Consumer Reports: FreshPaper and grout cleaners

May 31, 2013

Tossing out fresh fruit and vegetables that have gone bad feels like throwing money down the drain.

A new product called FreshPaper claims to keep produce fresh for two to four times longer. It's made from a mixture of spices, including fenugreek, which supposedly inhibits bacteria growth.

Consumer Reports wanted to check it out. Testers placed two sets of blueberries and strawberries with FreshPaper into a fridge—one set in its original store packaging, the other in airtight plastic containers. In a different fridge they placed another set of berries without FreshPaper.

Testers checked the fruit every day. The FreshPaper did not appear to have any effect on the blueberries. After two weeks all the blueberries looked pretty much the same—no matter which container.

The strawberries in their original store packaging without FreshPaper showed some mold growth. The strawberries with the FreshPaper didn't have any mold, but they were starting to spoil—same as the berries without the paper.

As for the strawberries in the airtight containers, almost three weeks later the ones with the FreshPaper and the ones without the FreshPaper showed signs of spoilage. Consumer Reports says that your best bet is to store fresh produce in a cool, dry place. And no matter how great it looks in the store, resist the urge to buy more than you need.


If dirty grout in your bathroom drives you crazy, you may be tempted to try some of those miracle grout cleaners you've seen advertised on TV. Well, Consumer Reports was, too, and it has a few things to tell you before you place your order.

Can you really get sparkling grout with ease using Grout Bully? It costs $10 a bottle, and the commercial says, "Simply line up Grout Bully with your grout line, press down gently to apply, wipe off the excess, and voila."

But Consumer Reports found it was really hard to get off the excess. It kept smearing, and it left a film that stuck to the tile. It did hide the mold and mildew at first. But just 12 days later, the mold and mildew was already growing back!

So how about another As-Seen-On-TV grout cleaner: the Groutinator? For $10 you get two different-sized coarse erasers with a sharp edge that works like sandpaper on dirty grout.

Consumer Reports found that it isn't easy, and it isn't quick! It's really just good old-fashioned elbow grease. And you have to constantly re-sharpen the edge, especially when you're working with narrow grout lines. Two weeks after cleaning mildew was already growing back.

So neither of the as-seen-on-TV grout cleaners offers the perfect solution. Consumer Reports says that when you're grouting, adding a seal can make it more resistant to dirt and stains.

There's also a good homemade grout cleaner that's worth a try. You dip a toothbrush into a solution of one part bleach and six parts water, and get to work! Be aware that there can be fumes, so be sure you have good ventilation.

Action News reached out to Grout Bully and Fresh Paper but our requests for comment were not returned in time for air.

Groutinator responded, saying, in part:

"One of the most important features is that it works on ANY color grout, restoring its ORIGINAL color, where the other products really only work on white grout. . . Of course the mildew will come back if you do not keep your surface area clean. That does not mean the Groutinator hasn't cleaned the grout, it just grew back."

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.

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