WD-40, Interesting Facts – it even helps catch fish

1964wd40 For the full list of 2000 uses, go here

I thought that you might like to know more about this well-known WD-40 product.

When you read the “shower door” part, try it. It’s the first thing that has cleaned that spotty shower door. If yours is plastic, it works just as well as glass. It’s a miracle.

Then try it on your stovetop, it’s now shinier than it’s ever been.

The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and de-greaser to protect missile parts. WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. Its name comes from the project that was to find a “Water Displacement” compound. They were successful with the Fortieth formulation, thus WD-40.

The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their Atlas missile parts. The workers were so pleased with the product they began smuggling (also known as “shrinkage” or “stealing”) it out to use at home. The executives decided there might be a consumer market for it and put it in aerosol cans. The rest is hist-ory. Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

Here are a few of the 1000s of uses:

~Protects silver from tarnishing.
~Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
~Gets oil spots off concrete driveways.
~Gives floors that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making ! them slippery.
~Keeps flies off cows.
~Restores and cleans chalkboards.
~Removes lipstick stains.
~Loosens stubborn zippers.
~Untangles jewelry chains.
~Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
~Removes dirt and grime from the bar-becue grill.
~Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
~Removes tomato stains from clothing.
~Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
~Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
~Keeps scissors wo! rking smoothly.
~Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes.
~Gives a children’s play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
~Lubricates gear shift and mower-deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers.
~Rids rocking chairs and swing! s of squeaky noises.
~Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
~Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
~Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards and vinyl bumpers.
~Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
~Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
~Lubricates wheel sprockets on tri-cycles, wagons and bicycles for easy handling.
~Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
~Keeps rust from forming on saws an! d saw blades, and other tools.
~Removes splattered grease on stove.
~Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
~Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
~Keeps pigeons off the balcony. (they hate the smell)
~Removes all traces of duct tape.
~I have even heard of folks spraying it on their arms, hands, and knees to re-lieve arthritis pain.
~Florida’s favorite use was “cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers”.
~WD-40 protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
~WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a LITTLE on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. It’s a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
~Keeps chiggers away from the kids.
~Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately, and stops the itch.
~WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.
~Also, 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. Lipstick is gone.
~If you sprayed WD-40 on the distributor cap, it would displace the moisture and allow the car to start. (If I knew what a distributor cap was, it might help.)
~WD-40, long known for its ability to remove leftover tape smunges (sticky label tape), is also a lovely perfume and air freshener! Sprayed liberally on every hinge in the house, it leaves that dis-tinctive clean fresh scent for up to two days!
~Seriously though, it removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor. Use WD-40 for those nasty tar and scuff marks on flooring. It doesn’t seem to harm the finish, and you won’t have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off . Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
~Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly. WD-40 will remove them.


10 more just came out, some are similar:


10 Surprising Uses for WD-40 (and 5 Places It Should Never Be Sprayed)

Brett Martin

Everybody knows WD-40 is the go-to product for silencing squeaks, displacing moisture, preventing rust, and loosening stuck parts. You probably have a can sitting in your garage right now. It has a ton of uses, but it’s no panacea. In fact, there are a some jobs that the lube will absolutely ruin.

Your house is the biggest gadget of all. A Gizmodo Home Mod shows you how to recharge it, clear its cache, and update its operating systems.

Use WD-40 To:

1. Lube a shovel. Spray WD-40 on a shovel, spading fork, hoe or garden trowel. The soil slides right off—especially helpful when digging in clay.

2. Clean tile. The spray removes spilled mascara, nail polish, paint and scuff marks from tile floors, and also help you wipe away grime from the grout lines. Clean up with soapy water.

3. Scrub stains from stainless steel sinks.

4. Unstick gum. A squirt makes it easier to pull gum out of carpet and even hair. It’s better than cutting out the gum and leaving patchy carpet or a bad haircut.

5. Soften leather. Oil can help break in a stiff leather tool belt.

6. Free stuck LEGOs. Your kids will thank you.

7. Erase crayon. When crayon ends up on toys, flooring, furniture, painted walls, wallpaper, windows, doors, and television screens. Spray on WD-40 and wipe it off.

