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The Lighter Side
September 18, 2006

If theres one thing thats a must-have staple on every farm in America, its WD-40, the ubiquitous problem solver with the familiar bright blue and yellow cans stocked in farm shops, pickups, tractors, and everywhere in between.

WD-40 literally stands for Water Displacement, 40th attempt. Thats the name straight out of the lab book used by the chemist who developed WD-40 back in 1953, according to the WD-40 Company. The chemist, Norm Larsen, was attempting to concoct a formula to prevent corrosion  a task which is done by displacing water. Norms persistence paid off when he perfected the formula on his 40th try.

The product has remained the same since its inception, although the can is improved these days, with the availability of Big Blast Cans, No-Mess Pens, and Smart Straws to keep those little red spray straws from leaking or getting lost.

You can find a host of info and trivia about the product online,  There, you can join the WD-40 Fan Club, play the WD-40 Spray Game, download WD-40 screen savers, and learn about its many uses.

About the only thing they dont tell you on the WD-40 web site is what the stuff is made of. Supposedly, fish oil is the key ingredient, but dont expect the WD-40 folks to ever reveal their secret ingredient, just like you wont see the Colonels list of 11 secret herbs and spices printed on the buckets of KFC chicken any time soon.

Spraying a bit of it on live bait is said to be an attractant for catching some types of fish (using chemical laced baits or lures for fishing isnt allowed in some states, however, so if you get pulled over by DNR, youre on your own for excuses).

The company issues the disclaimer that the suggested uses submitted by product fans have not been tested by WD-40 Company, and consumers should exercise common sense whenever using WD-40.  So not the best choice as a pan coating for frying eggs. However, feel free to consider any of the other following uses submitted by fans, a number of which youve likely never thought of before.

*Protects silver from tarnishing.

*Removes insects from front grill

*Removes grease from clothing

*Prevents corrosion of spark plug cables

*Removes sludge from outside engine block

*Unsticks car door during cold weather

*Lubricates oil filter gasket

*Lubricates socket wrench

*Displaces moisture from spark plug wires

*Prevents oxidation on battery connections

*Prevents noise on car window tracks

*Helps free stuck battery cables from terminals

*Stops belt noise on automobiles

*Removes squeak from brake pedal

*Removes paint rub from another vehicle

*Reconditions brass tips on crop field sprayer nozzles

*Cleans hydraulic tips on quick connectors on tractors

*Cleans gunk and compressor oil off pistons in solenoids

*Improves cutting time for drill bits

*Lubricates barn door locks and barn door runners

*Cleans welding dust

*Spray chalk lines drawn on asphalt to keep them from washing away in the rain

*Drives gunk from bearings seized by fertilizer

*Lubricates jack gears

*Removes duct tape residue

*Lubricates dolly wheels

*Loosens drive chains on hay balers

*Cleans and lubricates the trigger of gas pumps

*Lubricates tractor throttle cables

*Spray on hole diggers to make dirt slide off easier

*Softens and dissolves dried manure from work boots

*Protects rubber seals on lawn and garden sprayers

*Cleans rusty saws

*Cleans spray paint nozzles

*Lubricates garage door rollers

*Frees sticky snow blower throttle cable

*Prevents calcium buildup on sprinkler heads

*Lubricates joints of folding sawhorses

*Spray on bottom of garage door to keep it from sticking to concrete during winter

*Spray lightly over stagnant water to keep mosquito eggs from hatching

*Spray on balcony to keep pigeons away (they hate the smell)

*Keeps flies off cows

*Loosens stubborn zippers

*Lubricates gear shift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers

*Some even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain

*Prevents drought and keeps crop prices from falling  OK, that last one I made up.  WD-40 is good, but not that good. 


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Northarvest Bean Growers Association | 50072 East Lake Seven Road | Frazee, MN 56544
Ph: 218-334-6351 | Fax: 218-334-6360 | Email: