Does Germ Master Really Work?

Does the Germ Master work?The Germ Master is a hand-held steam cleaner that is supposed to eradicate germs from your kitchen counter tops and anywhere else you use it. Most steaming products are big and bulky so were they able to successfully make a smaller-sized unit that actually works?

Overview
It’s hard to argue that steam cleaning is pretty effective and has a lot of beneficial features going for it. For example, you’re using super-heated water so the surfaces are basically left sterile, as most bacteria can’t survive at those temperatures. Also, you don’t have to use additional cleaning sprays and cleansers so you’re avoiding those agents and leaving behind a surface that should be very clean and non-irritating.

The Claim
The makers of Germ Master claim that it’s the answer to using dirty sponges to wipe your counter tops and other areas of your home. They say their product is easy to use, you just fill it with water, pop it in the microwave, and start using it. They say that it’s guaranteed to be the fastest way to keep your kitchen clean, while also being easy and healthy, or you get a full refund.

The Hype
There isn’t much hype surrounding this product, as it was only recently released. There is a blog that shows how it went from prototype to actual product, but aside from that nobody is really talking about this at all yet. In their infomercial they do a good job of showing off the product and focus more on how bad it is to use a sponge or other cleaning products because of the mess they leave behind.

The Cost
The Germ Master is $11 plus shipping and handling, and that gets you the base unit plus 6 reloadable pads. When you consider the recurring cost of using paper towels, sponges, towels, or wipes a one-time purchase for a product that you can use again and again sounds reasonable. When you compare this to the cost of other handheld steamers even if you have to pay a shipping charge of $8 or more it still keeps you in the same price range of $20 to $30.

The Commitment
They repeatedly state that you won’t have to bother with sponges, paper towels, or disinfecting wipes any longer, and this should allow you to do the job of getting things clean more quickly. When you’re talking about sanitizing surfaces and making them clean enough to eat off of, it’s either going to take a lot of effort or it’s going to take a product that uses steam to break up stains and kill off any germs.

Evaluation
They point out that a typical kitchen sponge is loaded with bacteria, so when you’re using that to clean up you’re basically spreading all of that bacteria all around your kitchen.

The Germ Master system is pretty innovative, by using the microwave to heat up the water it doesn’t require a motor or any heating elements, you simply add normal tap water and put it in the microwave. There’s a button to press to deliver the bursts of steam, much like on an iron, so they are incorporating functions from other successful products that have been around for years. The only problem we can see is that by putting the whole thing in the microwave it’s all going to get hot, and it might be hard to hold it and use it as shown. By the time it cools down enough to use it, the water won’t be very steamy.

Final Germ Master Review

The Germ Master is getting our Shaky Try rating because there may be a few flaws in the design that aren’t addressed. Nowhere in their pitch do they point out how they’re able to make the handle of the unit stay cool while the rest of it is hot enough to produce steam. Also they’re unable to explain how the hot water in the unit turns into steam by just pressing a button. Spraying really hot water, even boiling water, does not in and of itself produce steam. It may be worth a go if you’re really interested in it, but all you may be doing is wiping down your counters with really hot water, and burning your hand while you’re at it.

Our Recommendation
If you’re trying to go green with your cleaning efforts there are other ways to do it that will get your counters clean while also keeping things non-toxic for yourself and your family. You can try Bio Green Clean which uses all natural ingredients but still kills bacteria. If you want a handheld steamer from a company that has been making steaming products for decades, try the Bissell Steam Shot Hard Surface Cleaner, which gets relatively good ratings and provides a similar experience to the one claimed by the GM.

What do you think? Does Germ Master work or not?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Phyllis DeFalco July 8, 2013 at 10:35 pm

I am a former nurse’s aide by trade and I can see where applying steam to a surface could kill a lot of bacteria. However, if they cannot tell you how it converts the steam etc…probably because they don’t want to give trade secrets away; I fail to see how I can make a judgement about how well it will kill bacteria. The temperature must be at a certain point for different types of bacteria and certain types of e coli bacteria is heat resistant even at the boiling point. So, we have no way of knowing that after cleaning a counter top of a contaminated hamburger that it will kill the germ and that is a common and important germ.

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Mike Doherty July 9, 2013 at 7:07 pm

There are now numerous gadgets on the market that are hand held and do something with steam. Either they clean your floor or counter, or they merely de-wrinkle your clothes. Some do both. I don’t own this product, but I might if it steams the only suit I own on the three annual occasions I wear it. Versatility is key for gadgets. Another issue with this appears to be that you will need paper towels and sponges, despite their claim. If there is dirt, debris or spills, something is going to be needed to wipe that up. It won’t just get magically steamed away! There will always be germs, and that’s a fact of life. And this little device hardly seems like it could pack the punch of a professional steam cleaner, which get incredibly hot and actually kill bacteria due to the very high temp. I’m dubious about this product.

