WD-40 vs Silicone

I would hazard to guess that you have either a can of WD-40 or a can of silicone spray, or both, in your arsenal of improvement products.  Which of these is better?  Let me give you my opinion.  (If you don’t want it, stop reading.)

The term “WD-40” is derived from the fact that the aerospace company developing this product was trying to find a chemical that would displace water—thus “WD” stands for water displacement.  As it happens, WD-40 was the 40th formula that was finally successful in keeping water away from the skin of the Atlas rocket and preventing corrosion.  I have always found this fact fascinating.  (Not so much for you?…Oh well.)

I always include a can of WD-40 in my supply of tool sharpening equipment.  Not only do I use it to coat metal to retard rusting, but the spray tends to dissolve the gunk that accumulates on pruners and loppers.  (Oven cleaner and a brush really does a thorough job though.) And, of course, it is a lubricant that reduces friction and stops those irritating squeaks.  I also just learned from my Flipboard app (A great app for learning the latest news.) that WD-40, being oily, can be applied to wooden handles to reduce the occurrence of splinters.  Then, too, if you notice that the rocket in your back yard is starting to corrode, this product is a must.

Now, silicone, on the other hand, is not petroleum based.  Therefore it dries and has far less odor for use indoors.  Since it dries, it won’t trap dust and dirt.  Silicon is therefore ideal for lubricating the tracks of sliding doors and screens, lubricating tracks of drawers, improving the function of padlocks and doorknobs, and stopping the squeaks of door hinges.

On a personal note, I used WD-40 to lubricate the switch on my leaf blower.  The blower was set aside on a flat surface and was still plugged to a power cord.  While I was doing something else, the blower turned itself on, and since the air intake was blocked, the motor overheated and started a fire.  Being a slow learner, I bought the same model of leaf blower again.  Since the power switch on this one was sticking like the last one,  lubricated again with WD-40.  Believe it or not, this resulted in a melted switch.  Who’da thought!  I had to take the blower apart and hard wire it.  Now I have to discnnect the extension cord whenever I want to stop blowing.  So apparently it is unwise to use WD-40 on electrical switches.

So in conclusion, I would suggest that you have both of these products.  Use WD-40 where you want to leave an oily surface, and use silicone where you want to lubricate but leave a dry surface.

Stan, The Slow Learning Man