Coal Oil does have a smell, but I never found it to be a bad smell, of course the rags were damped with coal oil and all excess oil squeezed out. They never needed to have any coal oil added to them once they were damped as they stayed damp for a very long time when kept in a bag. I think it would still be flammable although it would loose much of its ability to be flammable from being exposed to the air.
Back in the 30s they used coal oil to treat lice on animals and people. My Grandfather talked about that.
I once had a mini whose tail would drag the ground several inches and whose mane was super long too and he managed to find some stickers by the creek one winter on a friend's property (he spent the year there before being gelded so he wouldn't be around any mares). His mane and tail were COMPLETELY matted in a matter of days. It was horrible. I was sure I was going to have to shave it or something!! I just happened to read something about using baby oil and I figured I would give it a try. It worked like a charm. Now when I have a horse with tangles or even just a stiff dry mane and tail, I use the baby oil. It is cheap and if you soak the mane and tail, let it sit for a while, then wash and rinse it out, you're left with a clean, detangled, soft and shiny mane and tail! I would image that regular ( maybe weekly ) use would keep the hair from dying and causing excessive breakage from the dryness. I am by no means an expert, but IMO its worth a try.
My grandma said that when she was growing up all they used was either deisel fuel or kereosene (sp)
I also had a pony once who got her mane and tail FULL of burrs. I used an old bottle of vegetable oil.
Otherwise, now I use Cowboy Majic, pretty amazing stuff IMO. Also, MTG, which is somewhat expensive ($15 per bottle) works real good as a detangler, but is great for growing out any kind of hair on the horses
I have never heard of a rag with coal oil on it having spontaneous combustion LOL.The boiling temperature for coal oil is 325 deg (not the flash point but the boiling point) It would be considered a combustable liquid such as kerosene but not a flammmable like gasoline or diesel. The reason for this is because the vapours mix differently in the air than gasoline vapours. Fires don't light themselves.
As with anything including over the counter fly sprays (Konk etc.), aerosols etc used all the time on horses anything flammable should not be stored near fire or heat.
And yes coal oil was used in the 30s and 40s to treat lice on humans and animals alike. My father in law (borni in 1919) talks about getting lice as a boy and going home from school, his mom combing in the coal oil, and when she was done, his dad giving him the strap for getting the lice. Those were the days I guess!!
In the 60s we lived on a dairy farm (rented the house)and the farmer treated all lice on his pigs with coal oil. He used to just drizzle it on the center of their backs from their ears to their tails.
The question was regarding WD 40. Yes you can use it. Dampen the mane first. Horses don't always like the hissy sound the can makes so turn your back and spray your hands and quickly work into small sections of mane. The damp hair allows yout to spread it a little better. If your horse will allow your to spray it be sure to cover the horses eye with your hand to block him from turning his head. The wet your hands and work the spray thro the mane. Finger comb so you don't break any hair.