What Are WD-40 Alternatives? – Its Uses And All You Need To Know About This Product

WD-40 Alternatives

Last Updated on July 27, 2023 By Emma W. Thomas

WD-40 alternatives include products like silicone lubricants, white lithium grease, and penetrating oils like PB Blaster or Liquid Wrench. These alternatives are used for lubricating, loosening rusted parts, and protecting metal surfaces. Always check the specific use case and compatibility before selecting a substitute.

WD-40 Alternatives and Their Uses

WD-40 AlternativeUses
Silicone LubricantsGeneral lubrication, waterproofing
White Lithium GreaseLubricating hinges, locks, and gears
PB BlasterPenetrating rusted or stuck parts
Liquid WrenchLoosening rust and corrosion
3-in-1 OilLubrication for tools and machinery
CRC 5-56Protecting metal surfaces from rust
Vegetable OilTemporary lubrication for household use
Coconut OilLubricating and conditioning purposes
Vinegar and Baking SodaRemoving rust and corrosion
Mineral OilRust prevention and lubrication

What Are The Other Alternatives Of WD-40?

Besides extra virgin olive oil and regular oil, you can also use silicone spray, which also works better for long-term goals. However, some of the chemicals used in its compression make it hard to manage and start dripping after some time. Another alternative is mineral oil which is a petroleum by-product. The problem with mineral oil is that it lacks compressed chemical additives making it toxic if inhaled.

What Is WD-40?

Some WD-40 ingredients are unknown as they are a trade secret. From analysis, studies have shown that it contains petroleum-based hydrocarbons. 50%of the WD-40 is simple kerosene, with slightly less than 30% being petroleum oil. The remaining 20% is made of other petroleum hydrocarbons, including the trade secret ingredient. Every can of WD-40 also contains about 3% of carbon dioxide, which acts as the spray’s propellant. 

WD-40 formula was not patented, and many competing companies have tried to duplicate their formula, with none getting to the same degree. The product’s uniqueness has led to the success of the producing company. WD-40 company clearly states that this product was formulated to remove and dissolve rust by displacing water, preventing corrosion. 

Many other off-label uses people have come up with are unrecognized by the producing company. In whichever manner you use the WD-40, it is recommended that you take caution to avoid damage to other things. Considering it is toxic and flammable, avoid using it near children and ensure proper storage which is not in their reach.

What Is The History Behind WD-40?

It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The same case applies when it comes to WD-40’s peculiar journey. It all started in a small research lab in 1953 in San Diego. A small staff from a rocket chemical company tried to develop a solvents line to prevent rocket parts from rusting. Doing this involved coming up with a solvent that could displace water from the rocket parts.

 On their fortieth attempt, the staff got the right formula, and they named the product WD-40, standing for water displacement, the 40th attempt. For once, a product name was taken directly from the researcher’s notebook and did not receive any makeover from a publicity team.

WD-40  was very effective and useful to the workers, such that they brought cans with them so that they could carry some to their homes. For this reason, by 1958, the company decided to package the product in aerosol cans for a broader consumer market. Since then, it has been over 70 years in operation, and no other company has overtaken the WD-40  company. It has, over time, bought other oil-based companies such as those making lava soap, 3-in-one oil, and shot spot carpet cleaners. All these companies have maintained WD-40 signatures on their products, making them bestsellers. A study carried out indicated that four out of five homes in the US have at least one can of WD-40.

What Are The Various Uses Of WD-40?

One of the main on-label use for WD-40 is rust prevention and degreasing through application to the affected parts. Its formulation does not include lubrication as they have other products better suited to serve the purpose, like the 3-in-one oil. However, most mechanics and homeowners have used it to loosen screws, bolts, and other corroded parts. Others used it to clean rusty items since WD-40  provides an excellent scrub while still protecting them from further rusting. If the product were limited to its single on-label use, it would not have reached the enormous popularity it does now. Some of the off-label uses of the WD-40  include;

Removing Road Tar 

WD-40  has a thin kerosene component, which acts as a dissolvent. Therefore, it can dissolve thicker petroleum substances like gummy road tar, which stains painted metal on the car. 

Bumper Stickers Removal

WD-40  easily dissolves adhesive gums holding bumper stickers to your car.

