Can NeverWet waterproof electronics, clothes, or interns? No, but we tried anyway …

Can NeverWet waterproof electronics, clothes, or interns? No, but we tried anyway …

Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about this crazy new hydrophobic spray called NeverWet. It took the Internet by storm a few months ago when it was released, but on the off chance that you haven’t heard anything about it, here’s the skinny: A couple years ago, this company called Ross Nanotechnologies developed a spray-on liquid-repelling barrier, and through a partnership with RustOleum, recently brought the technology to consumers in the form of a two-part aerosol spray called NeverWet.

Ever since this stuff hit store shelves, videos have been surfacing all over the Web that showcase the product being used on everything from fabrics to electronics. It’s being touted as a sort of universal waterproofer you can use on practically anything, so we decided to cut through all the hype and see what it’s actually capable of.

Sure, videos like this one are impressive and intriguing, but would you really want to use NeverWet on your smartphone? What about your wardrobe? As a tech-obsessed team working under the constant threat of sporadic Portland rainstorms, we had high hopes for this stuff. After seeing a few hands-on videos, we dreamt of a utopian future where LifeProof cases and GoreTex jackets were nothing more than ancient artifacts displayed in museums; reminders of our primitive history before the revolutionary advent of spray-on hydrophobic nanocoatings — but that was before we had actually used the stuff. When we finally got a chance to give NeverWet a try for ourselves, all those high-flying dreams came crashing to the ground. It turns out this stuff doesn’t quite live up to all the hype. Check out the video above to see for yourself.

To be fair, we’re not saying this stuff doesn’t work. It does — so long as you apply it properly and there are absolutely no holes in the coating. We did a few trials on things like newspaper and cardboard boxes before we moved on to electronics and clothes, and on that stuff it worked like a charm. The thing is, however, that it’s not so great for stuff like clothes or gadgets. Here’s why:

  1. If even a small amount of water manages to get underneath the thin protective barrier, the coating becomes useless. When we doused Drew’s shirt, some of the water got in through his collar and button holes, and from that point onward it didn’t repel much of anything.
  2. Despite the fact that NeverWet employs nanotechnology to create its hydrophobic barrier, the barrier itself is not nano-scale in size. It’s definitely noticeable. When applied, it leaves a hazy, mildly-coarse residue on whatever you spray. This residue is unpleasant and uncomfortable against your skin, so even if it was the magically infallible waterproofer it’s being touted as, you still wouldn’t want it on your clothes, touchscreen phone, or keyboard.