May 11, 2014
When I saw the Never Wet commercial for the first time, I, like you, wanted to buy every can and waterproof my life. I wanted to waterproof my coat, my shoes, mt hat, my shirt–everything! I wanted to be the enemy of water. I wanted to walk into a lake and separate it like Moses. So I was quite excited when I got my first can. I went home and chose two items to water-proof–some knock-about leather shoes I’ve had for a few years, and my fedora.
My Never Wet Review
It pains me to report that Never Wet absolutely ruined both items. Here are my leather shoes, before and after applying Never Wet.
And here is my hat, before and after
As you can see, Never Wet adds a thick, opaque white film to your items, completely ruining them. That said, it still works. Watch the video below. In it, I show how Never Wet worked and made them waterproof, but totally destroyed them.
The Never Wet box depicts a pair of leather boots. In the before shot, the boots are covered in mud. In the after shot, the boots have faded just so slightly, but look mostly normal.
In reality, Never Wet coats your shoes in a sticky white film. Worse than that, it doesn’t last. After treating my shoes, I wore them out once–only once! It was a rainy day, and I went out with my family to see a concert. My shoes spent a lot of time in my car, in the theater, and only briefly out in the elements as I walked from car to venue.
At the end of the day, Never Wet was peeling off my shoes. I applied it perfectly. I took special care to read the instructions on the box, and get it right. I even went so far as to read every scrap of advice on the Never Wet website, just to make sure I wasn’t making any mistakes. Despite my precautions, Never Wet turned my shoes white, and the application didn’t even last one day before peeling.
Like the shoes, Never Wet turned my hat white. It is a felt hat, so Never Wet collected in droplets at the tips of felt fibers, giving my hat a white speckled look. That said, Never Wet worked well.
I wore the hat out the same day I wore the shoes, but unlike the shoes, Never Wet stayed on my hat. I have worn the hat many times since then, and Never Wet did not wear off. You can see in the video above that Never Wet was working right up until the end.
I believe this is because my hat did not change shape at all while I wore it, but my shoes were constantly flexing as I walked. I believe Never Wet does not work on items that change shape or move. It is only functional on static objects, like bricks, walls, and, apparently, hats.
How to Remove Never Wet
Never Wet was a huge disappointment for me. I tried using some laundry detergent to scrub it off my shoes, as the website suggested, but this did nothing. So I purchased a bottle of Mineral Spirits. You can get some here:
As you can see in the video below, I had to scrub my hat and shoes vigorously with a toothbrush to remove Never Wet. But, after many hours of work, I succeeded.
The leather shoes took the longest to fix. After removing Never Wet with the mineral spirits, it left behind a glossy, slightly sticky sheen. This wasn’t too bad, but I wanted to get my shoes back to normal so I could clean them, wax them, and get them looking good. It took three applications before I finally stripped Never Wet off of my shoes. In the end, I also had to use minor applications of nail polish remover to scrub away some shiny patches.
The hat was easier. After one application of mineral spirits, Never Wet was completely destroyed. It soaked my hat, however, and I had to leave it to dry overnight. I think my hat is slightly darker now, but not by much. Here are the other tools I used, mentioned in the video:
After experimenting with a few other products, I finally found one that did not change the color of my items, and still made them water proof. These cans are ten dollars cheaper than Never Wet, and you get three times as much product.
How to Water-Proof Your Leather Shoes
- In a well ventilated area (I used my front porch), spray the waterproofing spray on your shoes. Keep the can about 8 inches away from your shoes, and don’t go over the same place twice. DON’T Get your shoes soaked with the spray.
- Wait 30 minutes.
- Apply a second coat.
Using this method, I have kept my leather shoes waterproof for many months. After about three months of regular use, you will need to reapply the spray to your shoes.
Do you have any horror stories with Never Wet? Let me know in the comments below.
Video Transcript – Neverwet Reviews
So I recently applied NeverWet to a number of different items and I’m going to review that process with you. My little boy is wanting to play so you’ll probably hear him periodically, but I wanted to show off how it works first. It comes in these two cans, the base coat which is basically an adhesive and then the top coat which is the thing that repels the water, and the marketing website and the box says that it can be used on a number of different materials including shoes. Well, I wanted to show you what this product actually does to a pair of leather shoes.
This is after one day of wearing it, and as you can see it completely destroys the shoe. To the credit of the product it does actually work, it makes it completely water repellent, however this used to be a pleasant almond color. What my little boy? This used to be a nice almond color and now it’s completely opaque. It’s also patchy, you can see the before shot that it looked like a nice shoe, the after shot, it looked completely white, and after one day’s use it’s already starting to peel.
So if you want to use NeverWet it’s going to work but it’s going to ruin your leather shoes. The thing that insults me about this product is that they do actually market it for shoes. If you take a look at the box, they have a before and after shot of a pair of leather work boots, and the after shot looks like the shoe hasn’t changed at all, but look at this, this is a significantly different change than the change that they depict not only on their box but on their website as well. In fact, of all of the different substances that they say you are supposed to be able to use NeverWet for, one of the once they explicitly say you can use it on are leather boots. Now these are not boots but it is leather, and it should work on this product and now these shoes are completely ruined.
As I said earlier, it does work remarkably well, even a few days after initial application on the parts that are still white from the NeverWet, and then look at that it just flies off in all directions and shakes right off, but in the parts where the NeverWet has worn off, look at that, it’s collecting water, it’s soaking it right out, you see how it’s still wet there on the surface. Now I will remind you, that this is just from one day of walking. I didn’t spend… I spend nearly five hours walking this day, and just in the natural course of one day of walking, it’s peeled off this much. Making it completely useless.
