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7 Simple Ideas: What to Put on Rocks to Make Them Look Wet

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Have the rocks and minerals in your collection lost some of their initial vibrancy and luster? It’s common for the vibrant colors of freshly cleaned and polished specimens to fade over time. However, restoring that brilliant, just-unearthed pop is surprisingly easy with the right strategy.

Oil and silicon-based solutions such as polyurethane Minwax or other polyacrylic solutions labeled as “sealers” are proven to leave a rock shiny-wet for years but can yellow it after time in UV light. Water-based solutions are preferred for most applications. DIY tricks include clear nail polish, toothpaste, vinegar, and car wax.

Depending on where you display your stones and their material properties, you may be fine using household solutions alone, or you might need to use a combination of products to achieve a lasting, glassy look.

What to Put on Rocks to Make Them Look Wet
What to Put on Rocks to Make Them Look Wet?

If you want to check out the best solution for making your rocks look wet, you can find them by clicking here, here, and here (Amazon links).

Oil Solutions for Making Rocks Look Wet

Oil can indeed work wonders in maintaining the appearance of wet rocks, providing a stunning and long-lasting finish. While water is the source of the desired effect, oil plays a crucial role in sealing the moisture within the rock’s pores, preventing it from evaporating.

When opting for oil solutions, it’s essential to choose water-based artificial oil solutions rather than pure oil. These solutions effectively penetrate the rock’s surface and create a sealant to retain the moisture, without compromising the natural beauty of the rocks.

Many commercial-grade products designed for landscaping purposes achieve the same goal of making rocks appear wet. While these products generally work well, you may require additional assistance, such as resin sprays, for optimal results in certain applications.

  1. Receives a lot of UV light,
  2. Includes some rocks that have very few pores or
  3. Face harsh exterior conditions such as wind and rain.

When you apply these oil products, do not forget to do so outdoors, especially if they are in spray form. Many say odor-free, but the odor is just one of the things you do not want in your lungs!

  1. Polyurethane Mixtures

Polyurethane mixtures are the most popular form of oil coating used for this purpose. Some sources site coatings like this to last for 15 years, which is very good compared to other solutions, especially homemade ones. 

These products (Amazon link) can be water-based – but you’ll want to look especially for water-based versions because they aren’t always labeled most clearly.

You will find this type of product in the paint or outdoors section in the hardware store, and it usually takes the form of a spray or paint can. 

While water-based, anything unnatural tends to discolor in harsh UV light. However, it will discolor more slowly and less noticeably than products that aren’t water-based.

  1. Natural Oils

Environmentally minded and curious rockhounds, while still being serious about a glossy finish for their stones, will opt for the second option – the natural oil. The main problem with most kitchen oils is that they tend to chemically break down after some time. 

Jojoba oil (Amazon link) is the popular natural oil for rock polishing because it’s actually wax and is a bit more stable than cooking oils. You may have never heard of this oil, but it is around and typically used for skin care and other organic treatments.

When using an oil like this, applying water before the oil may be tempting. On the contrary, make sure to dry the stone thoroughly before soaking it in a natural oil – the oil is repelled from the rock’s pores if there is water inside, and the shine will not last as long as a result.

TIP: Before applying some of the methods mentioned in this article, you need to clean your rocks. Find out more about five simple ideas on how to clear your rocks and minerals in the article below:
How to Clean Your Rocks and Minerals: 5 Simple Ideas

Other Manufactured Products

  1. Silicon Aerosol 

Silicone products are ideal for enhancing the appearance of rocks, providing a glossy, wet look. They are widely available and easy to use, typically sold as aerosol sprays found in hardware stores’ paint sections. These sprays offer water-resistant properties, making them suitable for outdoor displays and lasting for approximately a year. For those interested, I recommend considering this specific water-resistant silicone spray available on Amazon.

  1. Resin or Gloss

Resin is a material that is highly resistant to exterior conditions. For this reason, it is a great material to apply after other products, which are better for creating a wet look. Think of a resin gloss (Amazon link) as the sealant you put on a wood door to keep the color from fading.

