About Block Out
Dubbed “the invisible barrier that blocks out just about everything,” Block Out is a scent-free hydrophobic spray that completely repels liquid-based stains from most types of fabrics and leather, including nylon, cotton, wool, polyester, polyblends, and much more—even indoor and outdoor furniture, as well as car upholstery. As such, any liquids that come into contact with Block Out will just roll right off.
Despite its ability to repel liquids and keep everything protected, Block Out is claimed to remain breathable after application, won’t irritate sensitive skin, and won’t change the look or feel of your delicate fabrics (more about this in a moment). On top of this, Block Out’s ultra-fine mist is completely safe, even on expensive handbags, and protects in one easy step.
But despite these seeming benefits, does Block Out represent a good value for your hard-earned money? Consider the following:
What Does Hydrophobic Mean?
As you might have already guessed, hydrophobic is defined as, “Repelling, tending not to combine with, or incapable of dissolving in water.” In other words, hydrophobic substances do not allow water to penetrate the surface, which simply rolls away.
What you might not know though, is that despite the availability of hundreds of different hydrophobic substances, sprays, and washes (more about this shortly), “the origin of the hydrophobic effect is not fully understood.” In other words, we don’t have a complete grasp on what exactly is occurring that causes the substances to repel water.
How Safe is Block Out?
Although the manufacturer claims that Block Out Claims is completely safe for your fabrics, it might not exactly be safe for you. Why?
Because according to Block Out’s FAQ: “Use Block Out® ONLY in a well-ventilated area. When using inside, prevent vapor buildup by opening doors and windows. Ensure fresh air entry during application and drying. Do not use near heat, sparks, pilot lights or other sources of ignition. Do not smoke while spraying Block Out®.”
On top of this, it’s noted that “Block Out® should never be sprayed onto articles that may come into contact with the child's mouth and ingested.” As such, you’ll definitely want to take proper precautions before using Block Out.
How Long Will Block Out Last?
According to Block Out’s commercial and website, the hydrophobic spray will last for months, but it’s important to note that this only applies to non-washed fabric, such as upholstery, furniture cushions, handbags, etc. Note: Block Out is not recommended for use on patent leather or vinyl.
In other words, if you apply Block Out to everyday clothing, the spray will immediately come off in the laundry.
Will Block Out Really Protect in one Step?
If the Block Out website is to be believed, the hydrophobic spray protects whatever you need in just one step (spraying it on the fabric of your choice).
However, this might not always be the case. According to Block out’s FAQ, “For new, absorbent or thick articles, a second treatment is recommended. If protection wears off over time, article should be cleaned and retreated. Excessive spraying may leave a slight visible residue on surface.”
Also, if you think that you can just spray Block Out on whatever you need and head out the door (similar to a spray-on starch), you might be disappointed. This is because, although “environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, will effect dry time, in most cases Block Out® will be dry to the touch in just a few minutes. However, 2-3 hours of drying time is recommended for Block Out® to function optimally.”
Block Out’s Competition
Finally, although Block Out’s manufacturer might like you to believe that their spray is revolutionary, the fact of the matter is that hydrophobic products are extraordinarily commonplace.
To see for yourself, simply type “hydrophobic spray,” “waterproof spray,” or “water repellent for clothes” into your favorite search engine and watch how many results appear. In fact, these types of products are so popular that you’ll almost certainly be able to find one or more at local retailers.
On top of this, unlike Block out, many of these options provide continuous protection after being washed, such as Repelify.
Customer Are Talking about Block Out
At the time of our research, there were 13 customer reviews for Block Out on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.3 stars. There, common compliments were that the spray worked well to protect clothes and worked on a variety of materials. On the other hand, some of the most common complaints cited that cans don’t last long, and that when it comes to footwear, Block Out may have a tendency to repel water on the exterior, while still allowing the interior to get wet.
Also, Good Housekeeping performed an in-depth test with Block Out by applying it to a variety of fabrics. Here’s what they found:
- The silk fabric stained.
- The wool crepe fabric did not change in appearance, but did feel a bit stiff from the spray.
- The leather shoes did not change in color, but the leather did pucker a bit and didn't feel as smooth as it did untreated.
- The sneaker changed color, but only very slightly. The feel of the fabric did not change, though.
- The tights, denim, faux-suede slipcover, and cotton t-shirt did not have any changes to the look or feel of these fabrics.
Because of this, Good Housekeeping concluded by noting that they were ultimately pleased that Block Out Repelled stains, but didn’t appreciate the fact that it changed the look and feel of some garments, or that it washed out when being laundered.
From a company perspective, Block Out is manufactured by Swift Response, LLC, an up-and-coming “As Seen on TV” company that also makes Flex Seal. Among 10 HighYa reader reviews for this product, it had an average rating of 2 stars, with common complaints centered around failure to work as advertised, poor quality, and difficulty obtaining refunds.
Granted, you may not experience any of this with Block Out, but it’s certainly something worth keeping in mind.
Block Out Pricing & Refund Policy
Two bottles of Block Out and two travel size cans are priced at $19.99 plus $22.94 S&H (yes, you read that right!), although the manufacturer doesn’t let you know either of the can’s sizes.
Block Out comes with a 30-day refund policy, less S&H charges. This means that by the time you ship Block Out back to the manufacturer, you might lose 33% more in S&H charges than you’ll ultimately receive as a refund.
Regardless, if you’d like to request a refund, you’ll need to contact Block Out customer service at 877-376-6025.
Is Block Out a Waterproof, Foolproof Way to Protect Clothes?
Overall, based on existing customer feedback, Block Out may very well work exactly as the manufacturer claims, and might protect your clothes and upholstery from liquid stains.
However, as we mentioned at the beginning of this review, the real question is: Will Block Out provide a solid value for your money? Like many of the other ASOTV products we’ve reviewed here at HighYa, the fact of the matter is that Block Out comes with extraordinarily high S&H charges—higher than the cost of the product itself—which immediately removes any value the product might provide, especially if you’re dissatisfied and process a return.
Considering this, as well as the immense popularity of hydrophobic sprays and washes, we’d recommend exploring local options before placing your Block Out order.