Header About Us

In This Section

Follow WD-40

Share this page

WD-40® Myths, Legends & Fun Facts

WD-40’s “Secret Sauce.”

Sorry folks, it appears that the 50+-year-old formulation of WD-40 remains a secret today.  Any information that you may encounter alleging the disclosure of the “secret sauce” is inaccurate.

One thing we must do is correct any misinformation that may be harmful to either our consumers or our good name.  Specifically, the listing of incorrect and poorly defined ingredients and safety information.

Myth: WD-40 Multi-Use Product is not really a lubricant.
While the “W-D” in WD-40 stands for Water Displacement, WD-40 Multi-Use Product is a unique, special blend of lubricants. The product’s formulation also contains anti-corrosion agents and ingredients for penetration, water displacement and soil removal.

Stoddard Solvent

Myth: WD-40 contains Stoddard Solvent.
Over the past few decades, the name Stoddard Solvent was synonymous with all mineral spirits.  Today, the mineral spirits found in products like ours are more refined and processed (see hydrogenation, hydrotreating and distillation techniques) providing mixtures with varying boiling points, cleaning ability, and chemical composition. 

The catchall phrase “Stoddard Solvent” is no longer adequate to tell the proper story. WD-40 does indeed have 50% mineral spirits, but they are refined and purified for specific characteristics needed to meet today’s performance, regulatory, and safety requirements.

Health and Safety

Information derived from our Material Safety Data Sheet and referred to for the general use of our product can be misleading.  MSDS information is for the workplace and not primarily intended for the general consumer.  For the general consumer, the product label provides the key safety and usage information.

WD-40 and Bikes

Myth: WD-40 Multi-Use Product should not be used on bike chains.
While WD-40 Multi-Use Product it is not a grease, it is formulated with strong lubricating oils and other ingredients, and is a terrific product to use for bike maintenance. It does not attract dirt or moisture to metal surfaces – just be sure to wipe off any excess WD-40 Multi-Use Product before riding.

For long-term lubrication and other specialized bicycle maintenance needs, check out WD-40® BIKE. Developed specifically for cyclists and mechanics, this high-performance line of bicycle care products is sure to become a mainstay in the toolboxes of bike mechanics for decades.

WD-40’s Original Founder

Myth: Ken East is WD-40’s original founder.
While Ken East is often referred to as one of WD-40’s original founders, he used to say, “Heck, I ain’t that old.”  Ken was the facility manager at WD-40 Company’s San Diego headquarters and was affectionately known as “The Brewmaster.”  He mixed up batches of our secret sauce for over 15 years and was often heard to proudly proclaim, “I absolutely LOVE my job!” Ken happily retired in 2009.

As mentioned in our corporate and brand history, Norm Larsen, founder of Rocket Chemical Company, is considered the original founder of WD-40Read the real story behind WD-40.

What a Fish story!

Myth: WD-40 contains fish oil.
Consumers have told us over the years that they have caught some of the biggest fish ever after protecting their fish hooks and lures with WD-40.  We believe this legend came from folks assuming that the product must contain fish oil since it appears to attract fish.  Sorry Charlie®, it just ain’t so.

WD-40 Company has taken steps to respect and conserve the environment, and encourages its users to do the same.  While WD-40 can be used to help protect fishing equipment from rust and corrosion, WD-40 Company does not recommend using WD-40 to attract fish.

WD-40 Cures Arthritis!”  No Way.

Myth: WD-40 cures arthritis.
This popular headline, appearing at least once a year in the tabloids, is completely FALSE.  WD-40 Company does not recommend the use of WD-40 for medical purposes, and knows no reason why WD-40 would be effective for arthritis pain relief.  WD-40 contains petroleum distillates and should be handled with the same precautions for any product containing this type of material. 

Fun Facts About WD-40

  • A bus driver in Asia used WD-40 to remove a python, which had coiled itself around the undercarriage of his bus.
  • Police officers used WD-40 to remove a naked burglar trapped in an air conditioning vent.
  • Crayola® Stain Removal Tips recommends using WD-40 to remove (regular) crayon marks from a variety of surfaces.
  • The WD-40 Book, featuring many user testimonials and the wacky humor of Jim & Tim, The Duct Tape GuysTM, was published in 1997.  The familiar blue and yellow can has been featured in other books ranging from The Big Damn Book of Sheer Manliness (General Publishing 1997) and Polish Your Furniture With Pantyhose (Hyperion 1995) to WD-40 for the Soul: A Guide To Mending Everything
  • Leslie Nielsen portrayed agent Dick Steele (a.k.a., Agent WD-40) in the 1996 movie Spy Hard.
  • WD-40 has a Fan Club with more than 100,000 members.  Join today and share your stories, get free, fun downloads, check out the eNewsletter, receive the eTip of the week, and much more...
  • As The Duct Tape Guys say, “You only need two tools in life, Duct Tape® and WD-40.  If it’s not stuck and it’s supposed to be, Duct Tape it.  If it’s stuck and it’s not supposed to be, WD-40 it.”

So, keep using your WD-40.  You can find a list of over 2,000 uses from our loyal users here.  If you find a new use, please let us know.  And, if you really need the secret formula, you can find it…...written on a single notepad……locked in a vault…...somewhere in California……if you can get in.

Every Can Counts

hire a hero

Buy a “Hire a Hero” WD-40® Smart Straw® can and help military personnel transition into the civilian workforce.

Learn More

What Can Your
#CanDoCan Do?


We want to know (and see!) how you’ve used WD-40® brand products to help get the job done. Submit a Photo or Video for a chance to win!

Learn More

Announcing WD-40® BIKE

WD-40 Bike Family

A high-performance line of bicycle care products developed for cyclists and mechanics.

Learn More

Tell Us What You Think!


Want to rate or review WD-40® Multi-Use Products? Now you can, right here on the WD-40 website.

Learn More