8. Prevent flowerpots from sticking when stacked together.

9. Get rid of rust. Spray and rub away rust from circular saw and hacksaw blades. It can also clean blades of tar and other gunk.

10. Remove goo. Unstick gooey residue from price tags, duct tape, and stickers.



This story actually began with the unplanned running aground of the Mercedes I in Palm Beach.  It desecrated the private holy grounds of the hoity toity for over a hundred days in late 1984.   They eventually towed it away and made an artificial reef making almost everyone happy.

About the same time IBM introduced the PC-AT, billed as the most powerful personal computer ever built.  It had one problem though as internally sat a 20 MB disk drive made by CMI.  It was based on stepper motor technology and it both failed at alarming rates and was as slow as cold honey.  It was that flaw which helped give birth to the drive aftermarket in the PC industry and caused one of the biggest black eye’s to the PC’s reputation.


A small storage company in Boca Raton – the home of the IBM PC saw the obvious problem and created a marketing campaign which recalled the IBM drive.  It then sold you a 40 MB drive made by Control Data Corporation and rebadged as CORE product for $2,595, gave you a $1000 rebate and ran an ad claiming it was going to build an artificial reef out of the CMI drives (you can buy gigabytes now for less that $100).  CORE was making over 100% profit so the perception of value is greater than reality.  The users still paid one of the highest cost per byte of storage possible.

Here is  a portion of the ad which created a sensation in the print media, as both IBM and the PC had been infallible up to this point.


At this point Paul Sommerson, Bill Machrone, Bill Howard and other writers contacted CORE and asked for pictures of the reef being built.  The company owner confided in me that he had a contract to send the drives back to CMI for a rebate  and to not lose too many, we staged the entire event.  We took his boat, the MEGABYTE out of Jupiter (not Boca) and made it look like we were really dumping the drives into the water.  I’m sure the Nanny state EPA would have been all over us had we really done it, but the rest of the story is that we only dumped the drives in the picture (note the false bottom).  We tried hard to drop a drive on a string while posing with the box in the picture, but that was produced lame results.  I finally convinced him that we needed to actually throw some drives overboard and that one shot is now etched into PC history.  It was the last picture on the roll of film (if you remember film).  We tried fishing for sharks after the shoot to put a drive in one of their mouths for the table of contents.  We had one on, but it bit through the line and we ran out of time.

The film was immediately Fed-ex’d to NY as they were on deadline for what is known as the Fire Ax issue.  The title was “Is Your PC Safe”, but there was a fire ax coming down on a PC-AT and the picture was in both the table of contents and the article.

It should be noted that neither CORE nor PC Magazine was trying to attack IBM products.  The owner at CORE was excellent at marketing and had big balls to do this stunt.  It paid off handsomely both in dollars and visibility.  PC Magazine was at the height of their prowess as journalistic leader of the PC industry.  Kudos should be given to Bill Machrone for approving a story that would never have a chance at seeing the light of day in this day and age.  He was a visionary at the publication.  IBM did themselves in by releasing a defective product and not being nimble enough to deal with the issues.

Both parties were able to take advantage of the arrogance (some say ignorance) on IBM’s part for not ensuring quality control of their product and suppliers.  Further, the moribund IBM PR machine, having used their death grip to the throat of PC journalism to direct results they wanted (because they were the 800 lb. elephant in the room) didn’t know that the journalists were ripe for this.  They never saw this coming and were ill-equipped to deal with it.  The result was that both the reputation of the PC and IBM PR was tarnished.


As I mentioned earlier, the boom of peripherals was starting and this poured gasoline on that fire.  CMI went out of business after losing their contract with IBM and CORE shipped hundreds of drives while becoming famous.

I personally conducted many interviews discussing drive technology and the stunt (if I recall, the story became far better than the actual event) and the owner had to move his boat.  He had rented a slip from an IBM’er in Boca, but due to the kerfuffle he was asked to find another docking space.

IBM had a PR nightmare on its hands now.  I’m told that Lou Gerstner’s personal speech writer was called in to clean up the mess.  CORE (meaning me as I handled all of PR by this point) got years of mileage from this event.  I developed relationships with the leaders in PC journalism as they were happy to have a person to talk to rather than an army of IBM suits that outdid the White House press corps in obfuscation. We even took a drive to trade shows and put it into a fish tank with fish.  Everyone in the industry knew about it and we even had hats made up saying things like:

My drive won’t stay up, I built the PC that IBM didn’t, My Drive is bigger than your drive and others.

