Can product really kill germs for 24 hours?

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PHOENIX -- Hand sanitizers have been flying off the shelves even since the swine flu outbreak started, but are all of those sprays and gels really as effective as they claim to be?

3 On Your Side decided to put one product to the test.

It's called Germ Free 24 and it makes an extraordinary claim. It says it will sanitize and protect your hands for 24 hours or more.

But does it work?

Germ Free 24 claims to not only kill germs instantly, but to continue to kill them all day long without ever having to reapply it.

According to the product's claims, "It acts as a barrier. It stays on your skin for 24 hours. It kills the bacteria, the fungi, the virus that you come in contact with and it stays on. It doesn't rub off."

With such a claim, 3 On Your Side decided to test the product. So we asked Stan Kikkert, director of Mesa Community College's biotechnology program, to get to work.

"I was pretty interested to hear about this new product," Kikkert said. "I'm looking forward to testing it out."

Kikkert conducted a couple of experiments. First testing how well it would kill some big-time bacteria like staph and E. coli.

"I took a petri dish with bacteria and directly sprayed the Germ Free hand sanitizer right onto the dish," he said.

So how well did the product do killing bacteria on contact?

"In the case of staphylococcus, you can see where the spray hit and this area here where it didn't and it was quite effective," Kikkert said.

But, the product didn't work so well on E. coli.

But what about the claim that the 24-hour germ protectant works 24 hours like an invisible shield?

"We took someone's hand and we swabbed it for bacteria and then we sprayed either the right or the left with the Germ Free," Kikkert said. "So here's the left hand before we added germ free and once we added the Germ Free, the counts dropped down quite a bit."

Once the hands were sprayed and swabbed, Kikkert put the hands to work.

"We applied it to the left hand and then we had this person walk around and shake hand with everyone," he said.

Kikkert said he would periodically swab each hand throughout the day. Don't forget, the left hand was guarded with Germ Free. How well did it endure?

"In the course of the day, the counts start going back up a bit, but there are in general a lot less than the right hand," Kikkert said.

So all in all, does it work? Well, Kikkert says the product does a pretty good job reducing bacteria when it's initially applied. But as for all killing bacteria around the clock, Kikkert isn't sold.

"The product certainly does provide a certain degree of protection, that's clear, but it's not going to sterilize your hand," Kikkert said.

We told the company about our test results and a spokesman didn't sound too surprised, saying people should always rely on frequent hand washing to kill germs, but he went on to say that he does stand behind the product.

I will say the Germ Free 24 is pretty pricey. An 8-ounce bottle goes for around $14.

If you want to learn more about Germ Free 24, visit .