Do You Believe in Magic {Erasers}?

magic eraserWell, do you?? :-)

I actually had never given it much thought. I thought the whole concept sounded weird…and just never thought to try one out.

I can’t remember what it was that prompted me to buy a couple of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers…I think it was an email suggestion. But basically the two erasers I bought have been sitting under my kitchen sink for a couple of months now…never seeing the light of day. That is until a few days ago when No. 2 son was looking for something to clean his golf shoes with. I wasn’t really sure what to tell him and then I remembered the magic erasers under the sink and told him to try one of those. Wow! It really WAS like MAGIC!

Since then I’ve been looking into other uses for these little rectangles of wonder and have discovered a whole PLETHORA of uses that I can’t wait to try out.

My favorite so far is SCUFFS ON WALLS AND BASEBOARDS! I have them all over this house! And I just figured I needed to set aside a weekend and REPAINT all of them. Au contraire! My baseboards (at least the ones I got to before the 2 erasers I had disintegrated) look practically brand new! There are a few chips here and there…but those will be infinitely easier to take care of than an entire re-paint job.

magic eraser


magic eraser


magic eraser


As excited as I was to learn what I could CLEAN with these magical bars….I was equally interested in just HOW these babies work??  How come they seem to perform MAGICAL acts of cleaning??

The answer was pretty darn interesting. I will attempt to explain as simply as I can, some of the “science” behind the “magic”.

magic eraser“Magic” erasers are actually made of Melamine foam which has been used for over 20 years as insulation for pipes and ductwork, and as soundproofing material for studios, and sound stages.

About 10 years ago someone discovered that this melamine foam was also an effective abrasive cleaner.  (Not sure how they discovered that.) Apparently, when melamine resin cures into foam, its microstructure becomes almost as hard as glass — causing it to act like a SUPER-fine sandpaper on stains. But what REALLY gives it “magical” powers is the open microstructure of the melamine foam which literally pulls the dirt that has been loosened into the open spaces and traps it there. MAGICAL.

About the only drawback I found with regards to these erasers is that much like PENCIL erasers…they will break down and fall apart as they are used.

Like this:

magic eraser

Now, if you’re worried about whether melamine foam is SAFE to be using in your home….wonder no more.

Here are the facts.

  • The ingredients in Magic Eraser have been safely and commonly used for many years in a wide range of household products and are considered non-toxic.
  • No ingredients are subject to any health-related labeling laws in North America or in Europe.
  • Formaldehyde is not and never has been an ingredient in Magic Eraser. One ingredient in Magic Eraser (formaldehyde-melamine-sodium bisulfite copolymer) contains the word “formaldehyde” in its chemical name. However, this ingredient is not formaldehyde and poses no health or safety risks.
Now that we’ve covered all the hows and whys and what to’s and wherefore’s……here is a list of just SOME of the “magic” that can be performed with these cleaning erasers:
  • Remove marker, pen and crayons off the walls and furniture
  • Remove sticker and label residue.
  • Cleans notoriously hard-to-clean fiberglass shower floors.
  • Silver polisher. Removes tarnish from jewelry and silver utensils.
  • Cleans residue off dry erase marker boards. (Even when someone accidentally uses a permanent marker on them!)
  • Removes scuffs, pen marks and dirt build up on leather couches, shoes, purses and luggage.
  • Cleans granite countertops and other finished stone surfaces
  • Removes spray paint from vandals (or mischievous 3 year olds!)
  • Safely cleans keyboards, monitors, flat screen TV’s.
  • Soap scum from shower and glass door.
  • Stains on clothing!
  • Tile grout!
  • Cleans stovetops.
  • Coffee stains, koolaid stains, etc. on counter tops
  • Micro fiber couches!
  • Cleans up scuffs on shoes and scuffs LEFT from shoes on the floor.
  • Cleans your plastic and metal patio furniture
  • Great for car interiors and exteriors. Works well on wheels and paint scratches.
  • RV’s and Boats….inside and out.
  • Removes stuck on bugs from cars, house siding, etc.
  • Remove ink and paint stains from hands
  • etc……………………

I literally could go on and on. There are pages and pages and pages of comments from consumers on the Mr. Clean website extolling the virtues of this versatile sponge. I spent a LONG time (too long!) reading through them and didn’t make a DENT! So if you’re bored someday and contemplating what you can try your magic erasers on next….there’s plenty of material there!

