Unique Uses for WD-40

Woman spraying WD-40 on shoe

The Spruce / Candace Madonna

WD-40 is applauded for its ability to fix everything from the creakiest doors to the rustiest bike chains. And while you may consider this household product important for the gritty things like metal mechanisms, it has quite a few other unique uses that’ll surprise you.

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What Is WD-40?

You might be curious what WD-40 actually is. We were, too! The name stands for water displacement 40. Forty being the number of tries it took to get the formula exactly right. We know that WD-40 is a special blend of lubricants that contains anti-corrosion agents and ingredients for penetration, water displacement, and soil removal. Most commonly, it’s used for loosening up corroded, rusted, or conjoined items. While a few sources say they know the components of the chemical formula, the company behind WD-40 actually won’t share the exact secret sauce of everything that’s in it and claims that anyone who says they know it, actually hasn’t cracked the code.

Removing Gum From a Shoe

The only thing nastier than stepping on a chewed up piece of gum is trying to remove it. While you could try to scrape it with gloved fingers or melt it under hot water, WD-40 makes the job painless.

Materials

  • WD-40
  • Dull butter knife
  • Paper towels
  1. Prep Your Space

    Cover your workspace with a plastic trash bag or newspaper. Keep paper towels handy to catch any drips.

  2. Apply WD-40

    Spray WD-40 directly onto the wad of gum and let it soak for 30 seconds or so. Allowing the WD-40 to saturate the gum will make less work for you.

    Spraying gum with WD-40
    The Spruce / Candace Madonna
  3. Scrape Gum

    Take your dull butter knife and begin scraping the gum away off the shoe. Scape in a direction away from yourself and wipe off the gum residue onto a paper towel as you go. It should begin to peel off.

    Gum scraped off shoe
    The Spruce / Candace Madonna
  4. Reapply and Rinse

If you still have some gum left, just spray a little more WD-40 and let it set for a few minutes. Then go back in with your knife for round two. Once all the gum is off, wash the sole of your shoe with a little soap and water and let it dry. Your shoes are now nice and gum-free!

Erasing Permanent Marker Off of a White Board

Mistakes happen! While permanent marker sounds like it’s...well, permanent, don’t fret—WD-40 will get it right off. You'll be shocked at how easy it is to remove the evidence of the incident.

Materials

  • WD-40
  • Paper towels
  1. Prep Your Space

    Lay out a plastic garbage bag or cover your surface with newspaper. This isn't too messy of a job if you keep the WD-40 on the white board. But better be safe than sorry!

  2. Spray WD-40 on the Marks

    Take your can and spray directly onto the affected area. While you can begin scrubbing it off right away, if you let it set for 30 or so seconds, it’ll come off in nearly one wipe.

    Spraying white board with WD-40
    The Spruce / Candace Madonna
  3. Wipe Away the WD-40

    Once you start seeing the edges of the permanent marker bleed, grab a paper towel and begin wiping down the board. If there are any leftover spots, rub in small circles until it’s completely gone. If it's still not coming off, apply a little more WD-40 and begin again.

    Wiping WD-40 off whiteboard
    The Spruce / Candace Madonna
  4. Rinse

Give your board a quick rinse with warm soapy water and be sure to dry it quickly after. You're good to start writing again! It's like nothing even happened.

Untangling Knotted Jewelry

While WD-40 won’t magically untangle your jewelry for you, it turns a task that could take hours into one that takes 10 minutes. Here’s how to do it.

Cover a countertop with newspaper to protect your surface from the solution. Then spray a generous amount of the WD-40 directly onto your jewelry. Massage the WD-40 onto the chains and knots and let it sit for a few seconds. Then begin untangling. You’ll notice that knots will start undoing themselves and chains will easily slip in and out of each other. Before you know it, you’ll have your jewelry back in a wearable state. Just be sure to give your pieces a thorough wash with hot soapy water to get the lubricant off.

Woman holding tangled jewelry
The Spruce / Candace Madonna

Unsticking Jammed Cups

Don’t risk shattered glass and a trip to the ER. Your trusty bottle of WD-40 can unstick those cups you’ve been avoiding in the back of your cupboard. Start by covering your surface with newspaper. Next, take your WD-40 and place the long straw attachment in the crevice where the two cups are conjoined and spray. Gently start twisting them back and forth. If they’re not budging, spritz a few more sprays and repeat the twisting. In a matter of seconds, the glasses should come apart. Be sure to clean thoroughly with soap and hot water to remove the lubricant

Woman's hands unsticking jammed cups
The Spruce / Candace Madonna