32 Common Tasks WD-40 Makes Unexpectedly Easy

By R.P. Hogan
working with WD-40

You’ve probably got a can of WD-40 under the kitchen sink, or out in the garage next to your toolbox. Extremely helpful, WD-40 is great when you’re trying to loosen a screw that’s gotten rusty, or need to blast open a stuck door lock. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of its practical applications. Here are 30 tasks around your home where a can of WD-40 can make a surprising difference. 

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Clean Piano Keys

You should always wash your hands before sitting down to play the piano, but it can be easy to forget. If you notice the surface of your piano keyboard is looking a little grimy, a little WD-40 might help to restore the shine to your ivory keys.

playing piano
Photo Courtesy: iStock

Some experts warn against getting any kind of lubricant inside a piano, so you’ll want to approach the keys carefully. Spray a tiny amount of WD-40 on a paper towel or small cloth, and wipe the dirty keys gently, then follow up by wiping with a dry cloth. Try to keep to the surface of the keys without letting any lubricants trickle down between them.

Remove Stains from Tile Floors

No matter how hard you try to keep your floors clean, you’re going to have some accidents. Let’s say you spill coffee on the kitchen floor, or drop a bottle of nail polish and it shatters and spreads everywhere. This would be a good time to have some WD-40 on hand.

tile kitchen and countertops
Photo Courtesy: Jason Briscoe/Unsplash

Just spray the WD-40 directly on the stain, wait a few seconds, then wipe it with a damp rag. You can also use WD-40 to loosen up other kinds of gunk from your floor – from sticky tape residue to old bits of chewing gum.

Clean Kitchen Counters and Stoves

Remember everything about how easy it is to clean your tile floors with WD-40? Well, it’s also true for kitchen countertops. You can spray a bit of WD-40 on tea or coffee stains, or even tougher blemishes. Somebody smashed a bunch of blueberries on your counter? Spray, wait and wipe.

kitchen stove with pots on top
Photo Courtesy: Dean Daner/Unsplash

The miracle substance also works if your kids put a bunch of decals or stickers on the counter and you’re trying to get all the sticky bits off. You can also use WD-40 on your stove top; it’s an easy fix for removing grease splatters or caked-on food.

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Get a Stuck Ring Off Your Finger

Sometimes you put on a ring and never want to remove it. (Like a wedding ring, for example). So, it stays there for years. But then, for one reason or another, you have to take it off, but your fingers are different now and no matter how firmly you pull, you can’t even get it past that first knuckle.

getting ring off finger
Photo Courtesy: iStock

Spray a little WD-40 directly onto your finger then wiggle the ring around so the lubricants can get under it. (If you’ve got a can with the “smart straw” nozzle, you should be able to squirt right up against the ring easily). It shouldn’t take too long for the ring to slide off your finger, but if you do experience any difficulties, hold your finger under running water – the colder the better.

Remove Tough Stains from the Carpet

Raise your hand if you’ve encountered this nightmare. You’re having a party in your living room, and someone gets a little sloppy with their glass of red wine. The next thing you know, there’s a dark stain spreading across the carpet. But all is not lost.

removing stains from carpet
Photo Courtesy: iStock

Simply break out your can of WD-40 and spray it directly onto the stain for quick results. Wait a few minutes, then blot the stain with warm, soapy water. Once the stain’s out, rinse the area once again with warm water. And this trick isn’t just for red wine. You can also use WD-40 to remove ink stains from your carpet, along with spilled ketchup or fruit punch, and even melted jelly beans.

Remove Crayon Marks All Over the House

Your child is spirited, imaginative and loves to draw – and you love that about them. You just wish they wouldn’t use their crayons on the walls… or the refrigerator door... or the furniture... or your shoes. Luckily, there’s a simple fix, thanks to WD-40.

holding crayons
Photo Courtesy: Kristin Brown/Unsplash

You can admire their talent, but you’ve got to get rid of the drawings eventually. Find that can of WD-40 and spray directly onto the crayon markings. After a few seconds, wipe it down with a clean rag or paper towel, then give it a once-over with a damp cloth. This works for marker stains, too.

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Keep Small Animals Out of the Garden

If you put a lot of time and energy into your garden, you don’t want to leave those plants vulnerable to neighborhood cats, rabbits or other intruders. It turns out, many animals don’t like the smell of WD-40, so you can spray some around your flower beds and it should keep them away.

cat walking on fence
Photo Courtesy: Kristin Brown/Unsplash

For your own safety, you don’t want to spray WD-40 too close to vegetables. But if your garden is enclosed in a wire fence, you can leave some WD-40 along the outside perimeter. Don’t use it to keep squirrels away from a bird feeder, though. It’ll also drive away the birds and you don’t want that. (But keep it in mind if pigeons start hanging out on your roof).

Clean Gardening Tools

It’s fairly common knowledge that WD-40 is a good way to keep your shovel clean all year long. Coat the surface of the blade and dirt or snow should slide right off. Well, the same principle applies to many of your other gardening tools, as well.

gardening tools
Photo Courtesy: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

A miracle substance, WD-40 will remove rust and crud from trowels and pitchforks, and it will also prevent new dirt from accumulating on the surface. You can even use it on the blades of your pruning shears – plus, if the hinge starts getting stuck, use a quick blast of WD-40 to loosen it up!

Keep Wind Chimes Clean

Once you hang a set of wind chimes off your porch, it becomes exposed to the elements and may eventually start to show rust. If you want wind chimes to keep looking as good as they sound, give them a periodic cleaning with WD-40.

wind chimes
Photo Courtesy: Robson Melo Bob/Pixabay

All you have to do is spray directly onto the chimes, and then wipe them down with a clean cloth. If the chimes are particularly rusty, let the WD-40 sit a while before wiping so it can work to separate the rust from the metal surface. This will also work on bells, too.

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Waterproof Boots and Sneakers

The WD in WD-40 stands for “water displacement.” That means when you spray it on a surface and leave it there, it will protect that surface from moisture by repelling water. One great way to take advantage of this property is to waterproof the outsides of boots and athletic shoes.

boots
Photo Courtesy: Alexas Fotos/Pixabay

Obviously, this isn’t going to keep your feet dry if you fall into a river or have to walk across a flooded street. But it will protect your footwear from much of the normal wear and tear associated with rain and snow. Just spray the entire exterior surface of your shoe and rub the WD-40 in well.

Clean the Hose and Sprinklers

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like WD-40 would be of much use to a rubber garden hose. But remember that hose has metal components at both ends – WD-40 can keep those metal parts corrosion-free. Also, if the hose is connected too tightly to the faucet, a quick squirt should help you get it loose enough to twist off.

dog biting hose
Photo Courtesy: Sevenpixx/Pixabay

You can also use WD-40 to clean sprinkler heads. If your local reservoir contains hard water, cleaning the surface of the sprinkler with WD-40 can help prevent calcium and other minerals from building up. Finally, if you really want to keep your garden hose clean, you can always spray WD-40 on tough mud or tar stains and then wipe the hose clean.

Pull Stuck LEGO Bricks Apart

Have you ever had a child come up to you with a cluster of LEGO bricks and ask you to pull them apart, only to hurt your fingers in a vain attempt to pry them loose? You can spare yourself future pain by keeping a can of WD-40 handy.

LEGO pieces
Photo Courtesy: Iker Urteaga/Unsplash

This works similar to the use WD-40 to pull apart stacked glasses. Just spray along the seam where the two LEGO bricks lock together; if you have the smart straw nozzle, this is an excellent time to use it. The penetrating oils will seep in and help push the bricks apart – after which, your grateful child can run off to put them back together with other bricks. And you’ll already be prepared for the next request.

