NeverWet's Clear Water-Repelling Spray: Less Magic, More Wet

By Ashley Feinberg on at

When we tried the first iteration of Rustoleum's seemingly magic, liquid-repelling spray, we were actually pretty damn impressed—water beading off toilet paper rolls! Now, though, NeverWet's come out with a version that doesn't leave a gross residue. And while this new NeverWet may indeed be less sticky, it is a hell of a lot more wet.

The main problem with the original hydrophobic spray was that it left a thin, chalky glove covering a treated object and everything it came into contact with. Not so with the outdoor fabric spray; as you can see from the below post-treatment photos, NeverWet Outdoor Fabric dried almost totally clear and with minimal, if any, residue.

NeverWet's Clear Water-Repelling Spray: Less Magic, More Wet

NeverWet's Clear Water-Repelling Spray: Less Magic, More Wet

NeverWet's Clear Water-Repelling Spray: Less Magic, More Wet

Convenient! Unlike the actual treatment process. The application instructions read as follows:

Use outdoors or in a well ventilated area. Use when temperature is above 50ºF (10ºC) and humidity is below 85% to ensure proper drying. Avoid spraying in windy or dusty conditions. Allow to dry outside for 24 hours before use.

So if you live anywhere even remotely rainy. Or humid. Or windy. Or dusty. Or if it's winter. Or late autumn. Or early spring. If any of those apply, there's a good chance you will be out of luck. Granted, the original NeverWet had an even more time consuming (and slightly more toxic) application process in general, but at least you weren't confined to the tiniest sliver of workable weather conditions. To make sure we were giving our chosen specimens the best chance at success possible, it took us two and a half weeks after receiving the product to finally be graced with a day suitable to NeverWet's many needs.

Once we did finally start spraying, we hit a few of the same road bumps as we did when we tested the original NeverWet. The bottles claim to cover 20 to 60 square-feet each, depending on what you're spraying. It took us about three bottles just to cover the shirt, diaper, sponge, and formerly delicious snack cake you see below. And just like last year's version, the spray itself comes paired with a nice throat-burning sensation and a general scent of poison.

NeverWet's Clear Water-Repelling Spray: Less Magic, More Wet

If you ever want to cover anything actually substantial (say, the outdoor patio furniture this product is intended for), you are going to need to shell out for a whole lot of NeverWet. At £20 a pop, that can add up quick. And what's more, it's probably not worth it in the first place.

While the first NeverWet did have that unsavoury residue problem, at least it kept your shit dry. It was for heavy duty jobs, after all, a little stickiness sloughing off is understandable. But this batch is for your more delicate needs. Your trainers, shirts, gloves, jackets, tablecloths, etc. And for what it's worth, Rustoleum definitely took that into consideration—it does dry to a near-invisible silky sheen. But with the less aggressive spray comes a far less effective product.

The sponge might as well have been freshly unwrapped. Unlike the original NeverWet-ed sponge before it, this sucked up water no problem. In fairness, it's not meant for sponges. But the shirt didn't hold up much better. There was barely any beading, and it didn't take more than a few seconds of pouring before the garment was pretty much soaked.

With the diaper, we decided to see if maybe going to to town would help. And after expunging an entire bottle and a half of NeverWet on the baby bottoms, it sort of did! Water beaded for a good 30 seconds before totally permeating the fabric, at least. Which is more than we can say for the shirt. Also, never put NeverWet on something a baby will wear.

But! We did get an almost entirely impenetrable snack cake for a solid minute or so, which probably doesn't say a whole lot about the snack cake but does at least show, with less porous materials, the new NeverWet can get the job done. It's just too bad most fabric happens to be porous.

And either way, what we ended up with was nothing like what was being advertised:

Now, it should be noted that if you were to use NeverWet on, say, an umbrella or outdoor patio, furniture it would probably fair a little better. As you can see in the video below, it does at least help prevent stains on outdoor fabric. Does gunk bead and/or wipe off with the ease above? Not quite, and you'd probably have to reapply (god knows how many bottles) each time whatever you were hoping to keep dry would be getting any sort of heavy use.

Still, you have to use an absurd amount of product to cover such a small area. To do the same for the shirt that we did for the diaper, we would have needed to have gone through five or six bottles before coming out with something workable. So if you're hoping this is the magic solution to your cloth-covered needs, you're probably better off investing in the original set. Or better yet, just get a poncho.