Spray-on Water Proofers Repel Wine, Maple Syrup

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If you’ve ever spent quality time with a pre-schooler, then you already know that small children have an inborn, genius-level ability to spill things. If there’s a liquid anywhere in their immediate environment, they’ll find a way to spill it and a troublesome fabric to spill it on. It’s a phenomenon that borders on telekenesis, I swear.

A new generation of water repellent sprays, based on nanotech concepts and coming to market via crowdfunding, appears to offer some hope.

For instance, the “super-hydrophobic” Puffin Spray is made from environmentally friendly ingredients, according to the development team, and doesn’t affect the color, texture or “breathability” of the fabric. Initially designed for bicycle seats, the spray can be applied to any kind of fabric — shirts, shoes, tablecloths, car seats, purses and more.

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That’s all very heartening, but there are plenty of spray-on water-repellent products already on the market. What makes Puffin Spray so impressive? Well, animated GIFs, it turns out.

Seeing isn’t necessarily believing, of course, but at this early stage of the game, it’s close enough. The animated GIFs and short presentation video on the product page are pretty encouraging and convincing. Various fabrics are shown being treated with Puffin spray, then completely repelling not just water but liquids including maple syrup and red wine (on white shorts, no less.) The liquids simply bead up and roll off.

Puffin spray works differently from other water repellents because it coats each individual fiber of a fabric on the nano level, rather than applying a coat to the entire surface, according to the promotional materials. The makers aren’t being specific about the science behind the spray, for proprietary reasons, but it appears a key ingredient is silica, or silicon dioxide.

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A similar product, LiquidOff, completed funding in July and got quite a bit more attention (and money). LiquidOff also has some impressive video documentation of troublesome liquids bouncing off various fabrics. LiquidOff has also come up with a special solution for waterproofing your phone or other electronics.

Can this new generation of water-repellent technology save us from the destructive power of telekinetic pre-schoolers? We can only wait and hope.

Credit: Puffin Spray / Kickstarter