Here's What You Can Substitute For WD-40

Whether you're tackling a rusty door hinge, trying to remove paint from your floor tiles, or cleaning sap from your car, WD-40 is a versatile lubricating spray that seems able to do, well, pretty much everything. But what happens when you run out and need to make a substitution? Thankfully, there are various household products that make solid alternatives. 

First, it's good to know what makes WD-40 so effective. According to WD-40, their 60-year-old recipe still remains a secret, however, they do admit that it is a unique blend of undisclosed lubricants, anti-corrosive agents, and ingredients that can penetrate and repel grease, gunk, and dirt. WD-40 can also be used to protect power tools and other electronics from moisture and to prevent metal surfaces and tools from rusting. So, while we cannot replicate this special formula, we can recommend some useful substitutions for when you run out of the original. 

Using petroleum jelly as a lubricant

The jar of petroleum jelly under your bathroom sink has more uses than you might realize. This affordable petroleum-based lubricant is great for combating sticky door handles, squeaky window frames, or protecting bike chains, suggests Rider Baron. Additionally, it's also anti-corrosive, as RV Magazine points out, meaning it can prevent rust and tarnishing. According to Vaseline, this multi-use product was first known as "Wonder Jelly" because of its moisturizing and lubricating qualities. Moreover, Byrdie notes that it can also make for an effective skin moisturizer. 

However, do be cautious about where you apply this transparent jelly. Fire Fighter Now notes that, while it isn't flammable at average daily temperatures, it has a low melting point and can catch fire at 400º Fahrenheit. Petroleum jelly is inexpensive and highly versatile, meaning that in a pinch, it can be a great quick-fix lubricant to use around the house. 

Goo be gone

One of the best uses of WD-40 is combatting stubborn adhesives left behind by sap, stickers, and tape. Thanks to its special cocktail of lubricants, WD-40 breaks down sticky residues, making them easier to wipe away with a cloth. If you are out of WD-40 but your kids have gotten into a fresh sheet of stickers, you can reach for another cleaning product staple — Goo Gone. Similar to WD-40, Goo Gone's formula is made from petroleum distillates, alcohol, d-limonene (a product of citrus plants), and a handful of oils that are uniquely suited to cutting through sticky stuff. 

Alternatively, PopSugar recommends a useful DIY recipe for homemade gunk remover. Simply mix together 3 tablespoons of baking soda and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and store it in a sealable container. You can also check out our list of other alternatives to find the right substitute for any sticky mess.