I personally can’t wait to go buy some more sponges today and continue my baseboard project.  How crazy is that?? :-)



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  1. says

    They are great, however I did notice that on flat painted wall you can tell where you erased when looking closer. After I tried Mr. Clean we gave the ones from the Dollar Store (I believe you have Dollar Trees in the US?) a chance, way cheaper and work just fine for our purpose. They are great on cleaning old kitchen cabinets inside (unknown stuff left by previous owner of the house, yucky!) and also the SS kitchen sink.
    Have a sweet rest of the week,

      • sara m. says

        I disagree. The ones at the Dollar Tree are $1 for 2, as opposed to $1 for 1 (on Amazon) like the Mr. Clean brand, using no coupons at all (which is dumb anyway). But they do not work at all like the brand name erasers! I’m not sure why, but I have to scrub a lot harder and a lot longer with the Dollar Tree erasers just to get things HALF as clean as I get them with the Mr. Clean eraser. If you think they are the same, then I dare you to try them side by side on a tough job, like rust or permanent marker!

    • Barbara says

      I agree that the ones from the Dollar Tree are not quite as good, but I still like them and use them for the small jobs that will mess up the good (Mr. Clean) ones and allow them to fall apart before I get back to use them again.

  2. Brynn says

    since it is just melamine foam I read somewhere that you can order melamine foam in bulk from amazon and its the same thing as the mr. clean magic eraser just without the genie-looking bald guy on the package. The way i understood it was it was just like the regular eraser not any of the specialty ones (kitchen scrub ones etc.) It also should come in the “bars” just bigger and cut to size.

  3. Jenn says

    Also these stretch a lot further if you cut them in to small chunks and use them until they dissolve completely instead of stopping when they’re unsightly. I cut off about an in of the bar at a time and use that one by 2.5″ piece until it’s literally gone. Using them that much can lead to some dirt residue coming back out of the sponge, but a damp cloth is plenty to wipe that back up.

    I used to work at a retail counter and we used these miracles to clean the registers, phones and copiers back to new in a heart beat. Even counters with years of pen marks even GooGone couldn’t remove, looked like they’d just been installed after we cleaned with these. LOVE THEM! Man it’s good not to feel guilty for using them any more! I was sure these must be some horrific chemical concoction. Thanks for the quality intel :)

    Finally, these work great on colored walls too (not just white like above) but go very lightly they start by taking the dirt off but can quickly start taking paint if you get over zealous. A good tip for painted walls is, one or two light passes on a spot with the eraser then a swipe with a damp cloth to clean up any loose dirt the eraser didn’t pick up so you don’t accidentally over clean.

    • Heather Capitelli says

      Love this idea! I’m a cheap-skate, and anything to save money on a somewhat expensive product is right up my ally! I have purchased these in the past, but my thrifty mind has avoided more purchases because they do seem to fall apart too fast. Great idea. Thanks Jillee and Jenn for inspiring yet another cleaning adventure! I love it!

  4. Katie says

    You can also rip off a small corner, toss into your toilet, let it sit overnight, and your toilet will be clean the next morning. This only cleans where the water sits in the toilet bowl, but it works really well!

  5. Merry says

    Please don’t be over zealous with finished wood trim. I cleaned up a mess on oak stained trim and ended up having to re-do the sealer over the wood. Otherwise, I use for everything here. And it’s great for cleaning the inside of the washer, the dog bowl, bird bath and anything that water may leave a tiny film.

  6. Amanda says

    I had a little boy use black crayon on my brand new laminent wood floors, a keepsake toy box, and the side of his dresser. I was ready to cry when my husband got the magic eraser and got all of it off with no damage to any of it! We also just finished reprinting the house and I touched the stained baseboards on a couple of spots and wouldn’t you know the erasers will take that paint off too! But be advised it is just like the paint, don’t scrub to hard or you can start to remove the stain!

  7. Stacey says

    I used Magic Eraser on my flat top stove. I had some really burned on “overflow” from cooking. Put some vinegar on it and let it sit for a while, then scrubbed it with the eraser. Like magic, it all came off, with no scratches to the ceramic top.

  8. Helen says

    I love Magic Erasers. As a matter of fact, I just bought another bucket full at BJs yesterday. When at the dollar store pick them up. The ones they sell are just as good but may degrade a little faster.

