Consumer Reports fact checks Febreze claims

October 1, 2012

The Febreze ad shows "an experiment" using an old goat, a sweaty bodybuilder, and a day-old fish. A group of "real people" confirms that it all stinks. Then the room is treated with Febreze Air Effects and blindfolded people are brought in. They are asked to "take a deep breath and tell what it smells like."

Consumer Reports decided to do a sniff test of its own, calling on some brave volunteers. They were taken to a room where a cat litter box and sardines had been sitting for 4 hours. While blindfolded, the volunteers confirmed that the room smelled bad.

Then the room was sprayed with Febreze Air Effects. More blindfolded staffers were led into the room. Most thought it still smelled pretty bad. Although the spray concealed some of the odors, it didn't work as well as it did in the ad, and any effect was just temporary. So you still need to clean out the cat box, put your fish away, and take out the trash.

Consumer Reports also tested another Febreze spray, Air Effects Pet Odor Eliminator, to see whether it worked any better with the litter box smell. It did a bit better, but not by much, so you have to stay on top of that cleaning job!

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