WD-40 on potentiometers

LP1865

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The crux of it:-
I read about it, sprayed some on old scratchy pots on my guitar.
Went to play it a couple of hours later, neck pickup not working, not response from tone knobs, bridge volume acting weird, no volume change from 0-5. The volume pots are audio taper pots while the tones are old Alpha Linear pots. I opened the cavity up, resoldered some sus joints, and realised that the WD was still wet. I've left it alone for now, but I hope this isn't a permanent problem. I see forums and people who are completely okay and have had good results with using WD-40. Why are mine acting funny tho?
 

KelvinS1965

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I wouldn't recommend WD40 on pots, though I do see people suggesting it and even a quick Google seems to say it's OK, but patently not as you've found out. There is a lot of forum debate as to what you should use, but something like Deoxit seems a better option than WD40. Hopefully they will dry out, but you might need to get something to clean them now you've used WD40.

Deoxit D5 is for cleaning and F5 is used to lubricate. I've only got D5 myself, but I've replaced most of the pots on my guitars over the years due to wear and tear or just doing upgrades.
 

rockstar232007

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Never use WD-40 on anything that is "sealed". It is essently a lubricant/oil, which means it will never come out, and cause dirt to become trapped inside the pots.

Contact cleaner is specifically designed for this purpose, and flushes out dirt and debris, then dries almost instantly.
 
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diavolo

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That's rubbing alcohol right?
Can I apply it now to remove some of the WD-40?
no. its unlikely you can successfully clean it with rubbing alcohol unless youre going to disassemble the entire pot or submerge it and spray it with compressed air or some overly complicated process.

normal rubbing alcohol is diluted. the strong stuff isopropyl alcohol is used for electronics.
you would need to put that stuff into a spray bottle anyways. it smells REALLY strong. I used to use it to clean radio parts when I worked as a tech in that field.

just buy a can of electronics cleaner and dont make more of a mess of things.
the electronics cleaner will be in a spray can you can blast in there and that will blow all the WD40 out.
you can wipe up everything when its still wet and it evaporates in seconds.
it wont hurt the finish on your guitar.

you can pick up a can of the CRC electronics cleaner at an autoparts store or hardware store or any big box type of store if you dont want to order it online.
 
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ErictheRed

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Actually we had another thread about this, I do think that isopropyl alcohol (if you buy the more concentrated type) is much better than electrical contact cleaner. I don't really know the best way to clean WD-40 residue off of electronics, though; I could do a little research. Isopropyl alcohol should do it, but as mentioned before, are you going to disassemble them?

It might be easiest to just buy new pots (they're pretty cheap) and chalk it up to experience.
 

LP1865

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Well I used isopropyl alcohol on my pots before reading the above posts, and it kinda fixed my problem. The solution was 70 parts alcohol and 30 parts water. My volume pots are working fine again and so are my tone pots
 

jwinger

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Actually we had another thread about this, I do think that isopropyl alcohol (if you buy the more concentrated type) is much better than electrical contact cleaner. I don't really know the best way to clean WD-40 residue off of electronics, though; I could do a little research. Isopropyl alcohol should do it, but as mentioned before, are you going to disassemble them?

It might be easiest to just buy new pots (they're pretty cheap) and chalk it up to experience.
Yep, when serious cleaning I find 99% isopropyl alcohol is the ultimate. It's rescued a few old centralabs for me
 

LP1865

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The list of things it should not be used on leaves me wondering what it should be used for.
I used to deoxidise my guitar case hinges, and remove the gum from the sticker on my amp
 

Dino Velvet

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WD-40 makes a contact cleaner. It's hard to find in stores but it works like magic on pots and switches. A can will last almost forever.
 

Gary

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Friends don't let friends use WD40 on anything electrical or electronic.

WD40 means Water Displacement formula #40. Did you have water in your guitar? ;)

My father in law once used WD40 to lubricate a light bulb socket in a ceiling light. The bulb snapped trying to remove it. WD40 turns into a varnish with age.
 


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