Eli5: How does the Shamwow work?

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The promotional(s) look very convincing, and it really does seem like magic. How does it work?

In: Physics

It has super absorbent microfibers that soak up all the liquids. They are also magical too in that if one is bought another materializes for free!

Shamwow is just a brandname of microfiber (tiny tiny tiny threads) synthetic chamois. The material has existed for longer than Shamwow, it’s sometimes sold as “pack towel”, “synthetic chamois”, or “shammy towel”.

Because of the very very tiny fibers and relatively high density, it has a ludicrous ability to pull water into it via capillary action (surface tension between things that are close together). It’s the same mechanism as a paper towel but there’s waaaaaaay more fibers so it can hold a lot more water. And it’s stronger so you can reuse it. The fibers themselves don’t hold much water, which is why you can wring out so much water by squeezing it.

Shamwow got more notoriety than most similar products because of their “saturation bombing” infomercials that could basically be found 24/7 somewhere on your TV dial, plus the over-enthusiasm of their spokesman, even by infomercial standards.