We gave away thousands.  In fact I think we invented the show hat give away in the mid 80’s (one time while leaving the show, we saw a drunk bum outside a convention center at with a CORE hat on).

The owner made show participants suffer through a sales pitch they didn’t care about, but the rest of us just gave them away.


It is funny to me that I was hired by IBM to do PR for them 14 years later, and even did a stint in the PC division.  I wonder if they had known it was me that helped cause one of the great PR nightmares for them, would I have gotten the job?

IBM had dropped to 6th place in PC’s by then and the PC PR department was led by two nincompoops when I got there (Mike Corrado and Ray Gorman).  I always chuckled when the story came up at IBM and enjoyed the looks on their faces as they found out my part in this event.  I was never involved with anything this creative while doing PR at IBM (see the moribund part), although I used some tactics from this event to be successful, so long as I didn’t tell IBM communications “leaders” about it until after the fact.

Scientific Jokes or Jokes by Those In Science

Scientists tell us their favourite jokes: ‘An electron and a positron walked into a bar…’

Science is a very serious business, so what tickles a rational mind? In a not very scientific experiment, we asked a sample of great minds for their favourite jokes


Statisticians: not totally reliable.


■ Two theoretical physicists are lost at the top of a mountain. Theoretical physicist No 1 pulls out a map and peruses it for a while. Then he turns to theoretical physicist No 2 and says: “Hey, I’ve figured it out. I know where we are.”
“Where are we then?”
“Do you see that mountain over there?”
“Well… THAT’S where we are.”

I heard this joke at a physics conference in Les Arcs (I was at the top of a mountain skiing at the time, so it was quite apt). It was explained to me that it was first told by a Nobel prize-winning experimental physicist by way of indicating how out-of-touch with the real world theoretical physicists can sometimes be.
Jeff Forshaw, professor of physics and astronomy, University of Manchester

■ An electron and a positron go into a bar.
Positron: “You’re round.”
Electron: “Are you sure?”
Positron: “I’m positive.”
I think I heard this on Radio 4 after the publication of a record (small) measurement of the electron electric dipole moment – often explained as the roundness of the electron – by Jony Hudson et al in Nature 2011.
Joanna Haigh, professor of atmospheric physics, Imperial College, London

■ A group of wealthy investors wanted to be able to predict the outcome of a horse race. So they hired a group of biologists, a group of statisticians, and a group of physicists. Each group was given a year to research the issue. After one year, the groups all reported to the investors. The biologists said that they could genetically engineer an unbeatable racehorse, but it would take 200 years and $100bn. The statisticians reported next. They said that they could predict the outcome of any race, at a cost of $100m per race, and they would only be right 10% of the time. Finally, the physicists reported that they could also predict the outcome of any race, and that their process was cheap and simple. The investors listened eagerly to this proposal. The head physicist reported, “We have made several simplifying assumptions: first, let each horse be a perfect rolling sphere… ”

This is really the joke form of “all models are wrong, some models are useful” and also sums up the sort of physics confidence that they can solve problems (ie, by making the model solvable).
Ewan Birney, associate director, European Bioinformatics Institute

■ What is a physicist’s favourite food? Fission chips.
Callum Roberts, professor in marine conservation, University of York

■ Why did Erwin Schrödinger, Paul Dirac and Wolfgang Pauli work in very small garages? Because they were quantum mechanics.
Lloyd Peck, professor, British Antarctic Survey

■ A friend who’s in liquor production,
Has a still of astounding construction,
The alcohol boils,
Through old magnet coils,
He says that it’s proof by induction.

I knew this limerick when I was at school. I’ve always loved comic poetry and I like the pun in it. And it is pretty geeky …
Helen Czerski, Institute of Sound and Vibration Research, Southampton



A blowfly: not to be laughed at (read below). Photograph: Alamy

■ What does DNA stand for? National Dyslexia Association.

