Does Procter & Gamble's (PG) Febreze work as claimed?

When it comes to commercials that really grab your attention, one of most memorable ad campaigns is from Cincinnati's Procter and Gamble, for its Febreze Air Effects air freshener.

Our partners at Consumer Reports Magazine wanted to see whether that product really lives up to its claims.

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 sprayed with Febreze, and blindfolded people no longer smell any bad odors. In fact, when the body builder opens his sweaty armpits, a woman comments that it smells like flowers.

It's pretty funny, and memorable.

Consumer Reports Test

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, Consumer Reports says it didn't work as well as it did in the ad, and any effect was just temporary.

So the magazine says you still need to clean out the cat box, put your fish away, and take out the trash.

P&G responds

9 News contacted P&G, which defended the ads, and its Febreze claim. The company said:

"P&G/Febreze was not a part of the Consumer Reports study and therefore cannot comment on their findings.

Our most recent Febreze ads are real - featuring real places, people and reactions. Our Research and Development organization worked extensively with the production agency to ensure that the experiments were truthful, a protocol was followed, and the products were used as designed.

Our product technology not only eliminates odors, but freshens the air and we stand behind this claim." 

As always, don't waste your money.


Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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