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Kaila Braley July 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

This product seems like a good idea, especially since my mom hates using chemically cleaning agents in the house. And the price is really great. It looks like it’s easy to use and has a nice big cleaning surface.

One thing that I’m not sure about, though, is that I’m sure those cleaning pads get really dirty, the same way a sponge would. What makes it cleaner than a sponge after they’ve both been used the same amount? The steam? Maybe. But I don’t think the steam would clean the germs off of a porous surface like that.

It does appear to be creating real steam, not just squirting hot water, but that’s a really good point, that if the whole thing is in the microwave, then the handle would be really hot. I’d rather pay more money and get a similar product that has a heating element than pay a cheap amount for something that seems like a good idea, but not totally executed well.

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Claude July 14, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I like the concept, but I am a bit confused just like everyone else on how the product creates the steam and what that steam will actually do. We know that our sponges aren’t doing the job. While some products claim they kill 99.9% of germs, we have no idea how effective this will be. As far as I can tell, there is no cleaning agent used either so I would be curious to know how effective this is. Having said all of that, I feel like this would be a good addition to be used in combination with cleaning products I already have, and for $11, I would give it a shot. No word on the return policy though.

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LS July 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Although the review is mixed, I think I am going to head out and purchase this product. I have to admit, I am a total germaphobe, and I already use a steam mop to clean my tile floors and my carpets. I love the fact that steam is totally hygienic and free! Just add water and disinfect your home: what a great concept! I love it! In addition to steam, I also use non-toxic natural cleaners, of course. I think that this product would definitely be a worthwhile investment for someone like me and it will allow me to spot-clean quickly and easily.

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Barb August 3, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I was glad to read this article on the Germ Master. I have a friend who actually uses a small steamer to clean her counters. It doesn’t have a pad, so she uses a clean cloth to wipe as she steams. She’s definitely a germ freak and would love the Germ Master. If the Germ Master truly works as advertised, it will be a great product! I certainly would like to give it a try. I’ll be curious to read reviews from people who have actually used the Germ Master. I think it’s a fair price and I’m willing to give it a go.

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Allison July 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

The Germ Master looks like a great product and obviously we all know that steam can kill germs. I hate using sponges and hate chemical cleaners even more. We are trying to become a “cleaner” household in regards to the type of chemicals we use on all of our surfaces and this looks like a step in the right direction. The only objection I may have to this products is, “How do I know if it is really killing germs?” I guess the response to that question is, “Well how well do you know your cleaning products are killing germs?”

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Jennifer H. August 5, 2013 at 6:23 am

I absolutely hate using chemicals to clean – they give me awful headaches, and I worry about the long-term consequences to my family’s health. I tried natural cleaners such as Thieves Cleaner, but I don’t really like the smell. Usually, I clean the kitchen with diluted vinegar. That said, if this product really works, I would most definitely be very interested. Since it is still new, I think I’ll wait a bit and see if more reviews come in. Like this review says, there are some unanswered questions about this, so I guess it is best to be cautious before buying.

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Carol Gibbs October 1, 2015 at 6:17 am

First, I say this as a housewife, mother and grandmother, not as a scientist, which I’ll readily admit I’m not. But I feel I’m most likely right on this. Also, the inventor’s wife and her sister are friends of mine from high school days, but that makes no difference. I knew nothing about this before I read about it tonight, and I’m responding because I truly believe this is a very viable idea, and something I’d love to try.

I think this product sounds GREAT! I think the concept of steam takes it far ahead of a “warm” soapy rag or sponge, or soap/chemical cleaners. Cleaning an area with warm soapy water has always been the relied upon way to clean kitchen and other surfaces and it’s what we rely on in kitchens to clean up after raw meats, for example. But steam would take it further. Steam is better than warm water because it’s hotter, better than chemical cleaners, green or not, which will leave a residue behind, and t will also soften and clean up dried residue from surfaces without the elbow grease needed with a warm soapy water sponge.

The bottom line is , we all need exposure to germs to stay healthy, and from what I understand, not all germs, can be killed with home cleaners, sponges and dish rags. It makes sense to me that steam would be far better than a sponge, dish rag or even chemical cleaners.

I’d buy this product in a heartbeat!

C. Gibbs

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