SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
I got one of those informational e-mails recently, this one extolling the virtue of a certain famous product. According to the e-mail (and aren’t they always trustworthy?) the product was developed in 1953 as something to stop rust and remove grease from missile parts. After all, you don’t want your rusty rockets to, say, miss Tehran and hit Toronto.
On their fortieth try, the technicians managed to perfect what they called their “Water displacement” compound – thus, WD-40. Well, that’s just neat.
The amazing thing is that, apparently, WD-40 can do anything. In fact, there’s supposed to be nothing in there that can harm a human, which I suppose means you could use it to grease pans before cooking dinner. Surely someone, somewhere, has tried it. Because I find this interesting, and because WD-40 has done nothing to move back my column deadline, let’s look at some other things the product can do:
A man who was victimized by vandals found he could use WD-40 to remove red spray paint that he found covering the side of his truck, without damaging the finish. Personally, I’ve found a .44 Magnum can accomplish the same thing, if you use it early enough.
It can clean spotty shower doors, either plastic or glass. Apparently people clean those. I’ll get right on it.
It protects silver from tarnishing, for those of you who have silver. I haven’t tried it on my forks and spoons, which look suspiciously plastic.
It cleans and lubricates guitar strings. I’m guessing it will help prevent that annoying squeak that comes out when the guitarist is changing chords. Use too much, and it sounds like air guitar.
It gives floors a “just waxed” sheen without making them slippery. What’s the fun of that? Who hasn’t slid across the floor in their socks? Unless the floor’s carpeted, which both takes the fun out of sliding and doesn’t soak up the WD-40 nearly as well.
It also removes black scuff marks from the floor, often left by those brain surgeons who forget they need to take their shoes off before sliding.
It keeps flies off cows. How the cows manage to operate the spray cans, I don’t know.
It removes lipstick stains. And you gals thought your husbands only kept a can around for squeaky door hinges.
It quiets squeaky door hinges, so the guys can get in and get rid of their lipstick stains before anyone notices. It’s always good to have a backup plan.
It loosens stubborn zippers. Just for the record, the fact that this one comes right after the lipstick stain and the door hinge is pure coincidence.
It keeps scissors working smoothly. So be careful to keep those door hinges oiled up, guys – just in case she’s got the scissors.
It removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
Um … I thought stainless steel sinks were … stainless?
Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill. Then you can spray it on the food, of course.
Removes dead bugs from a car finish; and from a barbecue grill, I presume. Doesn’t seem to bother the bugs at all.
Makes a playground slide go faster. Use enough, and the kids can get from slide to swing without ever touching the ground.
Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans. I’ve been wondering if WD-40 conducts electricity – apparently not. I’ll let someone else confirm that.
Keeps rust from forming on tools. Tools – I used to know what tools were, but the hospital staff took them away from me.
Lubricates prosthetic limbs. Which, in a way, is related to why the hospital staff won’t let me use tools.
Keeps bathroom mirrors from fogging. Right – like I want to see myself naked.
Removes all traces of duct tape. Then how am I supposed to fix things?
Some people swear that using it relieves arthritis pain. I’m assuming this means spraying it on them, rather than, um, into them.
It’s supposedly used to protect the Statue of Liberty from the elements, although I thought that was what the big flowing robes were for.
Used on bait, it supposedly attracts fish. So you can use WD-40 to catch the fish, fry them up, and clean the stove afterward.
It’s supposed to take the sting away from fire ant bites, although it seems to me avoiding fire ants would be a better option.
Here’s one that I’ll quote directly from the e-mail: “If you’ve discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and re-wash. Presto! Lipstick is gone!”
I have a couple of problems with this one, all stemming from the question of how do you know your teenage daughter left the lipstick in there? These days it could just as easily be your son. And if it was left there by your husband, he’s likely going to blame your daughter anyone, so cut her some slack.
Supposedly WD-40 can take the burned feeling away from minor burns, and heals with no scarring. Let’s not forget, however, that running cool water over the burn is your best bet for stopping the destruction of tissue, and it’s important to watch for infection –
Hey. When did I become an adult?
So, what’s the basic ingredient of WD-40? I thought you’d never ask: Fish oil.
Which makes one wonder how many of these uses are a little fishy.