WD-40 Multi-use spray has been the leading multipurpose oil for years. However, for different reasons (environmental, safety, practicality, availability, and others), it’s a good idea to know what products you can use as an alternative.
In this article, I will show you 20+ products that work great as WD-40 substitutes and some of these work even better for specific applications.
Key Properties of WD-40 Multi-Use Spray
WD-40 multi-use spray was conceived as a water displacement spray, more precisely, to keep rust and corrosion away from the Atlas Missiles’ outer skin. Its name stands for “Water Displacement 40th Formula”, and this property, along with the spray composition, is the key to its versatility.
WD-40 multi-use spray can be used as a moisture displacer, lubricant, penetrating oil, degreaser, rust protector, and cleaner.
Today, WD has several specialized products, yet the original formula remains the most popular due to its multi purpose aspect. I know many of my friends use it as an all-in-one solution; from lubricating the door hinge and cleaning equipment to loosening the frozen lug nut.
Truth is that, while WD40 is an excellent water displacing agent, there are hundreds of specialized products that work better as lubricating, oil, penetrant and cleaner. However, the practicality of WD-40 is undeniable, and that’s why it’s considered a liquid “Swiss army knife”.
WD-40 Alternatives as Lubricants
While WD40 is a special blend of oils including lubes, it is not the best lubricant. There are many alternatives to WD-40; some are better, and others are cheaper. The most important thing about them is that they have been conceived as lubricants, making them more efficient and long-lasting.
1. The 3-IN-ONE® Multi-Purpose Oil
This product offers better lubrication than WD-40 because it’s almost 100% oil, while WD-40 contains only a fraction of oil. It’s ideal for lubricating moving parts like bike chains, hinges, small machines, and tools.
2. Silicone-Based Products
Silicone-based lubricants are regarded by many as the modern version of oil and other petroleum products. They have many interesting properties and come as spray or grease.
- Jenolite – (Spray): This product is made of a non-toxic and heat-resistant silicone-based formula. It provides excellent lubrication for moving parts and prevents seizing. Besides, thanks to its water-repellent properties, it keeps rust away and works great even in parts that endure a lot of friction. It’s not only a good product to use on metal parts, but it can also be used on wood, rubber, and some plastics.
Apart from being great for lubricating tools, machinery, and almost any moving parts, Jenolite Spray is very useful for lubricating windows’ seals and plumbing fittings.
Dirt usually sticks to silicone-based products; however, this doesn’t happen to Jenolite, which is another plus for this product.
- Super Lube – (Grease): This product, also known as plumber’s grease, is another silicone-based lubricant that is also waterproof. Its formula includes suspended PTFE particles, or Teflon, in simpler words. It’s excellent for reducing friction between machines’ and metallic moving parts in general, hence reducing tear and wear.
3. Jenolite White Lithium Grease
White lithium grease is a long-lasting, heavy-duty lubricant. It’s designed to reduce friction mostly on metal parts like pulleys, gears, car hinges, etc., and is also great for protecting parts against rust and corrosion.
It’s pretty thick, so it doesn’t drip and leaves a thick coat that will last long. It can also be used on non-metallic surfaces like plastic and rubber. It comes in two formats, spray or paste.
4. Graphite Powder
Graphite powder is also a long-lasting lubricant that is very useful for heavy machinery or hard-to-reach parts. It’s great for bearings and parts subjected to high friction. It’s water-resistant, endures extremely high temperatures, and doesn’t fade with temperature changes.
Once applied, it forms a thin but resistant film that reduces friction.
It comes in a tube or as canned spray like, for example, “Lucky Line” or “B’laster Industrial Graphite Dry”, respectively.
5. Automatic Transmission Fluid
ATF is is a low viscosity oil with resistance to wide range of temperature and pressure. You can use Automatic Transmission Fluid as lubricant in power tools and machines.
Lubricants that You Can Find at Home
- Motor Oil: Sometimes you are in a hurry and don’t have a bottle of WD-40 or something else at hand. In an emergency, you probably have some Motor Oil, no matter its grade or whether it’s synthetic or not; it’s always better than nothing, and it’s even better than WD-40 because it’s designed as a lubricant, so why not use it to get out of trouble.
- Vegetable Oil: This might not be acceptable for most purists, but vegetable oil mixed with 10% acetone can be of help for lubricating small machines, door hinges, and locks.
My advice is that if you go for this option, you try to get a proper lubricant and replace it as soon as you can. But, as I said, some lubricant is better than nothing.
As Penetrating Oil
Penetrating oil is mainly used to loosen rusty or stuck nuts, bolts, and moving parts. It’s also helpful to protect moving parts from rust and other things that can jam them. Some alternatives for the WD-40 are:
1. PB B’laster
This is the most popular penetrant oil since 1957. Thanks to its formula, it helps break loose stuck, rusty, or frozen parts, no matter how rusted or corroded they are. It acts fast and works as a corrosion inhibitor. It’s great for automotive, marine, firearms, home tools, and household applications, among others.
This is another popular penetrating oil with excellent properties, which enables it to loosen stuck parts. Besides, it provides a good degree of lubrication.
