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Does WD 40 work on knees?

WD-40 is a household staple known for its versatility in lubricating all kinds of things around the home. Many people suffering from knee pain wonder if spraying WD-40 on their knees will act as a lubricant and relieve their discomfort. There are claims that WD-40 can work wonders on creaky knees, while others argue it does more harm than good. This article will examine whether using WD-40 on knees is effective or risky.

What is WD-40?

WD-40 was invented in 1953 by Norm Larsen as a water displacement spray to prevent corrosion by displacing moisture. The name WD-40 stands for “Water Displacement, 40th formula.” While initially developed to protect missiles from rust and corrosion, WD-40 gained popularity as a lubricant and protectant for various household uses.

The main ingredients in WD-40 include:

Ingredient Purpose
Petroleum distillates Lubricate and loosen stuck parts
Low viscosity oil Provide lubrication
Anti-corrosion agents Prevent rust and corrosion

While the exact formula is a trade secret, WD-40 does not contain waxes, silicone, kerosene, or propellant gases. It serves as a light oil and lubricant while also protecting against moisture damage.

How Does WD-40 Work?

WD-40 works in several ways:

Lubrication – The low viscosity oil in WD-40 provides slick lubrication to reduce friction between moving parts and form a protective coating. This allows parts to glide smoothly over one another.

Moisture displacement – The petroleum distillates repel water by forming a thin film to prevent rust and corrosion. This protective barrier locks out moisture.

Penetration – WD-40 can penetrate crevices and minute spaces between stuck parts. The low surface tension allows it to seep between tight gaps to loosen up the built-up gunk.

Cleaning – WD-40 can help dissolve dirt, grease, and grime that may be causing sticking and friction. The solvents break down buildup so the parts move freely.

So in summary, WD-40 lubricates, displaces moisture, penetrates tight spaces, and cleans dirty parts to improve mechanical function.

Can WD-40 Be Used on Knees?

The short answer is yes, WD-40 can be sprayed directly onto knees. The spray lubricant effects of WD-40 suggest it may help alleviate certain knee troubles. However, there are definite pros and cons to consider before using WD-40 on your knees.

Potential Benefits of Using WD-40 on Knees

Here are some possible benefits of using WD-40 as a knee lubricant:

Temporary pain relief – The light lubricating oil can help reduce friction in the knee joint, alleviating pain and stiffness for several hours. This may offer temporary relief.

Penetrates tight spaces – WD-40 may penetrate and loosen deposits between the knee bones and cartilage. This can improve mobility.

Breaks up scar tissue – Some claim spraying WD-40 on the knees over time softens and reduces troublesome scar tissue around the knees.

Protects cartilage – The anti-corrosion agents may help protect knee cartilage from further moisture damage.

Cheap and accessible – At just $5 a can, WD-40 provides an affordable and easy to find knee lubricant option.

Potential Dangers of Using WD-40 on Knees

However, spraying WD-40 directly onto the knees does come with the following risks and downsides:

Skin irritation – WD-40 contains petroleum distillates that may irritate the skin. This can cause knee pain or skin inflammation.

Joint damage over time – While WD-40 may offer temporary relief, long term use could dry out the cartilage and cause arthritis.

Toxic chemicals spreading – Harmful ingredients in WD-40 could enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body when sprayed on knees.

Masks serious conditions – WD-40 may only mask underlying problems like osteoarthritis that need proper medical treatment.

Accelerated wear – Some claim WD-40 dries out the joint fluid and accelerates knee joint wear over time.

Unsafe around braces – WD-40 may degrade protective knee braces and supports when applied directly.

So while WD-40 may provide quick, cheap knee pain relief, the potential risks make it a poor long term solution. It is not meant for human joints. Any benefits are temporary without resolving the root knee problems.

Expert Opinions on Using WD-40 on Knees

Doctors and medical experts overwhelmingly warn against using WD-40 on knees. Here are some key opinions:

Expert Opinion on WD-40 for Knees
Dr. Robert Klapper, orthopedic surgeon “WD-40 is a solvent ??? it has no place in the human body. I would highly advise against spraying WD-40 into the knee joint.”
Dr. Gregory Lutz, orthopedic surgeon “I do not recommend using WD-40 as lubricant on arthritic knees. It only provides temporary relief while potentially causing long-term harm.”
Arthritis Foundation “We do not recommend using WD-40 as a lubricant or for arthritis pain relief. It contains toxic ingredients for human joints.”
Dr. John Sklare, sports medicine specialist “While WD-40 may lubricate stiff hinges, I would never recommend spraying it directly on arthritic knees. The risks outweigh any temporary relief it may provide.”

The consensus among medical specialists is clear – WD-40 should not be used as a DIY quick fix for knee lubrication or arthritis pain relief. The unique properties designed for household use make it unsafe for our joints over time.

Better Alternatives to WD-40 for Your Knees

Instead of WD-40, try these safer alternatives recommended by doctors for knee care:

Alternative Benefits
Prescription topical NSAIDs (Voltaren, diclofenac) Clinically proven anti-inflammatory for temporary knee pain relief.
Capsaicin creams Relieves knee pain by reducing nerve signals.
Arnica montana Natural homeopathic remedy used topically to treat bruises and swelling.
Turmeric supplements Anti-inflammatory properties may help knee arthritis when taken orally.
Physical therapy Stretches and exercises improve knee strength and mobility.

These therapeutic options are safer and more effective for managing knee osteoarthritis pain. They treat the condition rather than just masking symptoms temporarily.

For serious knee problems, you should always see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment guidance. Do not attempt to self-treat with household lubricants like WD-40.


In summary, while spraying WD-40 on your knees may provide some very short term relief, the potential risks outweigh any benefits. The lubricating and penetrating properties that make WD-40 work well on stuck hinges and tools do not safely transfer to human joints. The chemicals can actually accelerate cartilage breakdown over time when applied to knees.

Medical experts agree that WD-40 has no place as a DIY quick fix for knee pain and arthritis. Proven alternatives like prescription NSAIDs, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory supplements offer more reliable pain relief without the dangers. While cheap and accessible, WD-40 only masks underlying knee problems rather than properly treating them. For your long-term joint health, stay away from WD-40 on your knees.