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This Just In: November 11 - 18

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Sterile Needling

Summary: A woman who dresses like a vampy June Cleaver and goes by the sobriquet "Mrs. Germfree" shows us how filthy our homes really are. Reporter: Jennifer Abney, WPXI Channel 11 Airtime: 2 minutes, 12 seconds on Nov. 5 Highlights: * When Abney declares, "Germs are everywhere! But where are they hiding most in your house? We called a local mother who doubles as a 'germ expert' to test hot spots at a Channel 11 viewer's home." * When Abney says, "A popular area for Heather Haddad, Mrs. Germfree, to start: the kitchen ... [This man] and his family are always on the go in Ben Avon. They clean, but is it enough? Haddad's high-tech 'Germ-O-Meter' comes up with a number that will let you know if you're in trouble." * When Mrs. Germfree warns, "Anything over 30, you should be concerned with, because that's telling you that you have a lot of active energy molecules there, which is the presence of bacteria." * When Abney reports, "We started our test at a place often overlooked: the refrigerator handle. [This family's] fridge tested at 85. Not horrible, but above the 30 point mark ... But the biggest trouble spot in the entire kitchen? A TV remote." * When Abney asks, "What do you clean a remote with?" Mrs. Germfree answers, "You can spray it with a disinfectant, um, and just let it air dry. ... Or you can spray the disinfectant on a paper towel and then wipe it down." * When Abney suggests, "With kids, it's a good idea to spray down their toys with a disinfectant every night before you go to bed." Yeah, sure. * When Abney, who suddenly appears in the aisle of a local grocery store, conveniently with bottle in hand, advises, "And to kill germs, just use distilled vinegar. You can even dilute it with water." Unanswered Question: Did WPXI know that WTAE already did this story during February sweeps? What We Learned: That despite all of the germs Mrs. Germfree found, we have yet to hear of death by refrigerator handle. News Value: 3. Don't be fooled by Mrs. Germfree's housewifey appearance: She is the cofounder of the company HWI Cleanrooms, which sells -- you guessed it -- a disinfectant spray. Better still, her husband is the CEO of its parent company. On the upside, he's also a boomerang Pittsburgher, and is doing his part to boost the local economy. And even if it's mostly fluff, I have to admit the "Mrs. Germfree" character is brilliant marketing.

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