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WD40 – Please, Please Don’t Use It On Your Locks

This is a public service announcement. Oh yes dear reader, and it’s about time too because someone has to finally stand tall and alert the fine people of Yorkshire – other counties are available, but perhaps not as good, to a very real danger within our borders. A scourge to door lock health, a menace to key insertion and a danger to your mental well-being.

Your metal well-being at least.

Because here we can correct a flawed assumption that seemingly far too many people labour under, certainly many of those helped by Towergate Locksmiths – other locksmiths are available, but perhaps not as good.

And that assumption is this: If you have a sticky lock, if your key is hard to turn in that lock… squirt some WD40 in it.

No people, NO!

I can’t begin to count the number of jobs where the question that needed to be asked is “You’ve used WD40 on this lock haven’t you?”

To which the regretful reply is always, “I thought that’s what it was for”.

Well folks, it isn’t. It most definitely isn’t. And now you don’t have to learn that the hard way.

Because WD40 is not a lubricant, it’s a water and oil displacing solvent – fun fact, the WD actually stands for Water Displacement. Use it to release as many rusty bolts as you like but if you use WD40 within a lock you only succeed in displacing the last bit of lubrication that was left in the cylinder, making it dryer than ever and even more likely to stick! And since a solvent doesn’t evaporate well, as a double whammy it lingers to gunk up your keyhole too, attracting dust and dirt to make everything worse still. 

So again, for your own sake, no WD40.

What you should use for a sticky lock is a teflon based PTFE lubricant. Any hardware store will stock it, it’s chemically inert, it’s the right kind of slippy, it prevents rusting and key wear and it doesn’t attract airborne particles to gum up the mechanism.

Another thing you can use is graphite powder. Buy it in a small plastic bottle with a nozzle and simply puff a small amount of the powder straight into the lock. It’s designed as a dry lock lubricant and will do the job nicely with no mess, no fuss.

But here’s a tip, something that works too is to have a rummage in that old pencil drawer of yours. The ‘lead’ in a pencil is pure graphite really so to lubricate a lock you only need to rub a pencil point along the grooves of key that operates it. Then, once you’ve built up some graphite on the key, not too much mind you, gently place it into your lock. It might resist a little at first but remove and reinsert it until it does go in smoothly. And hey presto, no more sticky lock! 

So please folks, please heed our advice when it comes to your locks and fixing your own sticky situation. We may have had our tongue firmly stuck in our cheek for this one but it’s only to emphasis that you should never have a WD40 straw firmly stuck in your lock.

NB. If you have loved ones with locks and that you suspect own a can of WD40, please share this article with them. The risks are too great, the stakes too high, too many locks are too sticky because of the ‘Blue Can’ that none of us should keep quiet anymore. Together we can protect all locks. Even the ones outside of Yorkshire.

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