Can candle wax loosen rusty nuts?


Originally published at:


For some deep dives into the snake-oil market that is penetrating oils (warning- he’s a bit old-boys clubbish):


Grown-ass man laughing at “rusty nuts” over here.


I’ve got some nuts you can loosen RIGHT HERE!

EDIT: Oh, get your mind out of the gutter. I was clearly referring to DEEZ NUTS.


Pretty sure candle wax will loosen rusty nuts, just not the kind shown in the video…


I would never put hot wax on my rusty nuts.


Deep Creep is excellent stuff! It’s good for loosening nuts and bolts as mentioned, but also good as a general metal conditioner and protector and lubricant.

I have lots of Irwin hand clamps that get left outside because that’s where my woodworking area is. Some of the older ones got very rusty, but a few minutes with a foam sanding block and a spray and wipe down with Deep Creep, and the metal parts are smooth and ready to go again. They tend to resist further rusting too.

I’ve used it to restore handsaw blades in the same way, and planes and chisels etc. And of course it’s great on lawn mowers, snow blowers and other household machinery.


If you think rusty nuts are funny, check out:

and the corresponding part, “mating screw”




Alternatively: ATF (automatic transmission fluid) plus acetone, 50-50 mix.


It’s one of the cheaper ones, and works as well as others that cost a lot more.


Can it be considered a myth if nobody ever heard of this before?




Applying heat to a seized nut will loosen it. This is probably where the myth comes from - someone tried using hot wax, the heat loosened things, but the wax got the credit for it. Note that you ideally want to heat just the outside piece (i.e. the nut, or whatever the bolt is sticking into); just heating the bolt won’t make it any better. You can also try to cool the bolt, or a combination of the two.


This is my go-to for cheap penetrating oil.


He did it wrong. First heat the fastener, then apply the wax. With the flame still there, it never had a chance.

I’ve done this successfully a few times, but only out of curiosity. Where I grew up, we fixed 'em with a wrench in one hand and a torch in the other. Nothing beats the heat.

WD40 is okay as a penetrating oil, but there are better. It’s great for preventing frozen fasteners. I’ve also tried the ATF/Acetone mix with zero success. Liquid Wrench is good. K&W Knock 'er Loose is my fave. I supppose YMMV applies.

Still, in Cali, who needs it? Nothing rusts here!


Man, depends on where you live. Live near the ocean? Everything rusts. Live anywhere with a range of hills between you and the ocean, and nothing rusts.

(glad to be living in the “nothing rusts” zone currently).


How dare you try physics while so many others are trying silly jokes! I am disappoint in thee.


What were you using for the ATF? You need to use an old school non-synthetic ATF like Dexron-Mercon II.


I was. I only tried it a couple times, and once it didn’t work for me, gave up on it. There’s still a spray bottle half full of it on the chem’s shelf at work.

So many different metals, so many variables of corrosion, ymmv.