Which Lubricant Should I Use?

Selecting the Right Lubricants

Choosing the right lubricant is extremely important, as it directly affects tool and equipment efficiency. When using the correct lubricant as part of a regular maintenance program, you improve operational efficiency and reduce equipment downtime, which ultimately saves money and increases profitability. The ever-changing regulatory environment also necessitates using lubricants that are compliant with local, state and federal regulations.

The most commonly used multi-purpose lubricant is a mineral-oil based product that protects metal from rust and corrosion, penetrates stuck parts, displaces moisture and lubricates just about everything. However, depending on your task or work environment, you may need a specialized lubricant to help you get the job done. If you are working with heavy-duty machinery and mechanisms, on vertical surfaces, in wet and humid or dusty environments, within extreme temperatures, or simply trying to loosen rusty parts, read on to learn about different types of lubricant and choose the right one for your application.

Long-Lasting, Heavy Duty Applications

These lubricants are great for equipment and mechanisms that require thick, heavy-duty lubrication to withstand extreme conditions. You can also use long-lasting lubricants on cables, pulleys, chains, guide rails, valves, linkages and hinges. White lithium grease, often known as “grease in a can,” consists of a grease base that provides heavy-duty lubrication and corrosion protection for metal parts without melting. It is a great option for applications in which you want to see your lubricant and know that it’s there.

Gel lubricants which consist of no-drip formulas that stay where you spray them are also another great long-lasting option. You can use these products to lubricate moving parts on construction tools and equipment, and spray it on vertical surfaces for a no-drip, no clean-up experience.

Water-Resistant Lubricants

Silicone lubricants are a great option for wet and humid environments, as they waterproof and protect while lubricating. Because of silicone additives, these lubricants are recommended on a wide range or surfaces, such as nonmetal, rubber, plastic and vinyl. They also work well within extreme temperature ranges (-100°F to +500°F).

Dirt & Dust-Resistant Products

Lubricants and mess often go hand-in-hand, but dry lubricants are designed for areas where dust and grit could cause a problem. These lubricants are formulated with additives that dry out quickly, providing a non-stick surface and leaving a protective barrier that continues to lubricate and protect against rust without attracting dust.


We have all been in the time-consuming situation of trying to loosen a stuck bolt or frozen nut. For those frustrating times, penetrants can creep into tight crevices, threads and seams to break the bond that holds stuck parts together. These products quickly go to work on rusted nuts, bolts, threads, locks and chains to free rusted parts faster.

These lubricants are perfect to have on-hand and in your toolbox so that you’re ready for whatever challenges come your way.


Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

WD-40 Company
Latest posts by WD-40 Company (see all)

Join the Conversation