How a bag of dead rats proved this bug-busting gizmo really works

Yuck
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The Recommendation

Wait, what?

The terro garbage guard on an orange background.
Illustration: Dana Davis; Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Wirecutter experts have done some pretty extreme things in their pursuit of the best-in-class products. But few have topped the gross charts like this classic tale of testing one of our favorite bug-obliterating gadgets.

A solution to buggy trash cans, the Terro Garbage Guard sticks to the underside of garbage can lids and emits an insecticide that kills any flies or other nasties that try to live in there. To really put it to the test, senior staff writer Doug Mahoney used a bag of dead rats (he lives on a homestead and has a chicken coop—it’s not that weird, we promise) to test the device’s effectiveness against real-life, disgusting circumstances.

Says Doug: “As gross as it was, as bad as it smelled, and as little as I wanted to go near it, I thought: ‘If the Garbage Guard can handle this … it can handle anything.’”

And? It worked→

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More epic tales of testing

Four white plates, smeared with different foods and sauces, sitting in a dishwasher.

We smeared hundreds of dishes with peanut butter, egg yolk, red sauce, and lipstick

All in pursuit of the best dishwasher.

Three shirts with stains on them hanging from a clothing rack.

We doused ourselves in sriracha and red wine

Surprisingly, these stain-resistant shirts repelled (nearly) everything we threw at them.

A person carrying the Yeti Panga 50 duffle bag on their back. The bag is structured in a cylindrical tube shape.

We dunked a duffle bag into the waters of Hawaii

It kept the towels, clothes, and sneakers inside bone-dry.

Plus: Why Wirecutter tests the same products for years on end

Side by side illustrations of a person drinking from the same reusable water bottle as a young person and as old one.
Illustration: Dana Davis

Longtime Wirecutter readers have likely noticed: Some of our picks stay the same for years. And that’s not because we’ve forgotten about the guide. It’s because the product has continually stood the test of time and beat out its competitors. That’s something we can only know by living with a pick for an extended period of time to gain real-world insight about how it holds up.

Think of it like this: We perform rigorous testing to make recommendations in the first place. Then, our long-term testing helps us decide whether a product remains worthy of our recommendation.

More on how we test→

One last thing: 5 cheap(ish) things to keep your bedroom cool

The Dreo Fox One resting on the floor facing the left.
Photo: Michael Hession

Don’t settle for a summer of tossing and turning in the sweaty heat. These five cheap(ish) things—including inexpensive blackout shades and summer-friendly bedding—should help keep your room cool on even the hottest nights.

Oh so breezy→

Thanks for reading.

You can reach the Wirecutter newsletters team at newsletters@wirecutter.com. We can’t always respond, but we do love to hear from you.

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