How to get this aerosol can to spray
September 8, 2009 9:51 PM   Subscribe

I feel ridiculous asking this. I have a new can of WD40, and the nozzle won't depress. What do I need to do to get it to spray?

The plastic cap of the nozzle, the part you push down on and the part with the spray hole, comes off very easily. The tube that's embedded in the can itself and that presumably leads to the liquid depresses very slightly, maybe 2-3 mm. It stops completely after that. It feels like there's some sort of safety catch I have to remove before it'll push down enough to actually pump out liquid.

What is that safety catch, and how do I remove it? Or am I just out of luck with this can? My chair is squeaky, please help.
posted by Phire to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is there a red mark somewhere on the rim of the can? Sometimes you need to turn the nozzle to align the part from which the spray comes out with a red dot.
posted by needs more cowbell at 9:56 PM on September 8, 2009

The cans I have look a little different from yours. Yours might be a newer version of can/spray nozzle. Have a close look at the top of the white tip that is coming out of the can. Make sure it has a hole in it. That white part may be a safety feature they came out with. The white tip may come off and you put the nozzle onto the valve (tube sticking out of the can) underneath it. Just be very careful doing it. WD 40 is a known carcinagen. All mine have red buttons and red tubes sticking out of the can.
posted by Taurid at 10:21 PM on September 8, 2009

WD 40 is a known carcinagen
posted by Taurid

I don't think it is a carcinogen (see section 11 here).
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:46 PM on September 8, 2009

My standard answer: try some WD-40 on it.

But I second the suggestions to check for alignment with anything that looks alignable.
And seeing if that little white knob on the can pulls off.

Could it actually be *gasp* broken? Every now and then I get a spray bottle that just needs to go back to the store.

Good luck.
posted by SLC Mom at 11:14 PM on September 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I remember taking a safety course in a large automotive plant where they used a lot of WD 40, that is until they found out it was a carcenogen. All carcenogens were banned from the plant. Not sure where they got their information though. They stopped using it immediately.

Go here FWIW.

Sorry I couldn't make a link.
posted by Taurid at 11:46 PM on September 8, 2009

sorry, "carcinogen". Time for bed. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
posted by Taurid at 11:48 PM on September 8, 2009

Response by poster: There's pretty much nothing that aligns in any way. Tugging on the white tip has done nothing, and turning it while tugging on it results in a clicking sound. Something must be working - now I can smell the WD40, whereas previously i couldn't - but I still can't spray it.

Thanks for the suggestions so far, keep them coming!
posted by Phire at 11:53 PM on September 8, 2009

This is natures way way of telling you to use a proper lubricant on your chair. Wd4o is not a very good lube,displaces water and moves on, try light machine oil or bike chain lube.
posted by hortense at 1:00 AM on September 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Taurid: ""

That would appear to be a page for kerosene (8008-20-6) which, according to the .pdf linked by w-g p isn't a constituent part of WD40
3 - Composition/Information on Ingredients

                    Ingredient               CAS #     Weight Percent
Aliphatic Hydrocarbon                      64742-47-8      45-50
Petroleum Base Oil                         64742-58-1       <2>
LVP Aliphatic Hydrocarbon                  64742-47-8      12-18
Surfactant                                 Proprietary      <2>
Non-Hazardous Ingredients                    Mixture        <1>
See Section 8 for Exposure Limits
Are you confused about something?
posted by benzo8 at 4:16 AM on September 9, 2009

Also here: What does WD-40 contain?

"While the ingredients in WD-40 are secret, we can tell you what WD-40 does NOT contain. WD-40 does not contain silicone, kerosene, water, wax, graphite, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), or any known cancer-causing agents."
posted by benzo8 at 4:19 AM on September 9, 2009

There's generally a tab you need to break off. It'll be in the hollow section on the opposite side of the can from the spray tube. It's sort of a rhomboid shape, or really a square with the top corners nipped off. You pull it off and it allows the plunger to depress.

For the record, you're not talking about the little white capped WD-40 cans, you're talking about the SmartStraw or whatever they are ones, where the straw is permanently attached to a swinging mechanism, right?

And...please stop derailing the OP's post, he didn't ask if it was a carcinogen or for a bunch of cut and pasting.
posted by TomMelee at 5:01 AM on September 9, 2009

Response by poster: TomMelee: "For the record, you're not talking about the little white capped WD-40 cans, you're talking about the SmartStraw or whatever they are ones, where the straw is permanently attached to a swinging mechanism, right?"

The straw actually comes taped to the side and then gets attached to the white cap manually. I think it's this model called the Handy Can. And it has no tab anywhere on the bottle that I can see. The metal top part is unbroken all around except for the tube in the middle.
posted by Phire at 5:22 AM on September 9, 2009

Oh, see, I thought you meant this one.

1. In that case, there's nothing to do but use it. Pull out the nozzle (just pull straight up, it's not actually connected) and look at it. If it looks broken or angled or anything on the tube part, there's your problem (proceed to step 4). If not, run it under super hot water for a couple minutes.

2. The carcinogen folks will scream, but put the tube part to your lips and blow through it with the highest pressure you can muster. If air moves through, awesome. If not, stick a pin through the front of the nozzle where the product comes out and retry blowing. If still no air, poke a pin up the tube.

3. Replace on the can and retry.

4. If still no go, grab a top off any other spray bottle---paint, an old can of WD, anything, and see if it works.

5. If not, then there's no propellant left, take it back to the store. Someone probably huffed it and returned it to the store.
posted by TomMelee at 5:35 AM on September 9, 2009

I up on the the top of another spray can. They are usually the same size.
posted by plinth at 6:27 AM on September 9, 2009

The little white tube embedded in the can won't come off; it's supposed to depress and release liquid at the same time. Before you toss the can, try tapping the nozzle lightly with a hammer, or jamming the can upside down on the ground.
posted by suedehead at 6:47 AM on September 9, 2009

It's possible the can is broken. Take it back.
posted by chairface at 3:36 PM on September 9, 2009

Response by poster: I'm a tad wary of poking a pressurized can with a sharp needle, and nothing else has worked thus far, so it looks like I'm just going to be taking it back to the store. Thanks everyone though!
posted by Phire at 3:21 PM on September 10, 2009

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