Video Transcript – How to Remove Neverwet
So you’ve ruined your prized pair of leather shoes by using NeverWet. In our previous video I showed you why I feel the NeverWet is not a good choice for clothing, and I showed up this horrible nightmare of what NeverWet did to a pair of shoes that I own and used to love. But in fact I still do love them because I’m going to go through the effort of fixing them. Now the company says that you can remove NeverWet from a variety of substances just by simply using laundry detergent. However that didn’t really work for the spot that I tested on my pair of shoes. So I’m resorting to using minerals spirits. You could try paint thinner but I’m going to start with mineral spirits, and I purchased a toothbrush specifically for this purpose. This was the cheapest one at the store, and it is Snoopy brand, which I guess tells you a little bit about the Snoopy brand. But I’m going to show you exactly how this works. So the mineral spirits is a very kind of milky substance. What you do is you take your brush, just dip it in the bottle or I suppose you could pour it into a dish, and scrub in one direction. This one will take for quite some time. I say it took me about 30 minutes to complete both shoes.
As you can see from the photo, I ended up with a really glossy shoe and that’s because the first coat of NeverWet is a really glossy, sticky substance and I’m having a hard time getting it off. I tried numerous applications of the mineral spirits and well I got most of it, I’m still left with a little bit of a slightly tacky residue. I’m going to go ahead and let it dry overnight and hopefully it’ll remove the residue. I’m next going to move on to my hat. If you saw it from my previous video where I have reviewed NeverWet, remember that I applied NeverWet to my fedora hat. It’s a wool felt cap, and it ruined my cap. So I’m going to go ahead and use the mineral spirits to try and remove the NeverWet from my cap and see what the results are. All right so there we have it, the hat is clean. The gummy substance is off and eradicated, and the white-colored anti water part is definitely gone. But what we’re left with is a very heavy hat. The hat has absorbed almost all of the mineral spirits that we’ve put into it. So we’re going to have to let it dry and hopefully it’ll release lot of that liquid and go back to its original color.
It’s still very close to its original color. I think it was just a slightly lighter gray when we started. The only downside that I see is that, since it’s felt, it’s a wool and it’s got some little felt pieces that kind of stick up all over that have caught the NeverWet and formed a little globby or balls. And so in order to give it a dose we need a deep peeler. This is a device that kind of skins the surface of the fabric and chops off, snips off all the little hairs that stick out in the globby of glue, basically. So these are fairly cheap, I’ve got one linked in the description of this video. If you want to have like this I also have a link in the description of this video. What we’re going to do is we’re just going to go over the surface with this and snip off all of the little globs that are sticking to the surface. There we go, looking much better. It has maintained its form, which is very important. And so now we’ll just let it to dry. You can see exactly what we’ve snipped off. Not the whole lot, it’s just the excess lint. There and you can see the white powdery stuff and a lot of globs on top so. That’s what it does.
All right ladies and gentlemen, so just some notes on cleaning a felt hat or if you decide to use NeverWet on a fabric and then you, of course, ruin it, and so you want to get it off, I found that getting the mineral spirits on to the hat wasn’t enough. It will start to dissolve the glue, but what really gets it off is the scrubbing action of the toothbrush. I found that as I just kept scrubbing the same spot over and over again, that layer after layer of the stuff won’t come off until I was left with just the felt underneath. And that was the same with the leather shoes as I was going through those. So you’re going to have to sit there and we’ll end scrub really thoroughly to get it all out and then let them dry. I’m going to let it dry overnight but I’m not going to quirk myself doing that. But this has been drying for about two hours now, I got up and went. And just to give you an idea of what to expect, it’s still kind of sticky. It’s still kind of sticky which is the leftover glue residue from the NeverWet, and it’s discolored in many places, I don’t know if you can tell. But there’s a discolored section it’s kind of spotty, and I don’t know if this will ever be back to the way they were before.
If you use them on leather dress shoes it’s quite possible that it will ruin your leather dress shoes. See the video that I recorded earlier that talks about how NeverWet works and what it did to some of my clothing, this episode is just trying to show you how to remove them once it’s on there. While the look of your item is going to go back to almost normal, the texture is still very sticky. So I’ll continue to apply coat after coat of the mineral spirits trying to get this sticky residue off, and hopefully it will get fixed. If you don’t have a hardware store nearby and you can’t get mineral spirits, I’ve got the kind that I use linked in the description of this video, and then that should do it. So let me know in the comments what you think. If you feel the same way that I do about NeverWet, you should check out some of the reviews of NeverWet on Amazon. I’ve linked to them here on this video, in the description of this video. And I’m not the only one. People from all over the world are saying that they were caught up in the marketing message of NeverWet. And they saw the before and after photos and they thought it would be safe on their garments and they were equally fooled as I was.
The reviews were never better or pretty at this moment on Amazon and some of them are funny. That said, this stuff does work. I mean it ruins your fabric but it does make it waterproof as I showed on my previous video. The water touched my hat and ricochet away I just couldn’t find the stuff. So the product works for very specific things like maybe cement or something that doesn’t have a visible aesthetic that you’re trying to keep up. But they marked it as an item that’s suppose to work for boots. There’s a picture of boots right on the box and the before and after shots were exceedingly misleading. So they definitely have failed in marketing this product. They have taken advantage of their customers. They’ve ruined their reputation in the eyes of many of their customers and I don’t know if they’ll ever get it back unless they come up with an apology and start to re-brand their product. But other than that, thanks for watching and please leave a comment below.