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Keep Weather Vanes in Top Shape

If you live out in the burbs, or even further, you may have a weather vane on the roof of your house, so a can of WD-40 might just come in handy someday. (As long as you don’t have a problem going up on your roof).

rooster weather vane
Photo Courtesy: M W/Pixabay

If your vane is made of metal and you want to keep it free of rust and corrosion, you can use WD-40 for that. But you can also use it to deal with a vane that’s starting to move sluggishly or that squeaks too loudly as the wind pushes it around. Spray the pivot point with WD-40, and it should quickly be back in working order.

Clean Windows and Windowsills

It’s easy to keep your windows clean on the inside, but the wind and elements can do a real number on the exterior. If you find yourself struggling to see through the streaks of dirt on your windows and are out of regular window cleaner, a can of WD-40 can work wonders.

cleaning window
Photo Courtesy: iStock

Spray some WD-40 onto the window pane, then wipe it with a damp cloth or paper towel. You can also use it to remove grime and stains from your window sills. You should try to wipe away all the WD-40 along with the dirt – but if you spray the outside of your windows just before a snow storm, the WD-40 can help prevent snow from sticking to the panes.

Keep the Lawnmower Running Smoothly

If you’ve been paying attention, you know by now that WD-40 can help prevent rust from forming on metal surfaces, and it can remove rust that’s already formed. That could be useful when it comes to your lawnmower blades, but it’s not the only way WD-40 can help your mower.

mowing the lawn
Photo Courtesy: Pexels/Pixabay

If you can’t get your mower started (no matter how hard you pull on the starter cord), spray some WD-40 at the spot where the cord meets the mower’s outer carriage. That should do the trick, but other experts also recommend turning the mower over (carefully) and spraying a little WD-40 on its carburetor or spark plugs, as well.

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Unjam Eyeglasses

If you wear eyeglasses, you know just how often you have to open the temples – the parts you hook over your ears – and then close them up again when it’s time to put your glasses away. Sometimes, with all that back-and-forth they can get stuck. Simply spritz a bit of WD-40 on the hinges for better action.

looking at eyeglasses
Photo Courtesy: David Travis/Unsplash

If you have a can with the “smart straw” nozzle, you can do this with some precision. Voila! Your glasses should be good to go again. If you have wire frames, you can also spray some WD-40 on a clean cloth then wipe the frames clean. Just be careful not to get any on the lenses.

Get Your Hand Out of a Pipe

Believe it or not, this can happen to anybody. You’ve decided to do a simple repair job on your own plumbing and don’t quite realize how small the pipe is, so you reach in to clear an obstruction. But before you know it, your hand is stuck inside and you can’t get it out.

under the sink with pipes
Photo Courtesy: TWPinc.com/Flickr

Remember how to use WD-40 to get a stuck ring off your finger? The same principle applies here. Keep a can within reach of your free arm and use it to spray around your wrist, and wiggle around a bit so the lubricants can get between the rim of the pipe and your skin. It might take a moment or two, but you should be able to slide your hand out eventually.

Clean Dirty Power Cords

Once you’ve installed your home entertainment system, you might forget about the cords between the cabinet and the wall. If you don’t unplug everything and wipe it down regularly, they’re going to get covered in dust, muck and other gross stuff. And then one day, you’ll have to get in there and take everything apart.

power cords
Photo Courtesy: Cryptocurrency360.com/Flickr

You don’t want to wash power cords with water, but you do want to get them clean before you even think about touching them with your bare hands. Spray some WD-40 onto a dry cloth and wipe those cords down from one end to the other. Afterward, give them another wipe down to remove any excess oil. That wasn’t so bad, was it?

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Clean Acoustic Guitar Strings

That guitar has been in the back of a closet or the corner of the basement for months, and now it’s covered in dust and grime. Perhaps you haven’t always been careful to wash your hands before picking it up to practice. Regardless, the strings are looking a little grungy and you want to clean them up.

playing the guitar
Photo Courtesy: Pexels/Pixabay

You don’t want to spray WD-40 directly onto the strings because it could get on the guitar’s body, as well. Instead, you need to put a little bit of WD-40 onto a clean, dry cloth and then carefully wipe the strings from one end to the other. Don’t forget to wipe away the excess oil to keep new dirt from getting stuck to the strings.