Removing Crayon Writings From The Walls

Households with kids suffer from kid’s writing on the walls using crayons which can be very notorious for cleaning off. However, WD-40 does the job perfectly with ease. You are only required to wash off its residues from the walls with a grease-removing soap or detergent.

Removing Rubber Scuff Marks

 Most modern rubbers are made from by-products of petroleum instead of natural rubber, which was initially derived from tree sap. WD-40 easily dissolves the rubber scuffs making it the perfect product to remove marks.

Cleaning Stainless Steel

WD-40  easily removes oily fingerprints and cooking greases from stainless steel utensils. Additionally, it offers further protection from stains and rust.

Lubricating Hinges

Even though WD-40  is not a technical lubricating product, it has thin oils, which are great when it comes to penetrating tiny crevices between parts of door hinges. A small amount is enough to do the trick, and you should remember to wipe away the excess residue so that they do not dry and clog the door hinges.

Removing Duct Tape

Duct tapes are notoriously sticky and adhesive, which gives them their holding power. Once the tape is removed, WD-40 dissolves the gummy adhesive left behind, leaving a clean stainless surface. 

Removing Labels From Glass

 Some glass manufacturers tend to label items using stickers that are difficult to remove. Some glass kitchen utensils also come with labels, and removing them leaves sticky stains on their surfaces. A WD-40 has solvents that easily remove adhesives used on the stickers to hold the labels on the glass.

Protecting Bike Chains

You should spray your bike’s metallic chain once or twice a year and the gear sprockets using a WD-40. The thin oil used in the product dissolves old grease offering protection from moisture which is likely to cause rust and corrosion on your bike chains. The oil used in WD-40 is thin and does not easily attract dirt and dust like other products which use heavier oils. Since it is not designed as lubricating oil, you should use other silicone products after spraying for a better outcome.

Polishing Chrome

You can use WD-40 by rubbing a thin coat on the metallic surface, which is chromed. It helps prevent moisture and dirt from pitting the chrome metal surface.

There are endless uses of WD-40. Some everyday home uses of the product which are not officially recognized by the producing company include; 

  • Removing stuck rings from fingers 
  • Waterproofing boots and gloves for outdoor wear
  • Removing stains on porcelain 
  • Spraying an insecticide on insect repellant (it involves applying the WD-40 on surfaces to keep away insects) 
  • Loosening stuck zippers 
  • Moisturizing leather or wood 
  • Lubricating a shovel
  • Lubricating guitar strings
  • Removing grease on barbecue grills
  • Lubricating metallic slides
  • Loosening stuck Lego toy pieces (Ensure you clean them properly before handing them back over to the kids)

When Should You Not Use WD-40?

There are a few incidences when you should not use WD-40. Some of them include;

Avoid Using It On Door Locks.

 It may be tempting knowing that WD-40 can lubricate a dry lock. Using it on door locks may attract small dust particles, making the door lock worse with time.

Do Not Use WD-40 On Plastic Or Rubber Parts

 Modern rubber and plastic are made of by-products of petroleum which is also an active ingredient of the wd-40. Using it on plastic and rubber could melt them, and in case of a nearby fire source, it could be flammable.

Do Not Use It To Lubricate Computer Keys

 Computer keys are made of plastic and easily damaged or melted by WD-40.

Do Not Use WD-40 As A Lighter Fluid

Some components of WD-40 such as kerosene, are highly flammable. Some people use the spray on bonfires and charcoal grills to coax flames which is not advisable. 

What Are The Safety Considerations When Using WD-40?

WD-40 company datasheet clearly states that it is highly flammable and could explode when exposed to high temperatures. It is also highly toxic and poisonous if ingested or inhaled and can be fatal. For these reasons, you should protect it from direct sunlight and store it under low temperatures. If ingested or inhaled, contact medical services as soon as possible, and you should not induce vomiting. Importantly, it would help if you disposed of its cans following the national and local regulations.


There are many alternatives for WD-40, but the safest is the extra virgin olive oil which is thinner and hence does not easily attract dirt. Other alternatives such as regular oil are not as good and are unlikely to serve the purpose effectively, like WD-40. Some are highly flammable, making them unsafe for use.