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  • Writer's pictureJohn C

WD-40 Drying Test on Cardboard: Which Product Dries the Fastest? (with Photos)

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

A photo of four WD-40 products sprayed on cardboard. From left to right: WD-40 Specialist Contact Cleaner, WD-40 Specialist Dry PTFE, WD-40 Specialist Silicone, and WD-40 Original
1 of 3 photos. Four WD-40 products were sprayed on cardboard. This is the result immediately after spraying.

Introduction to the WD-40 Experiment

When it comes to WD-40, many are familiar with its multifunctional properties—from lubricating squeaky hinges to protecting metal from rust. But have you ever wondered about the drying speed of different WD-40 products? This experiment aims to provide clarity on this topic.

Materials Used

Cardboard Testing Surface

Cardboard was chosen for this experiment due to its absorbent nature, making it ideal for demonstrating the drying speed of each WD-40 product.

I tested the following WD-40 products:

All these products are available to view on Amazon.


Each WD-40 product was applied to a separate section of the cardboard. The amount of product applied was kept consistent across all sections. The drying time was then observed and noted for each product.

A photo of four WD-40 products sprayed on cardboard. Immediately after spraying.
2 of 3 photos. Four WD-40 products were sprayed on cardboard. Result 10 minutes after spraying.

This image shows that WD-40 Contact Cleaner was by far the fastest drying. Leaving no visible residue.

One surprise was the WD-40 Original had more spread than all the others on test.

Experiment Observations

Absorption and Drying Rate

Upon spraying, each of the WD-40 variants on the cardboard, differences in absorption and drying rates were immediately noticeable...

A photo of four WD-40 products sprayed on cardboard. Over 4 hours after spraying.
3 of 3 photos. Four WD-40 products were sprayed on cardboard. Result 4 hours after spraying.

Texture and Residue

After the drying period, an inspection of the cardboard revealed differences in texture among the four products. The residual print, especially from the WD-40 Contact Cleaner, was minimal, making it easy to see the remaining residue. This visual distinction can help users gauge the potential long-term effects of each product on a given surface...

The Potential Benefits of Residue

While in this experiment, a lesser residue is seen as beneficial for the purpose of a contact cleaner, it's important to note that some WD-40 products are designed to leave behind a residue intentionally. Here's why:

Lubrication: Products like the WD-40 Dry PTFE are formulated to leave a lubricating film. This residue can reduce friction between moving parts and extend the life of mechanisms.

Protection: Residues, especially from products like the original WD-40, can form a protective barrier against moisture, preventing rust and corrosion.

Long-term Effect: Some residues ensure that the product continues to work over a longer period, reducing the frequency of re-application.



Dry To Touch

WD-40 Specialist Contact Cleaner

1 minute 20 seconds

WD-40 Specialist Dry PTFE

25 minutes 15 seconds

WD-40 Specialist Silicone

1 hour 17 minutes

WD-40 Original

3 hours 35 minutes


Initial Application

Upon initial application, each product left a distinct wet mark on the cardboard. The visual difference between the products was noticeable, with some appearing more liquid than others.

Drying Time

The WD-40 Original took the longest to dry, leaving a pronounced wet mark even after 3 hours. On the other hand, the WD-40 PTFE Dry dried relatively faster, with the wet mark diminishing considerably within a short span.

Practical Applications

While cardboard isn't the typical surface one would apply WD-40 to, this experiment effectively showcased the absorption rates of different products, highlighting their potential efficacy in various practical applications.

JC's - Conclusion WD-40 is a versatile range of products that can be used for a variety of tasks. However, it is important to choose the right WD-40 product for the job and to consider the drying time.

In-Depth Product Knowledge: WD-40 Official Data Sheets

For a more comprehensive understanding of the products discussed, you can refer to the official data sheets provided by WD-40. These data sheets offer detailed technical information that could be beneficial for those keen on learning more. Below are the links to the data sheets for the respective products, and they will open in a new tab allowing you to easily navigate back to this page:

Feel free to explore these resources at your convenience and delve deeper into the technical aspects of these products directly from the official WD-40 website.


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