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9 Uses for NeverWet by Rust-Oleum (and Pros and Cons!)

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Hiking boots treated with NeverWet will keep your feet dry - at least for a while.

Hiking boots treated with NeverWet will keep your feet dry - at least for a while.

9 Practical (and Impractical) Uses for NeverWet

Suggestions made by actual users of NeverWet show that despite its limitations, it can have some substantial usefulness that makes it worth its price.

  1. Indoor Cleanup: Litter box scoops treated with NeverWet make cleanup a breeze. The product can also be applied on the outside of disposable litter box liners for even better protection. It is a great product for treating toilet plungers and brush cleaners, though they will occasionally need to be retreated or replaced.
  2. Umbrellas: Imagine not having to dry your umbrella when you finally come in from out of the storm! No drips in tile entryways that can lead to a dangerous fall.
  3. Patio Stairs: While it might not be practical for year-round use, applying NeverWet before ice storms or heavy rains could prove to be a life-saver, literally! It won't deteriorate concrete like salt will, and it's not necessary to wait for ice to melt.
  4. Cardboard Forts for the Kiddos: Remember how much your toddlers loved playing in cardboard boxes? As they get older, the same idea can make a terrific cardboard house outdoors, but in humid climates they won't last long without some sort of protection. Ellen Foord rose to Rustoleum's challenge to put NeverWet to good use by creating a cardboard house for her daughter. After a week and a half, it was still going strong.
  5. Protect Outdoor Gear: Outdoor enthusiasts can use this for rain protection or as a hedge against lake and river water. It's noted for working well on military-style boots, but remember that it leaves a white film that's also reported to be slightly gummy, which could potentially attract debris.
  6. Autumn Leaf Cleanup: If you hate the feel of wet, soggy leaves, treating the inside and outside of your work gloves can keep your hands dry. Although the product isn't recommended for all fabrics, its water-repellent properties will work well for temporary uses.
  7. Creative Outdoor Décor: Home Depot, the leading carrier of NeverWet, recently posted a Pinterest inspiration that captured my imagination. Because it's nearly invisible on dry concrete, stenciled messages only become visible in the rain. This would be fun on block walls, low-traffic areas of sidewalks, and possibly provide subtle "don't run" reminders next to the pool that the kids would actually notice!
  8. Prevent Rust: For small parts that rust easily on bicycles and other sports equipment, NeverWet can prolong their life span as long as the parts aren't subjected to heavy contact with other surfaces.
  9. Sabotage: Sabotage the other contestants in a wet t-shirt contest. Enough said.

It Repels Water From Clothing and More

The first time we saw the NeverWet video (above), my husband and I were super excited about this product's possibilities. Who wouldn't be? No more nasty, wet toilet brushes! We'd be able to stay dry while camping in a tent in a rainstorm! And no mud on our boots when we come back from hunting morel mushrooms in the springtime!

Unfortunately, the product wasn't available to consumers yet, so we weren't able to rush out and plunk down a few bucks to try it out. On the other hand, it didn't take long for it to reach the shelves. Apparently, we weren't the only people who were antsy to try out this miracle product. Rust-Oleum is now the official manufacturer of NeverWet, and it's available at hardware stores and online for about $20-30.

Yet we've still held off on buying it. Keep reading to learn why.

The hydrophobic effect can be seen on leaves that have a waxy surface. The water droplets just roll right off.

The hydrophobic effect can be seen on leaves that have a waxy surface. The water droplets just roll right off.

What Does Hydrophobic Mean?

The fancy word for water repellent is hydrophobic—fear of water—and it doesn't just mean a person's afraid to swim. It's also what happens when water is not compatible with another substance and cannot penetrate it. Wax cups are hydrophobic, for instance, and we all know the old saw, "Oil and water don't mix."

If you watched the video above, you saw that NeverWet capitalizes on this principle. It's not the first product to do so. Rain-X has been making it safer to drive in the rain for years. I use it on my windshields because it keeps water droplets from clinging to the glass and makes it easier for my wipers to do their jobs. Scotchgard products have been the product of choice for protecting indoor carpet and furniture from spills for over half a century!

NeverWet seems to take these same principles to a higher level, allowing consumers to use an ordinary paint can for easy application on any surface for protection against virtually anything that contains water—including mustard, mud, and even chocolate syrup.

How NeverWet Works

Applying NeverWet is a two-step process. As shown in the video, it requires a base application and a topcoat. Although it appears to be pretty straightforward, there are important points to consider when applying it to any surface:

  • It may require at least two base coats, each of which must dry completely before adding top coat.
  • It's important to give the base coats plenty of time to cure completely before applying the next coat.
  • It can take up to four topcoat applications to seal completely.
  • Smooth, even strokes must be used for best results.
  • It will dry with a milky or bluish color and should not be used on anything where color is important. (If you didn't get it applied uniformly, your final result will show it.)