Break in a New Baseball Glove

If you want to soften the leather on a new baseball glove, you could have someone throw a ball to you over and over again, but you probably don’t have enough time. And maybe you don’t feel like getting a special conditioning oil just for one glove. Luckily, WD-40 can provide an easy alternative.

baseball in a baseball glove
Photo Courtesy: Lenora Cagle/Pixabay

Spray a light coat of WD-40 on the inside of your new glove. Put a baseball right in the center and then fold the sides of the glove around the ball. Keep the glove closed with rubber bands or a belt and let it sit overnight. You’ll be ready to play ball by the following morning.

Pull Stacked Drinking Glasses Apart

Stacking drinking glasses inside one another is a convenient way to fit a lot of glassware into one cabinet. But sometimes they fit together so snugly that it can be hard to pull them apart. And you don’t want to yank too hard and then accidentally drop one or knock the whole stack over.

stacked drinking glasses
Photo Courtesy: congerdesign/Pixabay

Spray some WD-40 along the rim of the bottom glass in the stack. Once it gets between the two glasses, the lubricating oil should help create enough friction to pop the glasses apart. Just remember to wash both the glasses with soap and water thoroughly before using them. WD-40’s great for a lot of things, but you don’t necessarily want to taste it in your drink.

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Keep Rust Off License Plates

You need to keep your license plate in good condition, but sometimes inclement weather can make that difficult. Unless, that is, you’ve got a can of WD-40. If you’ve noticed some rust on your plates already, give them a once-over with the WD-40, let it sit for a minute or two, then wipe them clean.

license plates
Photo Courtesy: Semen Borisov/Unsplash

The rust should come right off, along with any other grime you’ve picked up out on the road. You can also use WD-40 to keep rust from forming on your plates in the first place. Remember: WD-40 displaces water, so if moisture can’t settle on your plates, they’ll be less likely to rust.

Keep Car Engines Clean

WD-40’s water displacement properties will also come in handy when it comes to maintaining your vehicle’s engine. You can use it to keep moisture away from spark plugs and distributors. It also comes in handy during humid weather when moisture might settle around the spark plugs.

cleaning car engine
Photo Courtesy: Ryan Doka/Pixabay

Of course, WD-40 is also a powerful cleaning agent. If your engine parts end up covered in grease or dirt, you can always spray WD-40 on the surface and then wipe it clean. (This works if you’re trying to get dried mud stains off the car’s exterior, too).

Clear Oil Stains from the Driveway or Garage Floor

When you’re doing your own auto repairs, there’s a good chance you’ll end up spilling some oil on the garage floor or on the driveway. It can leave an ugly stain behind, but you don’t have to worry – there’s something that can take care of that.

hosing down a driveway
Photo Courtesy: iStock

Don’t be stingy as you spray the WD-40 over the stain. Make sure you’ve got the whole thing covered. Let it sit for a half hour or so, then hose it down with as much pressure as you can get from the nozzle. (If you don’t have a hose, douse the stain with a bucket of water and push the mess out to the driveway with a firm brush.)

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Get Filthy Hands Clean

A hard day’s work can leave your hands covered in oil, grease or grime, and you might worry that soap and water just won’t cut it. Honestly, you may not be sure you should even touch the soap or faucet with those dirty hands. But if you’ve got a can of WD-40, you won’t have to worry.

filthy hands
Photo Courtesy: StockSnap/Pixabay

Spray a little bit of WD-40 into each palm, then rub your hands together, making sure you spread the penetrating oils all over. That should loosen things up enough that it’ll flow right off when you apply a strong dose of soap and hot water.

Loosen a Stuck Drawer

Have you ever needed a set of documents for a big meeting, only to go to the filing cabinet to discover you can’t get the drawer open far enough to reach them? You don’t want to yank the drawer too hard – that could derail it completely.

opening a drawer
Photo Courtesy: iStock

Get a can of WD-40 and spray a small amount all along the side runners. That should loosen up the drawer enough so it will open and close properly once again. (This also works on desk drawers as well).

