If I have learned anything since I started growing it is that there is NEVER just one way to do anything. Some methods will suit some growers and most growers will tell you what works FOR THEM, it is all opinion. What works for me, may not work for you but may work for another guy so it comes down to thinking through your methods and finding what works for you and of course, what you are comfortable with.
The way I see it, its all cause & effect.
If you carry out an action, there will be a reaction. By watering the cuttings before roots have shown, there is a high posability that you are washing away the gell. If that is a posability, I wont do it. Remember, when you water usually, you are watering for the roots to feed/drink. Since cuttings have no roots, you dont need to water. All you need to do is make sure the cubes do not dry out. I find that misting daily, along with the high humidity inside a humidity dome stops my cutting drying out.
Going back to when I was having problems and trying to work out a method that worked for me, I took 40 cuttings from 2 varieties of plant. I batched them into groups of 4 + 4 of each variety and treated the 5 groups slightly differently, some with no dome, some misted and watered, etc. This gave me an indicator of what worked best in those circumstances for me. (I know, this is very subjective) Since that experiment, I have used the same method with a 100% success rate. It is as follows.
Pretreat rockwool cubes by soaking in ph'd water with 1ml/l clonex, 1ml/l bio biz root fast. To remove access solution, I "flick" the cube rather than squeeze it. Left over solution is what I mist with!
Take long cuttings with at least 5 internodes from the bottom of the plant and place into a cup of ph'd water.
Once I have taken the cuttings I need, I place a little of the solution into a bowl and make my 45deg cut under water, trim off the bottom 2 intenodes and clip the tips off the 3rd set of leaves. I then place the cutting in a small jar with 50/50 clonex/ph'd water in the bottom and let it soak for 5 mins until I have all my cuttings trimmed.
I make a new hole in the rockwool cube with a pipette and squeeze a little (0.25ml) of the clonex/water solution into the cube where I made the new hole.
I place the cutting into the rockwool cube, squeezing the cube around the cutting to make it secure and get good contact between the clonex/clone and rockwool. Repeat for other cuttings and label the batch.
Mist cuttings, mist inside dome, place under 9W T5.
Mist with solution daily.
After 3 days, open vent 1/3
After another 3 days, open vent another 1/3
Remove dome for 1hr per day but stop misting. Cubes may start to dry out so I place them in a tray with ph'd water to wick water from the bottom up, this stops the jell washing away.
At day 8, dome removed and placed under T5's w3ith lights around 1' away and so the cuttings get some air movement from fan but not in direct path of wind.
Day 10 transplant to next stage as all cutting will now have a good root mass.
You may find part of this works for you and you may develop your own method from the bones of this. I believe most growers here will use this method with some variations. It's what works for me.
Green mojo to you my friend and I hope you find yours soon. W