I'm sure you've seen videos of super hydrophobic surfaces making their rounds on social media, most notably NeverWet from Rustoleum, whose video wowed me into hunting down a couple of cans and giving it a go. I image you've experience the frustration of spilling food or maybe a glass of wine on your favorite shirt only to find that no dry cleaner in the world can remove the stain. I've killed Burberry shirts and Galliano pants and even a pair of blue suede shoes so I was pretty eager to curb my destructive ways.
I hopped online and ordered the mystical spray. It arrived as a two can set--a base layer and a top coat, with some pretty exacting directions for application. I liked the standing water demo in their video so I grabbed a piece of cardboard and followed their directions, meticulously. I waited the requisite drying time and was amazed to see water cascade off my tester. Now armed with confidence, I grabbed a couple different garments (like the video) and began applying the base coat to a pair of Fisk shoes, my Senz Umbrella and an Armani Jeans jacket I liked to wear when the weather was bad.
I applied the base coat and was immediately apprehensive--it looked like there was a milky white layer over the khaki shoes, red umbrella, and black jacket. I thought it may be an issue of drying time, or that the top coat would react and render the solution clear, but man was I wrong.
I didn't notice in the video, until I re-watched it later, that they only ever applied their product to white garments. In the bit where the guy sprays mustard on himself, he is wearing a white t-shirt, white pants and white shoes! I initially thought that was to illustrate the contrast of the bright yellow mustard--but I've since realized it's because the NeverWet turns everything white. Rewind to the cardboard demo and you'll even see what looks like white frosting around the edges. I thought nothing of it at the time.
So now I have a milky whitish pair of shoes, a light red umbrella, and a dingy Armani jacket. And the worst part--aside from how the clothes feel with the solution applied--is that the solution doesn't really work. I was meticulous about applying both coats evenly and from the correct distance but when I drip water on the surface, the liquid finds any gap in the protection, seeps into the fabric and then spreads underneath the NeverWet solution effectively discoloring the product.
While I usually promote items on this blog I wanted to offer a word of warning--don't buy NeverWet for your clothes. And for the price, don't buy it for your cardboard boxes either...just go buy a cooler.
Notes: Home Depot provided a full refund for the product. This guy had more luck applying NeverWet, though still on white shoes, and gets the credit for the thumbnail photo.
Joshua Davis is a full time image and lifestyle coach helping clients take control of their image as a tool for good communication.