Does Febreze Air Effects give odors the boot?

Consumer Reports

View gallery

.

MORE AT CONSUMERREPORTS.ORG

An ad for Febreze Air Effects, which “sweeps away those stale and stifling odors and leaves a fresh scent,” shows blindfolded “real people” being led into a stinky room that has been sprayed with the product. They’re asked to take a deep breath and describe what they smell. “Very springtimey,” one man says. Another cites “a forest thing going on,” and a woman says she feels as if she’s in a spa.

All are shocked when the blindfolds are removed to reveal an old, defecating goat; a dead fish; and a sweaty bodybuilder. (Watch the ad on YouTube.) Ads for other Febreze products show their prowess against, for starters, a sofa covered in dog fur, an old shipping container, a smelly boot, and the Azerbaijani wrestling team.

Lacking a goat, we stunk up a sealed room with a plate of sardines and a box filled with several days of litter scoopings from two large cats. We let the stuff sit for 4 hours, sprayed the room thoroughly with Febreze Air Effects, then brought in five blindfolded panelists one by one to tell us what they smelled.

Next, we ventilated the room and sprayed a second product, Febreze Air Effects Pet Odor Eliminator, which is designed to work against pet waste. We hid the malodorous litter behind a screen, and asked three new panelists to describe the resulting scent.

View gallery

.
Bottom line. Clean the cat box, don’t leave fish on the counter, and take out the trash. Although the sprays hid some of our odors, they didn’t work as well as implied by the ads, and any effect was temporary.

After we’d sprayed Febreze Air Effects, most blindfolded panelists still identified odors characteristic of fish or cat litter or both, and most also noticed a fragrance or chemical/detergent scent. Among their comments: “I wanted to throw up,” “Flowers gone bad, dirty diapers, old garbage,” and “Like a men’s room in a truck stop.”

The Pet Odor Eliminator fared little better with our next set of panelists. One said, “It’s not exactly pleasant, and I don’t want to inhale.” Another imagined “air freshener, cat urine, and a hamster cage.”

Copyright © 2006-2012 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Conjoined Twins Refuse to Be Separated Despite Doctor's Warnings

      Conjoined Twins Refuse to Be Separated Despite Doctor's Warnings

      People
    • Aaron Hernandez's hidden sexuality fueled the murder of Odin Lloyd, police sources say

      On April 19, sometime before 3 a.m., Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriots tight end, scrawled three notes—one to his fiancée, the mother of his little girl, one to that daughter and a third to his close prison friend—and placed them next to a Bible in his solitary prison cell in the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. Then the 27-year-old former NFL star serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for murder, jammed the track of his cell door with cardboard to prevent guards from coming in, slicked the floor with liquid soap and shampoo (which investigators believe he did to make it harder for him to back out in case he lost his nerve), wrapped his bed sheet around his neck multiple times and then tied one end of it to a bar on the window of his cell. Hernandez was then rushed to UMass Leominster hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 4:07 a.m. It was an ugly end to the former NFL star’s often ugly life and it came on the same day players on his former team traveled to the White House to celebrate the New England Patriot’s Super Bowl win.

      Newsweek q
    • American Airlines apologizes for onboard clash over stroller

      American Airlines on Saturday apologized to a female passenger and suspended an employee after a video showing an onboard clash over a baby stroller went viral, in the latest embarassment for a U.S. carrier over how it treated a customer. The clip, posted to Facebook on Friday by a bystander on the flight, shows a woman in tears with a young child in her arms, and a man emerging from his seat to confront a male flight attendant. Facebook user Surain Adyanthaya, who put the video on his page, said in his post that the flight attendant had forcefully taken the stroller from the woman, hitting her with it and just missing her child.

      Reuters
    • Bottled water is now more popular than soda — why you should avoid both

      U.S. consumers spent $21 billion on bottled water last year.

      MarketWatch q
    • Animated map of what Earth would look like if all the ice melted

      Many of the effects of climate change are irreversible. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century. As National Geographic showed us in 2013, sea levels would rise by 216 feet if all the land ice on the planet were to melt. This would dramatically reshape the continents and drown many of the world's major cities.