This professional-grade penetrating oil contains MoS2 (molybdenum sulfide or just “moly”). This is one of the most effective and fastest penetrating oils available, capable of releasing even the toughest and most corroded nuts and bolts and penetrating hard-to-reach spots. This product is not cheap and is highly flammable, but it can save you a lot of time and trouble.
4. Trick Shot
This product is also an effective substitute to WD-40 as a penetrating oil. Besides, it’s non-toxic, non-flammable, and biodegradable, and it’s worth giving it a shot.
5. The 3-IN-ONE® Oil
The original 3-in-One multi-purpose oil formula can penetrate rust. A few drips over the area you want to remove the rust or loosen the fastener do wonders. Besides, it also removes grime, keeping the parts clean.
The company also manufactures Fast-Acting Penetrant which is specifically formulated for the purpose. However, these oils doesn’t come in a pressurized can which can be bummer when you need to spray the oil in hard to reach areas.
6. Products that You Can Find at Home
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This can be a good alternative when, for example, a squeaky door hinge is annoying you in the middle of the night and you don’t have anything else available. Jokes aside, if you don’t have anything else at hand, extra virgin oil can be of help for small home jobs, DIY projects, or hobbies.
- Vegetable Oil: Once again, vegetable oil mixed with 10% acetone can be of help to get out of trouble as a mild penetrant oil.
For Rust Protection
In this department, there are also some great substitutes to WD-40. Some of them are also great lubricants and/or penetrant oils. Generally, most of these products offer some degree of rust protection and vice versa.
3-IN-ONE Multi-Purpose Oil
This is, once again, a great product to keep in mind when protecting elements against rust and corrosion.
This oil-based lubricant is also great for keeping rust away and preventing corrosion. Its low viscosity allows it to reach even the most difficult zones.
It’s ideal for metal parts, and its water displacement properties make it very efficient. It’s recommended for protecting moving parts like gears, locks, threads, bolts, and nuts, among many others.
This natural product made by bees, as its name suggests, is 100% biodegradable and is great for preventing rust. It comes in small tars or as a stick and is very practical to protect things like screws and nails from rust.
This is a state-of-the-art corrosion-inhibiting spray. Its components pass through a molecular treatment called “Polar Bonding” that helps to keep the rust away.
CorrosionX is used by NASA, SpaceX, the US Navy and is broadly used in the aeronautical, industrial, automotive, and nautical sectors. It protects bearings, electric circuits, tools, and even airframes. If rust is a concern to you, you definitely should give it a try.
This product is a great help when it comes to loosening rusted nuts and bolts, pulleys, and other metal-to-metal mechanisms. Besides, it’s perfect for displacing moisture, which makes it an excellent corrosion inhibitor.
The product has been on the market since 1939, and it’s highly recommended to prevent rust and as a rust remover by thousands of happy users.
This penetrant oil is also a great tool to prevent rust and keep corrosion away from mechanisms and moving parts.
This product is not only good for protecting firearms from rust but also great for protecting small high-precision mechanisms, locks, and home tools.
Cleaning and Degreasing
WD-40 is used as a cleaner and degreaser; however, it can be aggressive with painted surfaces, wood, and some plastics. So, if you would like to try other products, below you will find some alternatives.
1. Mineral Spirits
This product is fantastic for removing grease and grime from wood, plastic, and metal. It’s odorless and environmentally friendly.
However, keep in mind that it’s a solvent, so you should be careful not to use it over painted surfaces.
2. Brake Cleaner
This degreaser is not flammable and, as its name suggests, has been designed to remove grease, brake pads’ dust, dirt, grime, oil, and other elements from brake components. Besides, this product can be used to clean and degrease other automotive metallic parts.
3. Simple Green 13005CT
This powerful industrial degreaser and cleaner is great for removing grease, dirt, and grime from a wide variety of surfaces, including cloth, tiles, upholstery, engines, heavy machinery, and much more.
It’s non-toxic and biodegradable, making it safe to use and dispose of.
4. Krud Kutter
This is a 100% biodegradable and non-toxic cleaner and degreaser. It’s designed to be applied using a pressure washer and cleaning many materials like wood, vinyl, asphalt, fiberglass, aluminum, tiles, boats, and some machines.
5. Gunk Engine Cleaner
This product has been designed for cleaning engines, including modern engines with lots of plastic and rubber parts. It comes as foam, and it’s safe to clean everything deeply under your hood, including the trim and painted parts of the engine bay. It also works on machinery, tools, motorbikes, lawnmowers, and more. It’s easily rinsed with water.
6. Isopropyl Alcohol
Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA) is a very effective solvent and degreaser and is excellent for cleaning electrical contacts.
The 99% Isopropyl Alcohol can dissolve grease, ink, stains, etc. and is widely used in automotive and manufacturing industries.
Final Words and Disclaimer
The products above are some of the many WD-40 alternatives. Please read the instruction manual carefully before using them and make sure that they are suitable for the items you want to use them.
Also, take all the necessary safety and disposal measures before using them. Wear gloves and eye protection when required.
- Key Properties of WD-40 Multi-Use Spray
- WD-40 Alternatives as Lubricants
- As Penetrating Oil
- For Rust Protection
- Cleaning and Degreasing