Brave journalists test San Francisco's urine-repellent spray by peeing on walls

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Now that's what I call yellow journalism!

San Francisco is expanding its use of a "urine repellent" spray on walls in public areas to discourage rampant public urination. But a video made by local news website Mission Local is calling into question the effectiveness of the spray.

The video shows Mission Local volunteers urinating on various walls around San Francisco marked with the city's sign warning "Hold it! This wall is not a public restroom." Despite headlines earlier in the year promising the walls would "pee right back at you," there is no wildly ricocheting stream in the Mission Local video.


The video is embedded below. They are relatively work-safe, unless you are particularly weirded out by seeing trickles of yellow liquid that may or may not have originated from a person.


Mission Local theorized a few reasons as to why the walls weren't returning fire. The angle of the stream might not have been right; a layer of graffiti could have interfered; or the paint may have worn off since July, despite the manufacturer's promise of a year of efficacy.

Here's a video made by San Francisco Public Works last summer of how it's supposed to work, using a bottle of water.

The SF Public Works doesn't seem to be deterred, as ABC7 reports they are in the process of coating 8 more sites, with 11 more on the way, and have created a process where homeowners also can request the urine blocker.


They also told Mission Local that the spray does seem to be working insofar as they have had fewer requests to steam clean locations where it has been deployed, although one of the sites tested by Mission Local, Osage Alley in the Mission, has apparently been a problem area.

More tests will be needed to demonstrate the spray's long-term effectiveness, but that shouldn't be a problem since peeing on things doesn't seem to be a hang-up in San Francisco.