I first read this joke when I was an undergraduate as a mature student in 1990. I’d just come to terms with my own severe reading difficulties and neurophysiology was full of acronyms, which I always got mixed up. For example, the first time I heard about Adenosine Triphosphate it was abbreviated by the lecturer to ATP, which I heard as 80p. I had no clue what she was talking about every time she mentioned 80p. And another thing, how does Adenosine Triphosphate reduce to ATP? Where’s the P?
Peter Lovatt, lecturer in psychology of dance, University of Hertfordshire

■ A new monk shows up at a monastery where the monks spend their time making copies of ancient books. The new monk goes to the basement of the monastery saying he wants to make copies of the originals rather than of others’ copies so as to avoid duplicating errors they might have made. Several hours later the monks, wondering where their new friend is, find him crying in the basement. They ask him what is wrong and he says “the word is CELEBRATE, not CELIBATE!”

I first heard this maybe more than 10 years ago in conjunction with the general theme of “copying errors” or mutations in biology.
Mark Pagel, professor of biological sciences, University of Reading

■ A blowfly goes into a bar and asks: “Is that stool taken?”  BLOWFLY JOKE HERE

No idea where I got this from!
Amoret Whitaker, entomologist, Natural History Museum

■ They have just found the gene for shyness. They would have found it earlier, but it was hiding behind two other genes.
Stuart Peirson, senior research scientist, Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology


Mathematics teaching, blackboard Mathematics: can it add up to a killer punchline?■ What does the ‘B’ in Benoit B Mandelbrot stand for? Benoit B Mandelbrot.

Mathematician Mandelbrot coined the word fractal – a form of geometric repetition.
Adam Rutherford, science writer and broadcaster

■ Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip? To get to the other… eh? Hang on…

The most recent time I saw this joke was in Simon Singh’s lovely book on maths in The Simpsons. I’ve heard it before though. I guess its origins are lost in the mists of time.
David Colquhoun, professor of pharmacology, University College London

■ A statistician is someone who tells you, when you’ve got your head in the fridge and your feet in the oven, that you’re – on average – very comfortable.

This is a joke I was told a long time ago, probably as a high school student in India, trying to come to terms with the baffling ways of statistics. What I like about it is how it alerts you to the limitations of reductionist thinking but also makes you aware that we are unlikely to fall into such traps, even if we are not experts in the field.
Sunetra Gupta, professor of theoretical epidemiology, Oxford

■ At a party for functions, ex is at the bar looking despondent. The barman says: “Why don’t you go and integrate?” To which ex replies: “It would not make any difference.”

Heard by my daughter in a student bar in Oxford.
Jean-Paul Vincent, head of developmental biology, National Institute for Medical Research

■ There are 10 kinds of people in this world, those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

I think this is just part of the cultural soup, so to speak. I don’t remember hearing it myself until the mid-90s, when computers started getting in the way of everyone’s lives!
Max Little, mathematician, Aston University

■ The floods had subsided, and Noah had safely landed his ark on Mount Sinai. “Go forth and multiply!” he told the animals, and so off they went two by two, and within a few weeks Noah heard the chatter of tiny monkeys, the snarl of tiny tigers and the stomp of baby elephants. Then he heard something he didn’t recognise… a loud, revving buzz coming from the woods. He went in to find out what strange animal’s offspring was making this noise, and discovered a pair of snakes wielding a chainsaw. “What on earth are you doing?” he cried. “You’re destroying the trees!” “Well Noah,” the snakes replied, “we tried to multiply as you bade us, but we’re adders… so we have to use logs.”
Alan Turnbull, National Physical Laboratory

■ A statistician gave birth to twins, but only had one of them baptised. She kept the other as a control.
David Spiegelhalter, professor of statistics, University of Cambridge


Student in a chemistry laboratory at Imperial College London

Chemistry seems to have produced some laughs at Imperial College London. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

■ A chemistry teacher is recruited as a radio operator in the first world war. He soon becomes familiar with the military habit of abbreviating everything. As his unit comes under sustained attack, he is asked to urgently inform his HQ. “NaCl over NaOH! NaCl over NaOH!” he says. “NaCl over NaOH?” shouts his officer. “What do you mean?” “The base is under a salt!” came the reply.

