garden home &
Company learns to fight green by being green
Wet & Forget is safe to use on virtually any
surface and safe for use next to all landscaping
and plants,” Jenden tells ;e Costco Connection
from his o;ce in New Zealand.
Jenden was so pleased with his new product that he started marketing it to both commercial and residential customers. In no time,
Wet & Forget went from simply helping his
business to becoming his business.
Wet & Forget has since become a household staple in Australia and New Zealand. It is
also widely used in national parks and zoos.
Jenden proudly boasts that Wet & Forget is
the only product trusted to clean the exterior
of the world-famous Sydney Opera House.
Wet & Forget founder
Rod Jenden hits the
streets of America.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF WET & FORGET
ABy David J. Dee APRIL SHOWERS MAY bring May ;owers, but as every homeowner knows, that water also brings far less welcome gi;s, such as
mold, moss and mildew.
Le; untreated, the unsightly stu; takes
hold on all kinds of outdoor surfaces where
you don’t want things growing: the deck,
patio, walkways, outdoor tables and chairs.
Because mold can be a formidable foe, most
outdoor cleaners are loaded with bleach and
other harsh chemicals that need to be power-sprayed onto the surfaces.
Working with all those harsh cleaners
didn’t sit well with Rod Jenden, who was
power-washing walkways and roofs to support himself through boat-building school in
the 1970s. So the 21-year-old native of New
Zealand set out to ;nd a safer but equally
e;ective way to do business.
A;er ;ve years of research and formula
tweaking, Jenden struck gold. ;e product,
which he eventually named Wet & Forget,
was noncaustic, nonacidic and biodegradable, but removed mold, algae, moss and mildew as e;ectively as the traditional cleaners.
“And because its pH level is close to neutral,
Cleaning up in the United States
Jenden was confident that consumers
outside his native country were also in the
market for environmentally responsible products, but he admits that for a long time he
found the prospect of taking on the crowded
U.S. marketplace rather daunting.
“;ere’s a big di;erence between introducing a product in a country of 3 million
and introducing a product to a country of 300
million,” he says.
Finally, in 2008, Jenden opened up shop in
the Midwest and introduced Wet & Forget to
the U.S. To help bridge the marketing di;erences between the two countries, he named
Sea World in Florida became an early
and enthusiastic customer—Perry believes
that getting big public
venues as customers
helps strengthen Wet
& Forget’s credibility
in the eyes of skeptical
Business: Wet & Forget Ltd.
Principals: Rod Jenden, founder (N.Z).
Brett Perry, president (U.S.)
Employees: 14 (N.Z.); 5 (U.S.)
Products at Costco: Wet & Forget is
available seasonally at select warehouses.
The highly concentrated formula comes
in 68-ounce and 1.32-gallon sizes for
household use, and 2. 64 gallons for
commercial and industrial use.
Address: 1671 Todd Farm Drive
Elgin, IL 60123
Comments about Costco: “Teaming
with Costco helps us provide customers
[with] information they
need to get the best
experience using Wet
& Forget. Costco helps
us achieve our goal of
making every sale be
the beginning, not the
end, of our relationship
with the customer.”
It is easy to be skeptical about Wet &
Forget, when so much about it runs counter
to the norm: You apply Wet & Forget only
once. You use a simple pump garden sprayer.
No power-washing. No scrubbing. No rinsing. Once it dries, the cleaner slowly penetrates and li;s stains. (As Jenden explains,
“You apply it, then sit back and let nature do
the rest.” Hence the name.) It can take several
weeks to see significant results, but once
clean, surfaces need only a refresher application on occasion.
“Our experience is that once homeown-
ers and business owners use Wet & Forget,
they never want to go back to the old caustic
products they used before,” says Perry. But, he
adds, “unless customers understand that it is
slow acting, they’re going to be dissatis;ed
when they don’t see the ‘immediate results’
other products promise.”
Costco member Ron Kitlas can attest to
that. Each spring, Kitlas arms himself with
the weapons he needs in his battle to clear
away the mold and mildew that’s crept up on
walkways and other surfaces outside his
northwest New Jersey home.
MARCH 2010 ;e Costco Connection 35
David J. Dee is a Chicago-based freelance writer.