WD40 and kayaks?

Just saw a YouTube feature on using WD40 to protect and preserve polyethylene kayaks from deterioration due to sun exposure.

Is this for real? Has anyone tried this and really seen the results?

Should be able to loosen any bolts
fairly easy !

Prior to 303 we used to use Armorall.

never tried WD-40, but I do keep a small can of it in my paddling tool box along with a small can of silicon lube for miscellaneous cable and metallic lube

Should be a great way to add a
grease slick everywhere you paddle.

Would also help with
Hatch covers that don’t come off easily

Zero UV protection
WD-40 is a lubricant, and not a very good one at that. It contains no UV stabilizers or absorbers so will offer nothing in the way of UV protection.

I always doubted it’s use as a lubricant which was confirmed some years ago when one of the gun magazines (which didn’t accept ads) ran a detailed comaparison test of several different products for use as firearm lubricants and rust preventatives. I believe WD-40 ranked at the very bottom as a rust preventaive (essentially offering no long-term protection) and very low as a lubricant. It’s cheap, readily available, and about the only thing I use it for is to help remove rustly bolts/screws and to keep my working knives (temporarily) lubricated when out in the field.

Stick with 303 for your boats.

Ditto 303
I seem to recall someone who should know once telling me that WD40 is mostly kerosene plus some oil and aromatics. So nothing as far as UV protection, and a mediocre lubricant too.

Armor-All has been reported by some longtime users to actually accelerate the drying out and brittleness of some plastics and rubbers. I don’t know how it fares in the way of UV protection …

303 is probably the best UV protectant, although even it may wash off once the boat gets wet. It certainly leaves a bit of a chemical slick on the water the first time you toss the boat in.

Here’s more info on seasonal kayak care, including a bit about 303:


Good luck!



Really bad idea
Doing nothing to protect the hull would be better than using WD40. These videos are used as marketing tools to sell more products that we don’t need, use some common sense and don’t be fooled.

Use a UV blocking product if you like but storing the boat out of the sun is more important.

wd 40
Is more of a solvent that a lubricant. Kinda like using kerosene to clean tools. I can’t imagine putting that on a boat.

Ryan L.

Here are the results of using WD40…
Margarine would probably be cheaper.


Wax against UV.
While I’m firmly on the “you’d have to be an idiot to think WD40 would be good on a kayak” side the article linked is way wrong on at least one count. Even Meguiars (the wax and car care company referenced) says that any car wax including theirs HAS ZERO UV protection.

And I tried 303 for the first time this year. Applied on Sat, put canoe on truck for paddling on Sunday. Heavy dew “appeared” to remove it. I just figured that appeared didn’t mean it was actually gone but you guys aren’t helping me believe that.


Thanks for the warning
I didn’t think this made much sense, but I never thought Armor All was any good either.

I’d be interested to know where Meguiars states that their products offer no UV protection. A quick look at their website reveals the following:

Marine/RV Pure Wax (liquid)

“Durable high gloss protection for fiberglass and all painted surfaces. Blend of pure Brazilian carnauba wax with silicones, polymers and resins to maintain extraordinary gloss and protection. Protects against the sun’s ultraviolet rays.”


If you prefer an actual paste wax, try their Marine/RV “One Step Cleaner Wax Paste”

Provides long-lasting protection against salt air, corrosion and the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Available in liquid or paste.


Even their automotive “NXT Generation® Tech Wax® 2.0 Paste” states:

“New Hydrophobic Polymer Technology™ provides relentless water beading and protection against oxidation, corrosion, UV rays and surface degradation.”


It seems apparent to me that Meguiars at least CLAIMS some of their products protect from UV, even if they in fact do not …



Try here:

– Last Updated: Jul-10-11 9:46 AM EST –


Click on general questions and then on question #17


"Amount of protection … is limited"
I don’t see anything contradictory in Meguiar’s FAQ; their main point seems to be that a UV-inhibiting wax is not the magic bullet some manufacturers might claim (not surprisingly, I guess), but that “the amount of protection … is limited”, “… the goal of a wax is to protect the top layers of paint that contain UV-protection agents”, and “UV protection in a car wax formula is only an extra-dose of preventative maintenance”.

So the UV-protecting claims of their waxes are perhaps a bit misleading or at least incomplete, if you don’t also read their FAQs.

The gelcoat used in composite kayaks, like the paint used on cars, contains its own UV inhibitors. I guess the upshot is that a good wax which protects that gelcoat will in turn protect the underlying fiberglass, just as it protects the paint on a car.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean you can wax your boat and then leave it lying around in the sun all summer; you’ll want to take all the usual precautions you would with your car to protect it from the elements. But it seems equally clear that a good wax will provide “an extra-dose of preventative maintenance”.



You believe “longtime users”?
“Armor-All has been reported by some longtime users”

I’ve used ArmorAll on the backs of my hands when I have forgotten to bring sunscreen. Works great. The reports about ArmorAll deteriorating things are simply passe’, not backed up by recent experience. As for 303, they aren’t any better than others. They lie just as much, and don’t release any data.

303. Why use anything else?

WD-40 is NOT a lubricant. I have to argue this to everyone who says it is, but its NOT. It will, as a matter of fact, wash away lubricant however… It IS a water displacement. I don’t even use it for sticky bolts, because PB blaster works far better and faster anyway.

303 is also great to use on the vinyl and plastic trim and interior parts of your car :slight_smile:

Nymtber is right wd-40=Water Displacement…

waxing? a poly boat?

I believe the goodyear tire guy

– Last Updated: Jul-26-11 11:47 AM EST –


Just pickin' @ ya.

My buddy raced motorcross and used WD mainly to keep his bike clean and to keep dirt from sticking as much. He told me about how he used so I tried it on my 4 wheeler that I road in some nasty coal dirt and it would help keep the stuff from caking on and made cleaning of my 4 wheeler alot easier since the dirt didn’t stick that well. So for me I like WD alot. I also race remote control cars and use it the same way to keep my stuff clean.

What I noticed is on my plasitc of my 4 wheeler and my r/c car is that it made everything alot shinnier and made it look like new or better. For a kayak I’m not sure if it helps at all. I normally used Armoral but used it only a few times a year to really clean up my yak and make it look like new. Now I just bought some 303 this weekend so will be using this to keep my yak looking like new.

I don’t leave my yak outside so I’m not as worried about UV protection because honestly unless its outside in the sun all the time I think most yak companies products stay very nice and don’t really have much if any fading under normal usage.