carlton Boyce / 13 May 2016 ( 30 July 2018 )

Most people have a can of WD40 lying about in their house, shed or garage but you would be amazed at some of the things it can be used for.

WD40 can help remove crayon and other marks from hard surfaces
WD40 can help remove crayon and other marks from hard surfaces.

WD40 – or Water Displacement, 40th formula to give it its full name – is a versatile product that has thousands of different uses, earning itself a place in almost every toolbox, shed and garage in the country. 

As the saying goes: if it moves and it shouldn’t, use duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, use WD40.

But there is much more to WD40 than a mere lubricant. Here are six uses for it that might have escaped you.

1. Removing stickers and labels

One of the many banes of modern life is that almost everything you buy now comes with a stock identification number and a plethora of health and safety labels stuck to it. 

These are, of course, utterly impossible to remove in one piece leaving a sticky, papery residue if you so much as think about trying to peel them off. 

However, a decent squirt of WD40 dissolves the glue that holds them in place, allowing you to wipe them off with a micro-fibre cloth without damaging or marking the surface.

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2. Removing sticky substances

It will also unstick chewing gum from the soles of your shoes and tar from your car’s bodywork. 

In fact, it’ll help remove almost any sticky substance from hard surfaces. Just spray it on and leave for a few moments before wiping it off with a paper towel or micro-fibre cloth.

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3. Make digging and shovelling a breeze

Soil and snow have a tendency to stick to shovels, an annoyance that can more than double the weight of them forcing you to stop working every few minutes to scrape them clean. 

If you spray the surface liberally with WD40 before you start, any snow or soil with slide straight off, stopping a chore turning into a nightmare. 

Of course, a quick spray will keep all your garden tools rust-free too.

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4. Removing marks from hard surfaces

Speaking of which, WD40 also removes rust, crayon, and felt-tip marks from hard surfaces like tiled floors – be sure to clean the floor well afterwards, as WD40 will make it very slippery – and tea stains from kitchen worktops.

5. Stop mildew

WD40 not only removes scuff marks from plastic garden furniture, it will also stop mildew forming on wooden garden furniture; simple spray the bottom six inches with it.

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6. Separating stuck objects

We all know that WD40 is very good at freeing moving objects that have seized up, but did you know that it can also be used for unsticking Lego bricks and drinking glasses too?

More esoteric uses include the removal a python from the underside of a bus in India and police uses a judicious squirt or two to free a naked burglar from an air-conditioning vent after he got stuck.

We can’t personally vouch for their efficacy of either of these last two tips, but they might be worth bearing in mind, just in case you find yourself in a similar position one day…

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WD40 fan club

As you might have guessed, I’m a huge fan of WD40, so much so that I’ve joined the fan club. You can join too, by clicking here.

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Carlton's top tip

I’ve stopped buying it in those little aerosol containers as it was starting to get too expensive, no matter how convenient it was to half-a-dozen cans around the place. I now buy it in 5-litre containers, which is much, much cheaper in the long run, and decant it into small garden sprayers so I’ve always got some to hand.

Of course, you’ll need to label the containers; WD40 might be a miracle spray but I doubt it will do your prize roses much good.

Saga readers say...

'I have been somewhat frustrated in trying to get the stainless steel backsplash and cooker hood to look good. I have used hot soapy water, various liquid kitchen cleaners and dedicated stainless steel cleaners, all to no avail – they all smear. I tried WD40 and the result was brilliant! Spray it on a paper towel and wipe over the surface to be cleaned – you will be surprised at the dirt that comes off. Don’t spray it directly on the surface – it goes everywhere, as I discovered!' Laurence, via email

Do you have a favourite use for WD40 that we haven’t mentioned? If so, why not share it with other Saga readers by emailing


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.