      Business Insider q
    • If You've Ever Picked Mold Off Your Bread, This Will Seriously Shock You

      We've all been there. You're about to cut into a loaf of bread and there it is. A fuzzy blue spot of mold lurking on the surface of that baguette you just bought yesterday. While most of us were taught to just cut around the mold and eat the rest in order to not waste food, it's time to stop that bad habit. "We don't recommend cutting mold off of bread, because it's a soft food," Marianne Gravely, a senior technical information specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture told NPR. "With soft food, it's very easy for the roots [of the mold], or the tentacles, or whatever creepy word you want to use, to penetrate [deeper into the food]." Basically, the mold spore's roots go much

      Delish q
    • Warriors' Durant and Kerr out for Game 3 against the Blazers

      PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Golden State's Kevin Durant won't play in Saturday's Game 3 against the Portland Trail Blazers because of a strained left calf.

      Associated Press
    • Kim Kardashian's Dress Is Completely See-Through (38 photos)

      From sweatshirts to slip dresses and all that's in-between, check back as we track Kim Kardashian West's ongoing street style looks. From Harper's BAZAAR

      Harper's Bazaar
    • Ivanka Trump Shares Photo Of Daughter Arabella

      Arabella is Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner’s only daughter.

      International Business Times
    • Aaron Hernandez's Sex Life Probed as Murder Motive, Police Source Says

      On April 19, sometime before 3 a.m., Aaron Hernandez, the former star New England Patriots tight end, scrawled three notes—one to his fiancée, the mother of his little girl, one to that daughter and a third to his close prison friend—and placed them next to a Bible in his solitary prison cell in the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Massachusetts. Don't miss: Quora Question: Will the Senate Scrap the Filibuster for Legislation?

      Newsweek
    • What Brandon Jenner Said to Caitlyn That Made Her Cry

      What Brandon Jenner Said To Caitlyn That Made Her Cry

      People
    • American Airlines' Employee Suspended After Making Mom With Baby Cry and Threatening Another Passenger

      American Airlines has suspended an employee after a video showed an altercation on one of its planes involving crew, several passengers and a crying woman carrying a young child. An American Airlines employee violently took a stroller from the woman, hitting her with it and just missing her child, Facebook user Surain Adyanthaya said in a post accompanying the video he put on the site on Friday. Less than two weeks ago, a 69-year-old doctor, David Dao, was hospitalised after Chicago aviation police dragged him from a United Airlines plane sparking international outrage and a public relations nightmare for the carrier.

      Reuters
    • Dear Abby: My late wife's sisters hating that I'm dating

      DEAR ABBY: My wife of 43 years died nine months ago after losing her four-year battle with cancer. I met a woman who had also experienced tragedy in her life, and we started seeing each other casually. When my wife’s three sisters found out, I became the outcast. Why do people think there is a set time to grieve? Life is too short to sit and pine. Memories will always be there. This woman has brought me out of my depression and sorrow. I can’t understand how people I thought cared for me could be so mean. I was told by the pastor and hospice counselor that grieving takes time, but what is enough time? I was also told to look at the marriages of these women. When I did, I realized that they were

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • I worked under a serial sexual harasser. I know the real reason Bill O’Reilly was fired.

      A demonstrator protests Bill O’Reilly outside of the Fox News headquarter in New York, New York on April 19.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

      Vox.com q
    • Shawn Porter's body work, whirlwind attack result in ninth-round TKO of Andre Berto

      Shawn Porter’s boxing style isn’t elegant, but it is oh-so effective. The muscular 29-year-old simply overwhelmed Andre Berto by sheer force of will, dropping the two-time former champion three times and stopping him at 1:31 of the ninth in their WBC welterweight title eliminator Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Porter put on a devastating body attack, and Berto deserves an exceptional amount of credit for standing up to them and fighting back the way he did.

      Boxing
    • Man Attacked by 2 Dogs While Trying to Protect His Jack Russell Terrier

      A caught-on-video attack by two dogs on Catalina Island this week left a Huntington Beach man in the hospital and his Jack Russell terrier seriously injured.

      Tribune
    • Jennifer Lopez Sports Sexy Sheer Dress on Miami Date Night With Alex Rodriguez

      The new couple recently returned from a fun family vacation in the Dominican Republic.

      Entertainment Tonight
    • Does Tyga Have A New Girlfriend After Kylie Jenner Break Up?

      Tyga may have found a new girlfriend following his reported split from Kylie Jenner.

      International Business Times