Man Discovers What WD-40 Actually Means After Loads Of Unusual Guesses

A man has discovered what WD-40 actually means after people have made a number of bizarre guesses.
Credit: Alamy

A man has discovered what WD-40 actually means after people have made a number of bizarre guesses.

The popular product is a staple in almost every toolbox around the world.

From protecting metal from rust, fixing squeaky hinges and loosening any bolts that are stuck, the lubricant has many uses – in fact, it’s been documented to have over 2,000!

This ranges from a bus driver in Asia removing a python from around the undercarriage of his vehicle, to police officers using WD-40 to remove a naked burglar trapped in an air conditioning vent…

But, despite its popularity, not many people actually know what WD-40 stands for.

So let’s find out…

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Manufactured by chemist Norm Larsen in 1953 as part of the Rocket Chemical Company, it was later rebranded to the WD-40 Company.

WD-40 became available as a commercial product in 1961 and the first company to use it was Convair – an aerospace contractor – to protect the outer skin of the Atlas Missile from rust and corrosion, according to WD-40.

Initially launched in the US, it is now marketed and sold in more than 176 countries and is estimated to have a net worth of $3.5 billion, as per Stock Analysis.

A man has discovered what WD-40 actually means after making multiple guesses. Credit: Alamy

Recently, David Muir, an American journalist known for being a news anchor for ABC, asked his followers on X (previously known on Twitter) if anyone knew what it stood for.

One person joked: “We Done-it – 40th try.”

Another suggested: “Will do.”

Someone else quipped: “It worked after [the] 40th attempt… WellDone40.”

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Many people correctly guessed what WD-40 stands for – and its meaning has left some people surprised.

“I’ve known for years what WD40 meant, I thought it was common knowledge,” wrote one user.

Another added: “I thought it was fairly common knowledge, not top secret.”

“I learned what WD40 meant decades ago, I thought everyone did,” commented somebody else.

While a fourth remarked: “Learn something new every day.”

WD-40 has over 2,000 uses! Credit: Alamy

So what does WD-40 actually stand for?

Well, the WD represents ‘Water Displacement’ while the 40 stands for the water displacing formula being perfected on the 40th attempt.

The WD-40 site states: “It took them 40 attempts to get their water displacing formula to work, but on the 40th attempt, they got it right in a big way. WD-40 Multi-Use Product was born.

“WD-40 stands for Water Displacement, 40th formula. That’s the name straight out of the lab book used by the chemist who developed the product.”

So there you have it, you learn something new every day!

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.