Manufacturer Guidelines

  • Abrasion beyond normal wear can reduce effectiveness.
  • Although effective against high-pressure water applications, product lifespan may be reduced.
  • Should not be used on items that are continuously underwater because some air is needed for it to remain effective.
  • The water-repellent effect should return after soaps or chemicals are removed.
  • Product is effective on glass but is not transparent.
  • If used on fabric (not recommended for dress clothes or fabrics that contain colors if a chalky film is undesirable), both sides must be coated for impenetrability.
  • The product can be re-applied as necessary, as long as the top coat is removed via scuff-sanding. For complete removal, mineral spirits after lightly sanding is recommended.
  • Test on an inconspicuous area if using on colored surfaces.
  • UV-resistant, but does not provide UV protection for objects it's applied to.

The Fine Print (and the Not Printed at All)

Although the developers show an iPhone being dipped in a pitcher of water and still working after being treated with NeverWet, Rustoleum's packaging warns against using it on electronics. Remember that as a sealant, this product can prevent electronics from cooling down when they're being used, and heat is the number one enemy of electronics!

Another thing that isn't advertised is that this product's effectiveness is diminished if it comes into contact with soaps, oils, and friction. This makes it impractical for many of the applications consumers might want to use it for. Although the packaging notes that it is a temporary protection, buyers may feel duped if they don't understand these limitations!

Because my husband and I are considering purchasing NeverWet to treat our boots and gloves, I decided to check out whether it's worth the $25 it'll cost us. I found a lot of interesting information that I'll share with you.

Business Week undertook a humorous series of "tests" that produced some mixed results. And here is a sampling of the drawbacks consumers reported after using NeverWet:

  • "Too expensive to treat a sofa, and it doesn't last long when people sit on it regularly."
  • "Changes the look of colored fabrics."
  • "Didn't provide complete waterproofing." (This is likely due to improper application.)
  • "Left my outdoor wooden planter looking ugly." (In the video, they used only white clothing and products that were white or gray, not showing the product's effects on colored items.)
  • "After I bought it, I discovered the manufacturer says it's not meant for clothing."

Although Slate produced an extremely negative article on the product, its developer, Andy Jones responded directly. He pointed out that the Slate author did not use the product as instructed, but also confessed that he himself is to blame for some of the negative response reported by certain users. "It never came into my calculus that someone would even spray an entire phone. But Rust-Oleum was afraid that's exactly what would happen and they were right."

Nonetheless, if applied properly to the right applications, consumers say it works exactly as predicted. As a bonus, creative people have found some additional interesting uses for NeverWet that may surprise you.

Benefits of Hydrophobic Products

When used properly, hydrophobic products can keep you (and your belongings) safer and more comfortable. Water-repellent products all have limitations, and they require a bit of a learning curve to figure out how to get the best results. But if you have expensive products that you need to keep dry, or you want to protect your own comfort temporarily, NeverWet is just one of the hydrophobic materials that might be suitable.

I swear by Rain-X for my windshields, and can't imagine going back to untreated glass when I'm out in a heavy storm! I'll definitely be applying NeverWet to my boots before I go out in search of morels again because it seems like I always manage to step in the stream instead of jumping across it, and I really hate the feel of wet socks. Ditto for leaf cleanup—my gloves will not get drenched with cold nasties this fall! If we have any left over, I'll try it on the cat litter box scoop, but I admit, I wouldn't buy the product for that use alone!

What about you? Will you try NeverWet? I'd love to hear how your PG-rated stories of how you'll use it.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 jellygator


jellygator (author) from USA on October 04, 2016:

That's an excellent and practical use!

Mark B on September 29, 2016:

I coated the underside of my mower deck (after thoroughly cleaning). Now it repels grass from sticking.

jellygator (author) from USA on February 16, 2014:

It would work amazingly well on shower doors, but I don't know how often it would need to be reapplied. The reviews say it wears of quickly on surfaces that are regularly brushed up against, but shower doors might be the best application I've heard of yet.

joygirl173 on February 16, 2014:

I was wondering if I could apply this to the inside of my shower doors? It would help a ton with the soap scum build up and I would not have to reapply it as often as I do rain X? Any thoughts?

jellygator (author) from USA on September 12, 2013:

Thank you both for stopping by and commenting. MJennifer, if you find that it's less expensive ordering it from this page, please do!

Dianna Mendez on September 11, 2013:

You have given me an idea for using this on winter gloves. They tend to get so soggy when you are playing in the snow (kids that is). I can see how this would help to keep them dry.

Marcy J. Miller from Arizona on September 11, 2013:

I wasn't aware this product existed -- and I'm already recognizing a dozen potential uses around my house and barn. Shower doors? Oh yeah! I'll be picking some NeverWet up at my next visit to the hardware shop. Thanks for the info!

Best -- MJ