MYTH (vs) FACT
A dear friend of mine Clara, emailed me some information regarding WD-40. It included many common uses and functions of the product. This sparked an interest in finding out just what all of the fuss was over WD-40? I was well surprised to find not only the real history but the secret ingredient found within the broadly used WD-40 products.
What is the main ingredient in WD-40?
- MYTH: WD-40 contains Soddard Solvents (synonymous with mineral spirits). What was referred to as soddard solvents years ago was a harsh group of mineral spirits that today have become re-categorized according to their level of refinement. WD-40 does use mineral spirits in the formula. But the more refined distilled version provided by today's modern methods of purification. 50% mineral spirits within the content defined by today's standards is what you will find in the WD-40 recipe. Which is nothing like the soddard solvents of yesterday's harsh product lines.
- FACT: WD-40's main ingredient is refined fish oil. This is true and has even promoted the spraying of fishing lures by fishermen who swear it attracts the ichthyological critters. WD-40 strongly states that they do not recommend this use, as WD-40 should be handle as you would any petroleum based product.
Antique WD-40 Packaging
WD-40 BUSINESS TIMELINE
- 1960 - The company doubles in size.
RCC started delivering WD-40 to hardware and sporting good stores. 45 cases a day were being sold out of the backs of the now doubled-in-size company (7 people strong) cars.
- 1961 - The first full truckload is ordered.
The first full truck load of WD-40 was ordered to aide in the reconditioning of flood and rain damaged equipment and vehicles following the landing of Hurricane Carla along the US Gulf coast. The staff came in on a Saturday to manufacture enough WD-40 to fill the order.
- 1969- WD-40 becomes a company name.
In 1969 the Rocket Chemical Company was renamed after it's one and only product, becoming WD-40 Company, Inc.
- 1973 - Going public.
WD-40 Company, Inc goes public. The stock price jumped some 61% on the first day.
THE HISTORY OF WD-40
How Did WD-40 Come To Be
1953 a new company called 'Rocket Chemical Company' (RCC) was looking to devise a rust preventing solvent for the Aerospace industry. The small company was located in San Diego, California. The story goes, that it took 40 attempts to get the water displacing formula correct. WD-40, which ultimately stands for- water displacement perfected on the 40TH try- is a formula that has proven its perfection. The original design has remained the same for all of these years and just goes to show what a great product WD-40 was right from the beginning.
A Chronological History of WD-40
- 1958 - San Diego, California stores start to put WD-40 on their shelves for sale.
The employees at RCC found the product so outstanding they would take home bottles and use it around the house or shop. Norman Larsen (RCC founder) decided to put the gem in aerosol cans, believing that if the employees liked the way it worked it may have a place in American households. And so it did...
- 1993 - 81% of professionals use WD-40.
By 1993 WD-40 is found in 4 out of 5 homes, and is being used by 81% of professionals at work. Also a mile-stone for the company at this time, one million cans were being sold weekly.
- 2003 - WD-40 Big Blast®
A new Big Blast® can was brought to market. It offers many varieties of nozzles that deliver WD-40 quickly and easily to just about any surface.
- 2005 - That illusive little red straw.
The little red straw that we can rarely find when we need to apply WD-40 becomes permanently attached. The biggest complaint by WD-40 users has always been the missing red straw. WD-40 has solved the issue by creating a permanently attached version called the Smart Straw®, solving the only real draw-back to the WD-40 product.
- 2006 - WD-40 goes on the road.
The WD-40 No-Mess Pen® is introduced to the consumer allowing you to take a small portable version of the product with you on the road. This same year the WD-40 Fan Club reached 1,000,000 loyal members strong! (yep. You read that right, and if you want to see how you can join them, go right to their Fan Club link!
- 2008 - Smart Straw® again.
WD-40 converts it most popular sized can to the WD-40 Smart Straw® cans as demand by consumers became to great to ignore.
- 2009 - A new member to the WD-40 family.
WD-40 Company, Inc. adds another member to the product line. WD-40 Trigger Pro®. This non-aerosol product contains the same formula as your favorite WD-40 original, but allows the product to broaden its user population while considering environmental ozone concerns.
AN OFFICIAL WD-40 PRODUCT VIDEO YOU DON'T WANT TO MISS. THIS GUY IS AWESOME!
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20 SECRET USES FOR WD-40
What Can I Use WD-40 On
- Keeps flies off of cows
- Restores and cleans chalkboards
- Untangles jewelry chains
- Gives floors a 'just-waxed' shine, without the slippery surface
- Cleans and lubricates guitar strings
- Removes stains from stainless steel sinks
- Keeps ceramic/Terra-cotta gardening pots from oxidizing
- Removes tomato stains from clothing
- Keeps glass shower doors clear and clean of water spots
- Removes spattered grease from stoves
- Keeps pigeons away, they hate the smell
- Removes all traces of duct tape
- Spraying WD-40 on the distributor cap displaces the moisture and the car will start
- Keeps the bathroom mirror from fogging up
- New York state uses WD-40 to keep the statue of liberty protected from the elements
- Bug guts come off easily with WD-40, protecting your paint from eroding paint damage
- Lubricates sticking window tracks in home windows, for easier opening
- Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers keeping them running smoothly
- If a tube of lipstick gets washed and dried in the laundry, spray the stains with WD-40 and rewash the items
- Lubricates prosthetic limbs
WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT WD-40 REALLY DOES MATTER!
