Like so many others, we were duly impressed with the first videos of Ross Nanotechnology's proprietary superhydrophobic coating NeverWet when they hit the web just under two years ago. The product has since been licensed by Rust-Oleum, allowing "NeverWet to focus on developing and refining products without getting lost in the issues related to manufacturing and selling them." The Lancaster Online article continues:
"We look at ourselves as an innovation company, not as a manufacturer," [Daniel Hobson, NeverWet's chief executive officer,] said.
The Conestoga Valley Industrial Park company's first innovation began as its then-parent's solution to a basic, industrial problem. About five years ago, Ross Technology Corp. needed a better way to reduce corrosion on the steel products it makes here. When they couldn't find one, they decided to make something on their own.
But soon, the small group of scientists working on the anti-corrosive coating saw a lot of new possibilities for the nano-particle coating that kept things clean, dry and free of bacteria and ice. The group became Ross Nanotechnology, a subsidiary of Ross Technology Corp.
As of about four weeks ago, NeverWet has been available at Home Depot for just under $20 a pop. After seeing the video above and a similar (unembeddable) demo on the product page on Home Depot, I was strongly considering getting my hands on it to try it out... until I started reading the reviews.
It so happens that the 3.8 out-of-five-stars review belies quite a bit of backlash. Apparently, the initial videos don't tell the whole story, as users have offered a fair share of negative feedback concerning the unsightly residue and unseemly transience of the putative miracle coating. Reviews across the board note the "milky" or "frosted" appearance of treated objects—one four-star review goes so far as to call it "kinda nasty looking"—with the caveat that it adds an undesirable bluish tint to black textiles and leather.
But even in cases where the color and texture—described as a "tackiness/grittiness"—are of no concern, early reports suggest that NeverWet is prone to rubbing off. Top 10 reviewer Doresoom—who "received product for free in exchange for honest feedback" (as several other commenters did)—notes that "the coating comes off on your hands with light handling. It almost looks like chalk, and feels a little sticky." At least a few caveat emptor videos have hit the web already, and they're a far cry from the viral marketing shorts:
As PapaFox notes in his five-star review, NeverWet is also sensitive to UV exposure, and he concludes that it only works for single applications. "I thought this product would change the world. If it sounds too good to be true, most likely it is."
In fairness to NeverWet, the company is looking to improve the product, and it may simply be the case that Rust-Oleum jumped the gun in bringing the household product to market before it was ready.
While the current Rust-Oleum NeverWet leaves a frosty haze, Hobson said a transparent application will "absolutely" be among the future versions of a product he expects to become a staple in household garages everywhere.
"Ultimately we're licensing it so that we can be the WD-40 for the next 100 years," he said.
We're not placing our bets just yet, but we gotta respect their aspirations... anyone else care to share their experience with the product thus far?