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Sham or Wow? Does the ShamWow Actually Work?

By Edited Apr 7, 2016 0 1

The ShamWow is a bit of an aged product, but I always wanted to try it out. I never had the disposable income, but I found some on the cheap the other day and just had to sleight my thirst with the As Seen on TV product.

For several weeks after I got my ShamWows I spent an above average amount of time spilling things around my apartment. Though if you ask my roommates, I just had an extraordinarily large amounts of accidents with food and liquid.  It was motivation enough to actually go outside and hand wash my car in the warm weather. Mostly though, I spent my time focusing on indoor messes. So I cannot vouch for it picking up things like grease or oil in the garage. So is this product a sham or a wow?


The Claim

ShamWow brags that the revolutionary fabric of the ShamWow, wet or dry, will pick up any spill of mess. It holds 20 times its weight in moisture and will always be thirsty for more. The infomercial went through the usual spiel of showing Vince, the man selling it, cleaning up a whole bunch of messes and showing how well it absorbed. However, many people are convinced that there was some camera magic involved, like there is in my infomercials. The ShamWow is machine washable and air dries quickly. It's claim to fame is that you will save a bundle on paper towels for this reusable cloth.


I did a variety of testing with my ShamWow. I used it to remove the water from my car after washing the winter salt off. I cleaned up soda from carpet. I cleaned up wine from my tile floor (I did not have the guts to spill red wine on the tan carpet of my rented apartment). I used it as a towel and also a bath mat. Finally, I used it for a variety of house cleaning after melting some cheese on the counter and spilling tomato sauce from spaghetti. I only used one ShamWow cloth as i wanted to see if it had some sort of wear down period, so it was machine washed after almost all of these various ventures. Except the wine spill, I hand washed it that time purely because I was concerned for my clothes.

shamwow guy

The Verdict

So, back to the original question. Is it a sham or a wow? It really scores in the middle, I know, you are so shocked. However, it is closer to the wow side. The ShamWow is pretty absorbent and a quite the stress reliever. It is at least a stress reliever for stains on carpet. I spilled water on my carpet at first. Merely laying the ShamWow over the spill is not enough. You need to viciously punchy it, wring it out, then punch some more. It did a pretty good job at absorbing all the water from my carpet, but what was more amazing was the way it absorbed soda from my carpet.

Not only did it absorb the soda, it absorbed the color of the soda. I spilled orange soda, expecting to have to put some spot remover on after, but it absorbed the liquid, the stain dried, but there was no orange stain.

Color me impressed. Though that still did not convince me to spill red wine on my tan carpet. I just can bring myself to commit that particular atrocity.

However, the ShamWow makes a terrible towel. It will absorb water head to toe, but exfoliate the crap out of your skin in the process. The ShamWow is not exactly baby blanket soft. Though it does make a classy bath mat. Shame that it is not bigger or else I would leave it as a bath mat.

Where the ShamWow lacks in softness to be a towel, it excels in being used as a cleaning tool. However it is soft enough to buff a car dry. I was concerned it may leave little scratches, but it wiped the water droplets off my car and made it shine without anything noticeable.

It is also a helpful scrubber for the kitchen. Soap it up and go to town on counters and stoves. Anything stuck on will come off with minimal effort. Though if you are looking for your ShamWow to work on thicker liquids, it leaves something to be desired. For example, it does not pick up tomato sauce well. It kind of just smears it around and makes a bigger mess.

The other downside to the ShamWow is that it loses a lot of the absorbing power over time from being washed. I imagine absorbing water in the washer is kind of hard on it. I washed mine a total of six times before it started to wear out. Not too much, it just started to look like a worn out dish rag and did not hold water quite as well. So that is a major downside. Perhaps washing it by hand would be less harsh, but if you are working with a lot of spills that may not be enough. When I hand washed it from the wine spill, I found it to dry and bounce back rather quickly, but the tint from the wine remained a little bit. So I think detergent may be needed.  You won't exactly replace paper towels with the ShamWow, but you are definitely not getting scammed by it. If anything, I would keep a fresh one around for just carpet spills. I enjoyed beating it into the ground and I enjoyed the absorbency I got for doing it.

So in conclusion, the ShamWow is good for drying cars, cleaning tough dried on kitchen mess, and getting spills out of carpets. However the downside is that it wears out after a few washes. I think it would be a good thing for people to buy if they have a new puppy or kitten that is not yet housebroken. You may have to use some carpet fresh on the spill afterwards, but I reckon the ShamWow would pick up the majority of the potty.



May 6, 2013 7:41pm
I agree with most of your article. Thanks for sharing. Costco had a great deal a while ago on a box loaded with both sizes and now we have them all over our house... under the sinks, in the boat, and in the garage. If your ShamWows are losing absorbency after washing them, perhaps you are using fabric softener in the washing or drying cycle. Fabric softeners actually make towels and dish cloths less absorbent.
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