I think I heard this when I was a student in the early 1980s.
Hugh Montgomery, professor of intensive care medicine, University College London

■ Sodium sodium sodium sodium sodium sodium sodium sodium Batman!

This is my current favorite. It comes from my daughter, who is a 17-year-old A-level science student.
Tony Ryan, professor of physical chemistry, University of Sheffield

■ A weed scientist goes into a shop. He asks: “Hey, you got any of that inhibitor of 3-phosphoshikimate-carboxyvinyl transferase? Shopkeeper: “You mean Roundup?” Scientist: “Yeah, that’s it. I can never remember that dang name.”

Made up by and first told by me.
John A Pickett, scientific leader of chemical ecology, Rothamsted Research

■ A mosquito was heard to complain
That chemists had poisoned her brain.
The cause of her sorrow
Was para-dichloro-

I first read this limerick in a science magazine when I was at school. I taught it to my baby sister, then to my children, and to my students. It’s the only poem in their degree course.

Martyn Poliakoff, research professor of chemistry, University of Nottingham



Deluded? It depends on your point of view.

■ A psychoanalyst shows a patient an inkblot, and asks him what he sees. The patient says: “A man and woman making love.” The psychoanalyst shows him a second inkblot, and the patient says: “That’s also a man and woman making love.” The psychoanalyst says: “You are obsessed with sex.” The patient says: “What do you mean I am obsessed? You are the one with all the dirty pictures.”

I have no idea where I first heard this joke. I suspect when I was an undergraduate and was first taught about Freudian psychology.
Richard Wiseman, professor of public understanding of psychology, University of Hertfordshire

■ Psychiatrist to patient: “Don’t worry. You’re not deluded. You only think you are.”

I heard this joke from my husband, my source of all good jokes. It is a variation of the type of joke I particularly like: a paradoxical twist of meaning. Here the surprising paradox is that you can at once be deluded and not deluded. This links to an aspect of my work that goes under the label “mentalizing” and involves attributing thoughts to oneself and others. It’s a mechanism that works beautifully, but the joke reveals how it can go wrong.
Uta Frith, professor in cognitive neuroscience, University College London

■ After sex, one behaviorist turned to another behaviorist and said, “That was great for you, but how was it for me?”

It’s an oldie. I came across it in the late 1980s in a book by cognitive science legend Philip Johnson-Laird. Behaviorism was a movement in psychology that put the scientific observation of behaviour above theorizing about unobservables like thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Johnson-Laird was one of my teachers at Cambridge, and he was using the joke to comment on the “cognitive revolution” that had overthrown behaviorism and shown that we can indeed have a rigorous science of cognitive states. Charles Fernyhough, professor of psychology at the University of Durham


■ An interviewer approaches a variety of scientists, and asks them: “Is it true that all odd numbers are prime?” The mathematician rejects the conjecture. “One is prime, three is prime, five is prime, seven is prime, but nine is not. The conjecture is false.” The physicist is less certain. “One is prime, three is prime, five is prime, seven is prime, but nine is not. Then again 11 is and so is 13. Up to the limits of measurement error, the conjecture appears to be true.” The psychologist says: “One is prime, three is prime, five is prime, seven is prime, nine is not. Eleven is and so is 13. The result is statistically significant.” The artist says: “One is prime, three is prime, five is prime, seven is prime, nine is prime. It’s true, all odd numbers are prime!”
Gary Marcus, professor of psychology, New York University

■ What do scientists say when they go to the bar? Climate change scientists say: “Where’s the ice?” Seismologists might ask for their drinks to be “shaken and not stirred”. Microbiologists request just a small one. Neuroscientists ask for their drinks “to be spiked”. Scientists studying the defective gubernaculum say: “Put mine in a highball”, and finally, social scientists say: “I’d like something soft.” When paying at the bar, geneticists say: “I think I have some change in my jeans.” And at the end of the evening a shy benzene biochemist might say to his companion: “Please give me a ring.”

Professor Ron Douglas of City University and I made these feeble jokes up after pondering the question: “What do scientists say at a cocktail party”. Of course this idea can be developed – and may even stimulate your readers to come up with additional contributions.
Russell Foster, professor of circadian neuroscience, University of Oxford