Many rockhounds with serious collections use this after a polyacrylic, water-based solution to achieve results that last reliably over 10 years.

The trick with these is that you must find one that is suited for the circumstances that will face the rocks you want to apply it to. For instance, resins sold for indoor use will discolor quickly if left outdoors for too long. Some manufacturers also call resins glosses.

These typically come as a pour-on solution. For smaller rocks, the best way to do this is to let the rocks soak for a while.

For larger ones, there are clothes made specifically for resin application, so do not forget to pick up one of those if you have a landscape decoration-style rock that you’d like to permanently wet.

TIP: Have you ever heard about dyeing rocks with food colors? Well, this activity is quite popular among people. Find out more about this interesting activity in the article below:
How to Dye Rocks with Food Coloring? Follow These 5 Steps

Homestyle Remedies and DIY Ideas

Are you the kind of person who loves rolling up your sleeves and getting hands-on with projects? If so, get ready to explore a world of creative possibilities for enhancing the beauty of your rock collection.

We’re about to delve into some clever DIY methods that can breathe new life into those dull-looking stones you’ve collected. But before we start mixing and experimenting, here’s a golden rule: always ensure your rocks are polished to perfection with the finest grit available. Whether you’ve used a trusty rock tumbler, smoothed them down with sandpaper, or delicately worked them with a Dremel tool, this crucial step lays the groundwork for a truly stunning finish.

Keep in mind, that when you’ve polished quartz and other tough minerals just right, they’ll practically gleam with a natural, eye-catching luster. With that essential step covered, let’s uncover the magic of DIY rock-shining techniques together!

  1. Vinegar and Baking Soda

You may have heard of people cleaning jewelry and many other things with vinegar and baking soda. Not surprisingly, there have been mixed results using this to make rocks look wet. 

Vinegar cleans things by reacting with dirt and other impurities, breaking them off their host and therefore making the product look cleaner, smoother, and more attractive.

The problem is that a rock’s wet look comes only in part from the absence of impurities. You may have experienced the fact that you can sand and polish a rock perfectly and still not achieve the shine that comes when it’s wet.

Vinegar will help to remove impurities and, therefore, make the rock shinier, but it will not stay long in the pores of the rock and will leave it with its dry appearance just days afterward.

  1. Car Wax

Car wax works well to polish rocks. Just get a rag (not the one you use to wax your car!), apply a dab of wax, and buff it on the rock.

The main caveat to using car wax is that the rock must be seriously smooth for the wax to rub on very well. Other liquid solutions are better for coarser rocks.

Another great way of applying this material is using a Dremel with a buffing attachment, dipping it in the wax, and carefully using the powerful tool to get into all the rock crevices. This will make for a wholly wet appearance.

TIP: The dremel drill is a great tool for polishing rocks. If you are interested in polishing rocks with a dremel drill, check out the article below and follow these four simple steps:
How to Polish Rocks With a Dremel Drill? Follow These 4 Steps

  1. Clear Fingernail Polish, Toothpaste, and More

Many claim that, among its varied uses, clear fingernail polish will keep a wet shine on a rock. Because it’s just oil and acid, it has some properties similar to the manufactured solutions I’ve already recommended.

Because of this, it may be fun to try this out, but there is not enough evidence supporting this solution to back it completely.

Toothpaste is a bit more of a stretch but has been fabled to create a lasting wet look on rocks. Toothpaste has proven to be a good cleaning tool, like vinegar, so it may be able to remove enough impurities on your stones to make them look shiny. Give this one a shot, but do not forget to floss them too!


To wrap it up, don’t be afraid to go out and buy a commercial solution for this one. Displays can be made much better by the color pop a permanently wet-looking rock achieves.

Many products are water-based, not too harmful to the environment, and cheap, widely used, and proven in landscaping applications. 

TIP: A Dremel drill can be used not for polishing rocks only but also for cutting rocks. So, what are the best Dremel drills? Check out the three best dremel drills in the article below:
3 Best Dremels for Polishing Rocks & Crystals + Accessories