An uncovered light socket or light
I am not going to kid you for a moment – when I heard that there was a
light bulb claiming it could eliminate odors, I thought it was the biggest
bunch of flimflammery ever.
But you know me, I am willing to give anything a try…
Technical Consumer Products, Inc. (TCP),
makers of compact florescent lighting, have created a bulb that they claim
will eliminate strong offensive smells such as fish in the kitchen, musty
laundry room odors or even pet smells – kitty box, anyone? Do these bulbs live
up to the hype? We’ll get to that in just a moment. But first I would like to
tell you a little bit more about the fluorescent bulbs themselves…
Bulbs are similar in style to other compact fluorescent bulbs in that they
resemble a long white tube that has been bent into a spiral and they can be used
in a regular light socket instead of a traditional long fluorescent light
For those of you that are unfamiliar with fluorescent lighting, just think of
the long tube style light fixtures that line just about every commercial
building in the world’s ceilings. There is a reason that these bulbs are in
place. Fluorescents are
energy efficient, using from one quarter to one-third of the energy needed
to burn a traditional incandescent; they also don’t put out the
heat of the
incandescent bulb. Perhaps one of the best properties of fluorescent bulbs is
that they last significantly longer than traditional incandescents. How
much longer? A typical incandescent bulb will give 750 to 1,000 hours of life.
Compare that to a fluorescent light, which will last for 10,000 hours or more.
Be sure to check out the chart at the bottom of
this page, which is on the
Consumer Energy Center’s site. It is especially relevant to this review
because it compares the economics of using a 23 watt compact fluorescent versus
a 100 watt incandescent light bulb. Both bulbs are emitting the same amount of
light, but the fluorescent is doing it much more effectively. The Fresh²
is just such a 23 watt bulb.
So, getting back on track, we should all be able to agree that a compact
fluorescent bulb is a better choice for anyone that wants a cooler burning,
longer-lasting, more economical choice of lighting. At an average price of $11 a
bulb, the savings become evident after the bulbs have been in place for several
years, lasting several times longer than their incandescent cousins. What sets
the Fresh² bulbs apart from similar compact
fluorescent bulbs is the fact that they are coated with Titanium Dioxide. When
the light is turned on, it activates the coating which releases "extremely
strong" odor fighting oxidizers. This oxidation process is supposed to "break
down odors completely."
Googleing TiO(2) shows that it has a variety of
uses – everything from being the white pigment in paint and paper to its use an
ingredient used for absorbing odor in foot creams. I even found one study where
TiO(2) was being suggested as a possible way to cut down odors in
farming operations. There is obviously a scientific background for using the
compound as odor control. The question now is just whether or not a fluorescent
bulb would be a proper application for the science. With this in mind, I looked
forward to putting the Fresh² bulbs through their paces.
Since the Fresh² bulbs are shipped
directly from the manufacturer to your door, they are packaged a bit better than
the average bulb you would pick up at the grocery.
Inside a cardboard box is a molded Styrofoam shell that holds two Fresh²
bulbs. In case you were wondering, the blue booklet offers a free t-shirt to
users that write in about their experience with the bulb.
As you can see, the base of each bulb is sized to fit a typical light bulb
socket. Almost every light fixture in my home is recessed and usually holds a 75
to watt indoor flood lamp. We will not even begin to discuss how hot a room can
become when I have these lights on for any amount of time.
Since these bulbs are most effective when they are
in an open socket that allows unfettered air-flow, the fixtures in my house are
actually quite perfect for testing.
The size of the room does have an effect on how
well the bulbs work, so if you have a larger space, you might want to go ahead
and replace several bulbs with Fresh²s. Since I only had two to test, it worked
out best that I try them in two smaller rooms: the laundry room and bathroom.
My laundry room has a typical old fashioned
ceramic socket which hangs unenclosed from the top of the 10′ ceiling. The room
is not huge, it is about the size of a large closet. It not only holds the
washer and dryer and water heater, it is also home for a hamper which is in a constant flux of
varying degrees of fullness from of dirty clothes. This room is also the place
where I store the dogs’ food. I would not go so far as to say that the room
smells bad, but it does have a slight odor most of the time.
Next is the master bath, which has three
recessed flood lights: two above the vanity and one above the commode. The light
above the commode is also near the built-in hamper, so this seemed like a good
location for the Fresh² bulb. The built-in hamper
can sometimes acquire a bit of a musty smell as it holds not only clothing but
also damp towels.
Removing the flood lamp revealed a larger space
than called for with the Fresh², but I figured that since the bulb needs an
uncovered socket to operate, perhaps the extra bit of air-flow area on the sides
With the bulbs installed in both locations, and with the doors shut to cut
down on the size of the area that the bulbs would have to affect, I left the
lights on and walked away for ten minutes. When I came back, I thought I could
tell a noticeable change. After an hour, I knew there was a major difference.
Steve even commented on it, and he had begun as an even bigger skeptic than me
about whether or not they would make a difference – much less work as
Now for those of you that usually buy scented candles, room sprays and solid
deodorizers to cover odors, I should point out right now that I did not walk in
and smell flowers. Instead, I smelled nothing. Just clean,
fresh air in both rooms. I was also pleased that the light cast by the bulbs
was bright and white. There was no flickering or humming like I have associated
with the old fluorescent tubes of the past.
Fresh² bulbs would be perfect in any room
that has a musty odor or that needs deodorizing without introducing harsh
chemicals. Immediately coming to mind are uses such as in a baby’s nursery, a
room where cigars are allowed, and definitely any room that houses a cat’s
litter-box. I think the perfect way to use these bulbs would be to leave them on
all the time if you have an area that is particularly prone to odors. Because of
their long life and energy efficiency, I doubt that they would cost any more to
run full time than a part time incandescent bulb would.
These bulbs have made a believer out of
me. I challenge those of you that have a musty room, or who allow pets in the
house, to order a set of these bulbs and give them a try. All I ask is that when
you try them you do as I did and put them in an uncovered socket or in a lamp
with an open shade – not in an enclosed light. If you are going to try them in a
larger room, then use a couple of them – don’t expect one to deodorize your
entire living room and leave them turned on! Get over the weirdness that comes with thinking about a
light bulb cleaning the air, and just give it a try. You have absolutely nothing
to lose on so many levels. Not only will you be getting more energy efficient
bulbs to take the place of your existing incandescent ones, if you don’t feel
that the Fresh² bulbs are performing as I say they will, then you can send them
back for a refund within the first 90 days – including $5 for the return
Fresh ² Bulbs can be purchased
Price: $19.99 for a two-pack
Comes with a 90-day money back guarantee (+5 for shipping) and a one-year
warrantee against defects
Energy efficient compact florescent bulbs fit in traditional incandescent bulb
Bulbs actually remove odors while turned on
No heavy perfumes or other additives in air – it just smells clean
It just seems weird to say your light bulb is cleaning the air – don’t
let it get to you, though