WD-40: Strange Facts and Myths

Robag's picture

John S. Barry, the man “who masterminded the spread of WD-40,” as The New York Times puts it, has died at age 84. The product he promoted is more popular than an iPod.

WD-40 can be found in 4 out of 5 American households, the company claims. Its ingredients are a secret, and it has generated its share of myths and strange applications over the years.

Barry didn’t invent the stuff. “Norm Larsen, founder of Rocket Chemical Company, is considered the original founder of WD-40,” according to wd40.com.

Larsen aimed to develop a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for use in the aerospace industry. He succeeded at the goal, Water Displacement, on the 40th attempt, hence the name.

“Convair, an aerospace contractor, first used WD-40 to protect the outer skin of the Atlas Missile from rust and corrosion,” according to the web site.

A few years later the company made an aerosol spray version and the rest, as they say, is history.

WD-40 does not contain fish oil, contrary to a popular myth, nor does it contain silicone, kerosene, water, wax, graphite, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

And WD-40 won’t cure arthritis, despite another odd myth (Windex, however, cures everything, if you believe the Dad in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”).

It has been put to these uses, the company says: 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.

The product has never needed a Billy Mays; as the ShamWow guy might say, WD-40 sells itself. I’ll certainly vouch for it, having once owned a ’56 Ford pickup and later a ’66 Mustang, neither of which could not be worked on without a squirt here and there to loosen rusty old nuts and screws.

The company also says it’ll remove gum. I have an 8-year-old, and a pair of reading glasses sitting in the back seat of the car, on which to test that later today.

wd-40 it there anything it can’t do lol


Microman's picture


NZ equivalent?

Everybody has a can of CRC 556, but nobody has a can of WD-40. It costs heaps over here, compared to a much larger can of CRC.

n0mad's picture

WD-40 meets 0ld Vide0 Player

Well my st0ry 0f WD-40 start’s back when Vide0 Players used t0 eject fr0m the t0p… Yep sh0wing my age again :P
Anyway the Video’s in and it’s stuck and Dad said “This call’s 4 sum WD-40” so he g0t the can and placed the nossel 0n it
and prepared t0 spray a little then al0t into the side vent then well the entire Can was eaten…..

The next day it went int0 the sh0p and the technician said “This smells funny” and tilted the machine resulting in
an entire can 0f WD-40 dripping 0ut the side with the c0mment “This is 0dd” my dad quickly replied “We th0ught s0 2”
did he n0t C the liquid 00zzing 0nt0 the counter, did he think the guy was talking about the stuck Video, me thinks he was being
a typical dad and side stepping the fact that p0uring an entire can 0f WD-40 int0 electr0nic c0mp0nents is n0t a g00d thing and
admitting 2 it maybe w0rse than actually d0ing it in fr0nt 0f his s0n’s

The next week we picked it up and the Inv0ice/Rep0rt (Yep still enj0y Techniti0ns n0tes t0 this day) read:
“ Opened machine t0 find liquid had leaked and f0und it’s way int0 every n00k and cranny”
Did they think it leaked therf0re where the hell fr0m hehehehehehhee

“ T00k 0ff lid and aired for 3 days “
Walked away and th0ught it’s F#$%&%

“ l00ked int0 Vide0 enjecti0n fault and f0und leg0 piece wedges behind mechanism”
F0ren matter is the w0rd 4 it

“Turned 0n unit – all functi0nal”
Always liked the w0rd Functi0nal

Dad was never 1 t0 read the rep0rt s0 I quickly disp0sed 0f it and have never t0ld him that maybe it was my leg0
that was the pr0blem in the first place……

And yes Dad still has the vide0 Player and yes it still smells :P

WD-40 & Leg0 rule……………..

Sha8doW's picture


Great story. Bonus svals will be given on my rtn

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