Make Your Golf Clubs Shine

You always want to look your best out on the golf course, and that means you want your equipment to look its best, too. A quick blast of WD-40 is sure to keep rust off your club heads. Spray some onto a clean, dry cloth then use that to wipe down the shafts.

people holding
Photo Courtesy: iStock

You can also use WD-40 when you’re putting new grip tape on your clubs. After you’ve stripped off the old tape, a little WD-40 will help remove any sticky residue remaining on the club’s shaft. (Plus, if you’re dedicated enough to play in the rain, spray some WD-40 on the outside of your golf bag. It’ll keep the water from soaking in.)

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Scrape Barnacles Off a Hull

If you live near the coast and own a boat, you may have noticed some crustaceans attached to the bottom of your hull. Those are barnacles — if enough of them get stuck to your boat, it can slow you down and affect fuel efficiency.

scraping barnacles off bottom of a boat
Photo Courtesy: Petty Officer 3rd Class Wyatt Huggett/U.S. Navy

To scrape barnacles off, you’ll probably need to bring the boat out of the water to expose the hull. Spray them with WD-40 to loosen the bond they’ve formed with your hull, then scrape them off with a putty knife. Repeat as often as necessary.

Clean Plastic Patio Furniture

Do you keep plastic furniture out on your patio or in your backyard? Those chairs and tables are as vulnerable to spilled coffee, wine or juice stains as countertops in your kitchen. Plus, you also have to watch out for dirt and mud. (Or, as we saw earlier inside the house, enthusiastic kids with crayons.)

family eating and drinking around table
Photo Courtesy: iStock

WD-40 will clean those plastic surfaces as easily as the others. Just spray some on the dirty area, then wipe it down with a clean rag or paper towel. Your patio furniture will look as good as new in no time.

Prevent Ice Skate Blades from Rusting

Ice skaters are supposed to wipe the blades of their skates down whenever they come off the ice, drying them thoroughly to prevent rust from forming. If you’ve got a can of WD-40 in your equipment bag, you can take an additional step that will help keep your skates in top condition.

rusty ice skates
Photo Courtesy: Terry Matthews/Unsplash

When the blades are completely dry, apply a small amount of WD-40 along the surfaces, then put soakers – soft covers, like towels – over the blades. The soakers will keep out moisture and the WD-40 will be able to deal with the rest. Your blades should be in good shape when you bring them out of storage, whether that’s a few days later or not until next winter.

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Keep Mud Off Athletic Cleats

If you play outdoor sports like baseball, football or soccer, you’re used to dealing with cleats. And if you’ve ever had to play on a muddy field, you’ve dealt with all the mud and gunk that gets on those cleats during the game. Here’s something you can do before you even leave the locker room that will make things easier.

playing soccer in the mud
Photo Courtesy: Mircea Ploscar/Pixabay

Spray your cleats with WD-40 before taking the field. As you’re running through the mud, the WD-40 forms a protective coat on the surface of your cleats, keeping much of the mud and dirt from sticking around. They won’t be spotless when the final whistle blows, but they’ll be a lot easier to clean this time.

Make Your Bathroom Sparkle

If your local water supply has a high mineral content, your bathtub or toilet bowl may be plagued by unsightly streaks and stains. Luckily, a couple shots of WD-40 can loosen up that grime. Spray WD-40 along the inner rim of your toilet, wait a few seconds, then give the bowl a once-over with a toilet brush and flush to rinse.

drying off in a clean bathroom
Photo Courtesy: iStock

To apply WD-40 to the stains in your tub, just spray, wait a bit, wipe it down, then rinse. As long as you’re there, another squirt of WD-40 can clean the tiles on your bathroom wall, or get rid of ugly stains on your shower curtain. (If you’ve got a sliding door on your shower, it can clear out any grime along the bottom track, too.)