Product Test: Fix It and Steam Buddy

January 22, 2010 8:47:43 PM PST
You've probably seen the commercials for Fix It for Wood and for The Steam Buddy. We decided to put those products to the test to see if can save you money on furniture repairs and dry-cleaning bills.

First, we tested Fix-It for wood -- the package describes it as an "instant scratch remover" -- and the commercial shows what look like giant scratches disappearing off wooden surfaces with just a few wipes. It costs $10.00.

After donning protective gloves, I followed the directions and sprayed some of the Fix It for light wood on a cloth.

Then I rubbed it into a small scratch on a dining room table. And though the bottle was marked "light," the fix-it was clearly darker than the wood.

Next, we tried the "dark" Fix It on a dresser. It didn't appear to be as dark as that wood.

Finally, we tried the light wood Fix-It on a scratch on this table leg. Again, at first, it looked darker than the wood, but as it dried, it got lighter. That made the scratch less noticeable, but it wasn't completely filled-in or removed.

We checked with Simoniz USA, Inc, -- the company that makes Fix-It -- and here's what they're spokesman Roger Shuler had to say:

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to answer your questions. When using Fix it for Wood an exact color match is not required. On light colored wood, the light formula will add color and a moderate filler to a scratch. The same applies to darker colored wood. Our product is intended to color and cover light scratches on furniture and woodwork."

Bottom line: Fix It will can make some scratches less obvious, so you might get away without an expensive repair. But don't expect scratches to totally disappear. Next, we tried the Steam Buddy.

The Steam Buddy sells for $20. The commercial shows how the puffs of steam quickly remove wrinkles from clothes and drapes.

My biggest problem was getting the Steam Buddy to start working. I filled it with water and primed it by pushing the steam button five to ten times, as directed. Then I plugged it in.

But no steam appeared for a good ten to 15 minutes. I was about to get give up on steaming, when "Poof!" the Steam Buddy suddenly started steaming. And once it started, it did do a good job of pressing the wrinkles out of a sundress and a pair of pants.

When we asked the company why it took so long, here's what Chief Marketing Officer Evan Warshawsky had to say, "You mentioned that the first time you used Steam Buddy, it took a long time to generate the first burst of steam. This was likely caused by either the water tank not being fully filled, or not having primed the system prior to first use. If you refer to Page 5 of the SteamBuddy Instruction Manual, it states the following:
IMPORTANT! When first using your SteamBuddy, after water is added, press the Primer button 5-10 times; this will circulate water from the water tank into the steam chamber. Steam will begin to appear as you repeatedly press the button."

We should note that when we tried the Steam Buddy again the next day, it heated up and began working much more quickly. So, Bottom line, The Steam buddy probably could save you a few trips to the cleaners for pressing and "freshening" your clothes.