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Watchdog releases list of 10 money wasting products

Which? found the average drying time after using tumble dryer balls was slightly longer on a full load and there was no improvement in creasing or softness.

Which? found the average drying time after using tumble dryer balls was slightly longer on a full load and there was no improvement in creasing or softness.

Consumers could save up to £400 by ignoring far-fetched claims about products that do not work, according to a watchdog.

Which? magazine released a list of 10 “money-wasting products you don’t need” after tests found they failed to live up to the claims on the packaging.

Among the blacklisted cleaning products, gadgets and potions are tumble dryer balls, cleaners designed specifically for the kitchen or bathroom and fuel additives.

Several products were so far from matching their claims, they did the opposite of what they were supposed to in tests and could cost extra time and money, the watchdog said.

A gas energy saver took more energy to boil a pan of water than without it, and the tumble dryer balls had no effect in tests and did not save time on drying.

A peanut butter maker took 20 minutes to produce 40g of butter – longer than it would take most people to walk to the corner shop for a 300g jar – and was almost impossible to clean.

Which? recommended consumers avoid cleaners that claim to be designed for specific areas in the home in favour of a multi-surface cleaner, tumble dryer balls, wash balls designed to clean without detergent and colour-catcher fabric sheets.

Gadgets to be avoided, other than peanut butter makers and gas energy savers, are smoothie makers with taps, that proved difficult to clean and slow pouring, and small photo printers, which were expensive and no better than a general printer.

A test of 12 anti-wrinkle eye creams found a £2.98 pot of Simple moisturiser had the same “limited” effect as the most expensive cream, but Which? recommended consumers avoid them altogether.

A test of petrol and diesel additives found none made a noticeable improvement to car performance.

Which? magazine editor Martyn Hocking said: “Which? believes that some products are simply not worth spending your hard-earned money on.

“Several products were so far from matching their claims, they did the opposite in our tests and could cost you extra time and money. Other products have astounded us with how useless they seem to be.”

A clean waste of time

The list of 10 “money-wasting products you don’t need” after tests found they failed to live up to the claims on the packaging.

• Separate household cleaners: Which? found that while specific cleaners can help with limescale or mould, everyday stains were just as effectively treated with a multi-surface product.

• Tumble dryer balls: Which? found the average drying time was slightly longer with the balls on a full load and there was no improvement in creasing or softness.

• Wash balls: the pellet-filled plastic shells are designed to clean through agitation without detergent, but most barely cleaned better than using water alone at 30C.

• Colour catcher fabric sheets: the sheets claim to prevent colour runs and allow mixed washing, but following all the precautions on the box, including taking care when mixing laundry, renders them unnecessary.

• Peanut butter maker: The gadget took 20 minutes to make 40g of butter, it was “very noisy”, the lid kept coming off and small chunks remained even in smooth mode.

• Smoothie makers: a good jug blender would make smoothies just as well and eliminates the hassle of trying to clean the tap dispenser.

• Gas energy savers: these sit on the hob and claim to burn gas more efficiently, but it took 167 seconds longer to boil a pan of water, or 24 per cent more energy.

• Small photo printers: Tests found a general printer could do the same job and were generally cheaper.

• Anti-wrinkle eye creams: A Which? test of 12 creams found a £2.98 pot of Simple moisturiser had the same “limited” effect as the most expensive product.

• Fuel additives: None of the additives on test made a noticeable improvement to engine power, torque, exhaust emissions or fuel economy.

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