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Quick-fix products tested by Consumer Reports

May 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
With so many projects to do around the house, who doesn't need a helping hand? Imagine lifting heavy furniture without breaking a sweat, getting a carpet stain out without lifting a finger, or even fixing a leaky gutter with just a spray of a can.

An infomercial for Flex Seal says it's "perfect for all your home repairs." Consumer Reports' Bernie Deitrick tested Flex Seal and two other products, Bissel's Stomp 'n Go carpet cleaner and EZ Moves - another infomercial product that's designed to help you lift heavy furniture. But do they deliver?

To test Flex Seal, Deitrick made his own small boat with a screened bottom, sprayed it with Flex Seal, and then floated it on a "pond" in one of Consumer Reports labs. The boat didn't sink. But when it came to Flex Seal's gutter claim, the results were disappointing. Three coats later, Flex Seal failed to seal the vertical seams on a gutter.

Then, there's EZ Moves, which comes with a lever you use to lift furniture in order to slide the discs underneath. The infomercial says "your furniture simply glides across any surface."

Deitrick tried moving a freezer without the discs. There was a difference with the discs, but not all moves were "EZ." The lever couldn't get under one heavy table, and refrigerators can pose a problem, too.

"If the furniture is against the wall, sometimes it's very hard to get to the back corner of it," said Deitrick.

How about Bissell's Stomp 'n Go carpet stain remover? The infomercials says, "Just place over the stain, stomp to release the stain-fighting formula, and leave the pad to do the work for you."

Deitrick dirtied a nice, white, untreated piece of carpet with coffee, French dressing, tomato sauce and red wine. Following directions, he blotted up the excess. Then he stomped. After 30 minutes, some of the Stomp 'n Go stains were still pretty obvious.

Consumer Reports also tested another carpet-stain product from Bissell, the Oxy spray stain remover. It does a better job removing some stains, such as French dressing, and stain per stain, it costs less than the Stomp 'n Go.

Consumer Reports said these products can help a little, but don't count on any miracles.

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