  9. kris says

    I had a scuff mark on the outside of my bath tub. I was worried it would leave a dull spot so I tried one of the Magic Erasers on a small area. It didn’t!! left it as shinny as when it was new.

  10. Marianne says

    So there are no cleaning chemicals in the sponges? It’s just the structure that makes them great cleaners? I never knew that! Now I feel better (safer) using them more often. Thanks for doing the research and then posting for us! :)

  11. says

    My house will NOT go without this awesome cleaning product. I tell everyone. The dollar store has some that work EXACTLY the same. It is $1 and you get 2 in the pack. I ALWAYS cut them in half when I use them to make sure I don’t waste any part of the eraser. This was very informative. Someone told me once that they had bleach on them. Totally not true. They said that their kids got burnt when using them. It was probably like a rug burn from rubbing over and over again in the same spot. Not sure what that was about. This is probably the safest most effective product. Even if it did contain bleach, I will never stop using it.

  12. Pam says

    I love magic erasers! Use them to clean my Stainless sinks, works way better than stainless polish. And they are the ONLY thing that get the baked on grease off the gas range top!

  13. Demaroge says

    Get those boys and girls cleaning up their own scuff marks! Make a game of it….who can use up their magic eraser “first?” Get the competitiveness to work in your favor! Give everyone a magic eraser and set them loose with some good music blastin’!

    Its just too much to do it all by yo’self!

  14. Susan says

    When we open our pool every year, there is always sort of a dirty “ring” around it. These work wonderfully to clean that off the sides, as well as the steps and filter returns. Looks beautiful when I am done!

  15. Amber says

    I love Magic Erasers! I have always used them BUT have wondered what chemicals are lurking in them to make them so “erasable”… I don’t need to wonder anymore…….and I can use them even more! I just buy the Wal-Mart (GV) brand and have been VERY happy w/ the results!
    I have found that if I am using it on any wood surface it can leave a white residue behind on it…..I just go back through w/ a slightly damp cloth and wipe it away!
    Love your website…..Keep up the good work!

  16. says

    Thanks for your research! When they first came out I wondered how safe they were but could never find what they were made of so was a little scared. At that time, there wasn’t even info on the maker’s site. I still used them but cautiously. Glad to hear they are safe because they are wonderful.

  17. Tina S says

    I LOVE this product! I had heard they were made of melamine foam but who knows what that is? I’m glad to finally know how these babies work. I use these every day for everything you can think of. Maybe it really is magic?

  18. dj says

    Thanks for the fact about what they are made of. Like several other poster I hesitated using them very often because I thought there could be harmful chemical in them but now they will be my go to cleaning tool. Love the tip someone posted about using them, along with vinegar, for the glasstop stove. I am headed to the kitchen to give it a try.

  19. says

    I really, really liked these but was worried that they weren’t safe. NOW I’m considering loading the kiddos up for an impromptu trip to the dollar store :D

    I did end up scratching my stove top with these so be careful! Once I figured out the right amount of elbow grease, it cleaned up beautifully and without further incident.

  20. Amanda says

    DONT USE THEM ON WOOD FURNITURE!!!!! you will take the finish off!!! I did it to my moms wood dinning room table when I was young. She wasnt very happy with me.

    But on a happy note they work great at getting hair spray off of your curling iron then just wipe it again with a clean damp rag to get the last of the residue of and Wa La a brand new curling iron!

  21. Katy says

    LOVE these! Unlike others though I’ve found that generic versions of these don’t work nearly as well. Maybe they’re using a cheaper foam version, or maybe I’m just imagining it :-) These even got stray black spray paint from a former roommate off the white walls of the house!

  22. Carolyn says

    Be so careful with these. Everytime I use them I loose my fingerprint. By that I mean that I literally find my forefinger and thumb are smooth and I can’t even make a fingerprint afterward for weeks. Use gloves no matter what and especially if you are allowing a child to use these bad boys.

    Yes they are great and yes they are a real life saver in some stain situations but they are abrasives and shouldn’t be in contact with your skin. And yes the cheaper version at walmart and the dollar store work just as well.

  23. Amanda says

    I will echo the sentiment that these should NOT be used on skin. They cause painful skin abrasions. Also, definitely don’t use them on flat paint as they WILL take the paint off. Other than that I also love these and have been using them for years!

