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ShamWow Review

Updated: August 15, 2016

Bottom Line

Pros

  • Works on some spills
  • Washable and reusable

Cons

  • Not as absorbent as advertised
  • Tends to smear, not absorb spills
  • Will degrade if left in storage
  • Loses absorbency after a few trips through the laundry
Our Analysis
Specs
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Wherefore art thou, oh ShamWow? After it was introduced in 2008, the ShamWow became one of the hottest selling infomercial products of all time. Now, it seems to have dropped off the radar as we found limited availability at online retail sites except for the official ShamWow website.

But the question is: Should you buy it even if you can find it?

Probably not. Based on its over-the-top infomercial, the ShamWow seems like the ultimate solution for cleaning up large spills and leaks. According to testers, while it does hold up to 10 to 13 times its weight in liquid, it leaves behind a soggy mess when you try to wipe up any amount, so you have to use another cloth to dry the area anyway. Also, as Consumer Reports points out, you can buy a heck of a lot of sponges -- which also hold 10 times their weight in liquid -- for the price of a ShamWow.

Users largely agree, saying that the ShamWow really isn't any better than any other, less expensive chamois cloth. Or a roll of paper towels, for that matter. On the other hand, some ShamWow fans love this infomercial product and claim that if used properly, it will indeed hold 12 times its weight in liquid, as advertised. Many use it for lighter jobs, like wiping down their shower walls each day, or they tuck it in their daypack when hiking for toweling off sweat.

The ShamWow comes with a 10-year warranty, but in professional tests and real-world use it simply does not hold up. The Good Housekeeping Research Institute found that it began to lose absorbency after just 10 launderings. Customers who forgot about their ShamWow for a period of time and then found them after a year or so and tried to use them say they had degraded while they were in storage and now left lint behind.

We saw plenty of would-be customers wonder why in the heck they can't order just one or two ShamWows. Right now you have to order a minimum of four, which is $20 plus $8 shipping and handling. Then, you can get four more absolutely free (except an extra shipping charge of $8) and a mop absolutely free (except another $8 shipping). You do the math: that makes it $44 for a pack of eight cloths and a mop described as "flimsy."

In addition, be careful when you place an order, whether via the phone or on the internet. There are plenty of complaints of people who thought they'd canceled their order then received both the product and the bill. There are also numerous complaints of extremely long shipping lead times -- as much as three months.

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