Comments for WD-40 Secrets you must have!
BEEZKNEEZ on October 02, 2013:
Great hub on WD-40. I love WD-40. It can fix any problem that I have with squeaking or anything like that.
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on February 22, 2013:
Thanks for the added insight to the WD40 facts and myths!
BenMoodee on February 22, 2013:
According to WD-40.com, there is no "fish oil" in the formula. Also, the mineral spirits, loosely referred to as "Stoddard's solvent", are more accurately described as "petroleum distillates"; a term so broad, it's like saying the secret ingredient in grandmas world famous vegetable soup is vegetables.
I'm not trying to spoil your fun, just thought a true fan (and I absolutely believe you are a true fan), would not want to perpetuate something WD-40.com specifically lists as a myth.
Regardless of ingredients left in or left out, this truly unique product has made me a hero more than a few times and I have never found its equal.
I have to say though, the "smart straw" isn't! The secret to always having a straw available is never throwing one away.
Randall on February 17, 2013:
Sprat blades of post hole diggers prior to and during use to keep dirt from sticking to them.
. j.neil on December 01, 2012:
wd 40 has saved mylife i say no more......
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on December 08, 2011:
Peggy W~ Thanks for making it by today. My dad swears by WD-40 and uses it for just about everything listed here and more. It's the best thing to come out of the Aerospace industry in my opinion! I appreciate your support!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 08, 2011:
We keep WD-40 in our house at all times. Comes in handy for so many things but I learned more interesting uses from reading this hub. From keeping the Statue of Liberty clean to keeping flies off of cows...who knew? Thanks! Up, useful and interesting votes.
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 12, 2010:
Lady_E~ thank you for the comments. Thrilled you could stop by and take on the read. It would seem London could use WD-40 with all of the moist weather you endure. You should have someone mail you a can!
Thanks again for stopping by.
Elena from London, UK on July 12, 2010:
Very interesting - It's got so many uses. I hope they sell it in London. Thanks for this important info. Some of us would get professionals to do some of the tips you mentioned above and pay a lot for it. Now we don't need them. Thanks for letting us in, on the secret.
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 11, 2010:
Candy~The wasp thing was new to me. It is a wonderful product for so many reasons!
elayne001~Glad youfound some new ways to use WD-40! In your salty environment I can see it being a staple in the tool shed. Glad you enjoyed the hub! Thanks for stopping by.
Elayne from Rocky Mountains on July 10, 2010:
Just sprayed my rusting bicycle with W-D 40 - we live in Hawaii and use it often for tons of things - you gave me some more by writing this hub. Great job.
Candy Campbell on July 10, 2010:
We have used WD-40 all over our farm and equipment for years, and you can bet I will try it out on a few of the "additional uses" you mentioned as well as for wasps!
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 08, 2010:
Kcreery~Thanks for the comment. I hope everyone has tried WD-40. If they haven't they are surely missing out on a killer product!
Kevin from Whistler Canada on July 08, 2010:
Great hub. I'm sure everyone has tried WD-40.
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 06, 2010:
2uesday~ Thank you for your comments. Glad WD-40 was there for you! Good advise on the use of it with garden adventures. Another good reason to have WD-40 on hand.
2uesday on July 06, 2010:
WD-40 great invention- I am not good at D.I.Y. but a can of this has freed up a siezed door lock for me and it is also good to use on the gardening tools. Thanks for an interesting article on this.
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 06, 2010:
Randy, Nellieanna & Gus~ Thank you for the comments. I also am a devoted WD-40 fan. I had not heard of anyone killing wasps with the stuff but I will keep this idea in mind this summer for sure! Many times either WD-40 or Duct tape have rescued this old girl from a touchy spot over the years. They actually have a book that is all about just these two products, what a hoot! It has always amazed me how WD-40 can be such a strong solvent and yet remain so delicate on sensative devices, such as fine electronics. What a brilliant product. So happy you all can relate to my love for the stuff! I appreciate you all stopping by!
Gustave Kilthau from USA on July 06, 2010:
K9K - I first began using WD-40 back in 1965. We used to call it like we saw it - "miracle juice." We were making very sensitive electronic-computer products, and WD-40 helped us to get rid of moisture on the circuit boards. We also found that WD-40 was great for cleaning instrument cases. Keeping a can of the stuff on my workbench is still second nature.
Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on July 06, 2010:
I've been a WD-40 fan for years and now I know more uses for it! I'm sure you've heard the adage that all it takes for a woman to handle any problem is WD-40 to get things unstuck and Duct-Tape to keep 'em stuck! LOL
Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on July 05, 2010:
As a farmer with many tractor and types of equipment to maintain I can vouch for the many uses of this tried-and-true product. I have killed many wasps with a few shots of WD-40 to the nest! Enjoyed the hub!
India Arnold (author) from Northern, California on July 05, 2010:
SG~ so glad you found promise in the hub! I found so much of the information pretty spectacular. The cow thing, not so much useful as interesting! May try it on other outdoor critters tho? Tnank you for stopping by and for the comment! Look forward to your next release!
SilverGenes on July 05, 2010:
Wow! Not that I need to keep flies off cows or anything, but that's truly impressive. The Jewelry chains and the shower door, tomato stains and guitar strings, well that's just plain awesome. I can use that! Thank you! :))