Home Product Infomercials: We Try Before You Buy

The resealable plastic covers easily snap onto soda cans and then open to allow you to drink or pour out the contents.

They promise to keep drinks fizzy after they've been opened, and who doesn't want eternally fizzy soda? So I tried a very informal comparison. I took two cans of soda and opened them up, then poured half of each soda out. I then put one soda back in the refrigerator with a Snap Capp and one in the fridge with no top. I taste tested both sodas 24 hours later and then again another 24 hours later.

In my personal assessment, the Snap Capp did not make much of a difference in the level of carbonation in my soda. Both sodas seemed to have the same level of carbonation (or lack there of) both one and two days later.

But one thing I did like is that this is a good product for taking soda in the car or covering it from the elements (keeping bugs out). I can see this being great for children, too, because it helps prevent spilling.

Infomercial Products

Monster 1200 Steam Cleaner from EuroFlex
Monster 1200 Heavy Duty Handheld Steam Cleaner from EuroFlex
Advertises: "It can clean all types of surfaces without the use of smelly harsh chemicals, using just ordinary tap water," according to its Web site.
Becky's Grade: B
Price: $60 to $80

A handheld steamer is a nice addition to your cleaning arsenal if you have a lot of food messes and germy areas. I found that the Monster Steamer softened caked-on dirt and loosened oily dirt before I scrubbed. I also used it after one of my children got sick to sanitize all the door handles, cribs and mattresses.

The product was also very useful to help get stickers off of windows (and tables, and cabinets, and every other area where my kids feel compelled to decorate).

On the downside, a large pool of water formed when I steamed a particularly messy area, so I had to follow up and clean the pool of water with a towel. Also the Steamer comes with attachments that work well, but you should expect to use a secondary brush to really scrub areas that have been just steamed.

My real reason for grading this in the B range was that I found $80 a little pricey for an item I used once or twice a month. .

Dryer Max and Dryer Lint Removal Kit

Ontel Dryer-Max Lint Removal Kit
Advertises: The product can cut "drying time and increases dryer performance," according to the product description on Amazon.com. Becky's Grade: B+
Price: $19.98

You may religiously empty the lint catcher in your dryer, but wads of lint build up all through the dryer and in the exhaust tubes that vent air from your dryer to the outside world. Keeping those areas free of lint makes your dryer more efficient (uses less energy and thus costs less to operate). And more importantly, keeping lint in check helps keep your fire risk down (click here for a consumer warning about dryer fires).

To really clean inside the dryer, in your vent and in that shiny metal tube that connects your dryer to the wall, you need a set of very specialized brushes. In the past you had to find them in appliance or specialty stores, so it's great that the Dryer Max kit is available online, via phone or in stores that sell "As Seen on TV" products.

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