The video that started this journey.
It's Independence Day in the US, and much of our staff is at work near a grill with ketchup and mustard handy instead of office supplies. Though now that we mention condiments, everyone's favorite hotdog toppings did once crossover into Ars daily life. Back in 2013, a certain hydrophobic sealant called Ultra-Ever Dry swept through a niche portion of the Internet thanks to what seemed like a too-good-to-be-true demo video that went viral. Being the rigorous reviewers we are, Ars couldn't sit this one out. So for today's holiday, we're resurfacing this hands-on look at Ultra Ever Dry—ketchup and mustard included. The piece originally ran on May 21, 2013; it appears unchanged below.
You've seen the video, right? An image of what looks like an azure-colored metal floor plate appears, backed by some "Streets Have No Name" guitar knock-off. A mysterious hand is getting ready to soak this thing with a squeeze bottle full of water, but the first squirt yields puzzling results. Water beads up and shoots off the surface, leaving the plate bone-dry. Then the title: "What is Ultra-Ever Dry?"
That sequence has played out nearly two million times through YouTube (it's literally more popular than some official Justin Bieber offerings). The video is an endless cycle of items shrugging off water, mud, oil, dirt, paint, and other stickiness with eye-popping ease. Ultra-Ever Dry claims to be a "revolutionary super hydrophobic coating that repels water and refined oils using nanotechnology." Clearly, either the company has made a pact with the devil and gained supernatural powers, or it's got some awesomely talented materials people.
We were just as amazed as most of you were, and we knew we had to try this stuff out. Two hundred dollars and one expense report later, I had a box full of Ultra-Ever Dry cans sitting on the floor of my office, ready to be applied to things various and sundry.