  24. Dee says

    I love Magic Erasers, too, but NEVER use them on melamine white boards! We had a bunch of white boards at church that weren’t coming clean anymore, so I used Magic Erasers on them. Huge mistake. They were horribly scratched. I don’t know about higher quality metal white boards, & even though the church has them, I don’t intend to try to find out!

    • Dee Dee says

      Hey Dee! :o) Just wanted to let you know that they do make whiteboard paint now, so if you were worried about repairing the ones that got scratched, you could do so pretty easily! It always stinks when you’re trying to do something nice and it goes wrong! Hope it works out! Have a great day!

  25. says

    Do NOT use on your skin! Unfortunately I learned by experience… My friend’s little girls wrote on her nose with a sharpie. I was so proud when I had just the thing to wipe it right off. Guess what??? Took her skin right off too! She complained that her nose was burning so we washed it and thought it was just her sensitive skin….NOPE! It is definitely an awsome tool for cleaning though! I read that you can order melemime foam in bulk for next to nothing online :)

  26. Krystal says

    I LOVE these! Best of all, my husband loves them too, I give him one and he goes all throughout the house amazed and trying it on everything to find something it wont clean, good for me is the fact that he doesnt find anything it wont work on, and I end up with a clean house, shoes, tables, walls, vehicle, etc. :) Jillee, did you know that you can make your own too? I hear you can order the foam off of amazon and its a million times cheaper!

  27. Mary L. says

    I am a convert! Seriously! Even the cheap ones work on EVERYTHING!!!! I bought some from IGA’S $1 BIN and they work just like the name brands! Where have you been all my life!!!!

  28. Kadee Gray says

    You know I’ve been dealing with dirty shower stains for awhile, really want to give this a try :) Do you know, will this work on cupboards that aren’t white (light blue)? Thanks for the post, this is perfect for my old house!

    Kadee Gray

  29. susan says

    i love my magic erasers and have used them for a few years on everything!
    BUT people need to realize they are micro sand paper…which means they are sanding off the surface of whatever you are cleaning….so be careful what you use them on. if you dont want to affect the finish

  30. Annalisa says

    The dollar stores sell the generics for $1, and sometimes 4/$1. They work exactly the same. I’ve been using them for years. One thing that they are perfect for is the outsoles of sneakers (not just the toe box). The textured rubber on the outside bottom of kids’ shoes gets dirty REALLY fast. Also the shoes that have EVA foam between the leather and the actual sole…the foam gets stained, and no amount of soap will get rid of it. I’ve gotten filthy shoes to look brand new again. First, you knock off the hardened dirt chunks. Then you use an old toothbrush and dawn dish soap to get off most of the physical residue, and follow it up with a magic eraser. They will look brand new again!

    Also, my daughter collects American Girl dolls. If you have a little girl who is into these dolls, you know how pricey they are. Unfortunately, my 5 year old also wants to play with them, and she somehow managed to leave a black scuff on one of the doll’s noses, and white-out on the leg of another! Magic eraser took both right off (I was really scared they were ruined).

  31. Dana says

    I have been using these for a long time. You do have to be careful on walls and painted surfaces. They do get the stain/marks out but they also rub the paint off. They work especially good on textured surfaces like refrigerators and tubs/shower walls. I wish they didn’t crumble away so quickly.

  32. says

    i, too, was skeptical about the merits of the magic eraser. no more! they are amazing! i have purchased them in boxes of 10 since they do disintegrate with large yucky jobs. the main benefit, other than the actual cleaning, is that they don’t harm the surface being cleaned. well worth the money IMO. i have them in several rooms of my house and use them regularly.
    jd in st louis

  33. Melissa says

    Be warned that if you have colored paint on your walls, the magic eraser will take the color off. I used one on a dirt scuff on the yellow walls in our den and one quick rub took the paint off down to the white layer below it. Luckily it is low on the wall and partially behind a floor lamp so it isn’t noticable. Also, if you use one on a white wall that has a glossy finish (such as in a bathroom or kitchen), the eraser will remove the gloss so the paint will look flat in that area.

  34. says

    Bathroom mirrors–you know–where all of those “home runs” hit when flossing. I just use my Magic Eraser and dry with my hand towel. Streak free and shiny! No need for window cleaner anymore!

    Oh and they are great on the windows too! No streaks–no spraying…

    Love them!

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