5 Things You Shouldn’t Clean With A Magic Eraser

magic eraser don'ts

When used properly, a Magic Eraser can make cleaning faster and easier than almost any other cleaning tool could. But while I really like them and use them frequently while cleaning my own home, I also realize that a Magic Eraser is NOT the best tool for every cleaning job!

Magic Erasers are made from melamine foam, which acts like a very fine sandpaper. It’s great for cleaning stubborns marks and messes, but it can also scratch certain surfaces and remove protective finishes. And that’s what I’ll be helping you avoid in today’s post!

Today I’m sharing a list of five things you should avoid cleaning with a Magic Eraser. I’ve also included some general tips that will help you use Magic Erasers safely and minimize potential damage. With the help of the tips in today’s post, you’ll never have to wonder when you should or shouldn’t use this amazing cleaning sponge!

5 Things You Should Never Clean With A Magic Eraser

magic eraser don'ts

1. Stone Countertops

Abrasive materials like a Magic Eraser can remove the protective seal on your stone countertops. Without that protective seal, your stone could be vulnerable to scratches, stains, and other forms of permanent damage.

What To Use Instead: Use my easy-to-make homemade granite cleaner and a microfiber cloth to wipe down stone countertops. Microfiber cloths are gentle, yet effective, plus they’re easy to wash. This combo will keep your stone countertops clean, shiny, and protected!

magic eraser don'ts

2. Nonstick Cookware

Nonstick cookware requires special care, mainly because of how easily the nonstick coating can scratch, especially if you clean it with abrasive materials like a Magic Eraser. Once a nonstick pan is scratched, the chemicals from the nonstick coating can leach out into your food—no one wants that!

What To Use Instead: Hand wash your nonstick pans with a soft sponge and a bit of dish soap. If you have a really stubborn mess on your hands, use a bit of baking soda to help loosen it up.

Related: 11 Ways You’re Ruining Your Nonstick Pans

magic eraser don'ts

3. Stainless Steel

Even with as durable as stainless steel can be, using a Magic Eraser to clean it will likely end up leaving small scratches on the surface. While some people are fine with scratches and scuffs on their stainless steel, other people may want to protect that super shiny finish for as long as possible.

What To Use Instead: Clean stainless steel pots and pans with Bar Keepers Friend and a soft, wet sponge. (Learn more about the many amazing uses for Bar Keepers Friend here!)

magic eraser don'ts

4. Screens

The screens of your electronics (including your phone, tablet, TV, or computer) need to be cleaned super gently to avoid scratching them. That means that Magic Erasers are a big no-no for cleaning screens!

What To Use Instead: Clean the screens of your electronics with my homemade screen cleaner solution and a clean microfiber cloth.

magic eraser don'ts

5. Your Car

Your car’s paint job is covered in a protective coating or wax, which helps protect the paint and make your car easier to clean. But a Magic Eraser can rub right through that protective coating down to the paint easily!

You can use a Magic Eraser to remove particularly stubborn bugs from the front end of your car, but just make sure to be conscious of how much force you are using.

What To Use Instead: Washing your car by hand is usually the safest way to clean it. especially if you do it using microfiber cloths. But if that’s not your thing, you can always take it through a touchless or soft-touch car wash!

magic eraser don'ts

BONUS: 4 Tips For Using Magic Erasers Safely

  1. Don’t use them dry. Wetting down a Magic Eraser softens the sponge and makes them less likely to scratch the surface you’re cleaning.
  2. Do a spot test. When in doubt about whether you should use your Magic Eraser, do a spot test in an inconspicuous spot to see how it fares.
  3. Wear gloves. The superfine abrasive material can aggravate your skin, especially if you already have sensitive skin to begin with. Wearing a pair of rubber gloves will keep your hands safe!
  4. Be gentle. Always rub as gently as you can while still removing dirt and grime. Using too much pressure can not only scratch surfaces, but it can also take paint right off your walls.
magic eraser don'ts

What Should I Clean With A Magic Eraser?

Just because a Magic Eraser isn’t the best tool for the cleaning jobs above, that doesn’t mean you can’t ever use it! Magic Erasers are one of my go-to cleaning tools, and they make so many cleaning tasks so much faster and easier for me.

Check out the very best uses for Magic Erasers!

What’s your favorite way to use Magic Erasers?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • Best use for magic eraser ever: Cleaning auto glass – inside and out. (Plain auto glass only, do not use on tinted or if other films are applied.) Wet it with water and the magic eraser quickly removes all of the hazy film on interior glass from off-gassing of plastic and other materials in the car. Then just buff dry with a clean cloth. (Or can follow up with favorite glass cleaner before drying, if desired.) Similarly, magic eraser removes all of the road film on the outside glass. Follow with favorite glass cleaner if desired. Squeegie or buff dry. Auto glass looks like new again.

  • My sister in law tried to use it on her eye glasses and ruined the finish. They had a non-scratch coating and it made it all smudgy and foggy looking!

  • Yes, it causes scratches that are so fine, you can’t see them. I saw an article that said not to use on glass. I have a window over my kitchen sink, no dishwasher, so I’m constantly getting out the Windex. It had gotten to the point that (I would guess some type of build-up) and every time I cleaned, it was streaky. I got out the Eraser, a dry rag, and very, VERY lightly, used the wet Eraser on the window and followed each swipe with the rag. No streaks and the sun came shining in. I also tried it on the inside of my windshield – again, an amazing job. It stays clean for a longer time.
    My point is this – just swipe, no pressure should you use this on windows.

  • Let’s say you did scratch your stainless steel refrigerator, (not saying I did) to fix it you use WD40. Spray it on and wipe. Scratches gone! Or you can use baby oil or even cooking oil.

  • My super easy way to clean messy pots with hard stuck on food and grease: I use a laundry soap pod. I cut it open and pour the soap into the messy pan & put a small amount of water in it. Then I use a silicone scrubber if the pan is non stick, and a metal scrubber for all other pans. I let the solution set for about 15 minutes, then it scrubs off easily! Viola!

  • A friend of mine used them on one of her nice maple cabinets,took some of the finish off,only use lightly on painted cabinet only!. I also will use lightly if there’s a scuff mark on a baseboard or wall.Just don’t press hard!

  • Have a question about #3/Stainless Steel. You say to substitute the magic eraser with Barkeepers Friend to clean stainless steel pots & pans. Can I also use Barkeepers Friend to clean my stainless steel refrigerator & dishwasher? Was always a Comet girl (grew up with that in my household) but have recently switched to Barkeepers Friend. Thank you for any suggestions. Would like to get this clarified before I use BKF on my st/st refrigerator & dishwasher & then find out I shouldn’t have!

  • Please do not use the Magic Erase on ink stains on a purse…it will remove the leather stain and finish. I am sharing thus list with the woman who cleans for us! Thank you!

    • I’m sorry this happened to you, Lori. I have had success, but I do not rub very hard. I always recommend woth any type of stain removal, you test a small area first on the surface you are cleaning.

    • If you don’t rub real hard it won’t scratch your walls. I use it in walls to clean marker pen and crayon messes and it works wonderfully.

  • If you check up on melamine which has cancer causing chemicals, using it without gloves is asking for trouble it is dangerous. My suggestions never use it especially around children.

    • Doesn’t everything we come in contact with today cause cancer? Careful when you step outside your home…may want to hold your breath! In comparison to all the cancer-causing things that we inadvertently come near, I would say this magic eraser is VERY minimal danger. Many children are going to schools every day that are full of asbestos due to the age of many buildings.

  • You can use this on clear coated surfaces, you just have to be careful not to push hard. I would say, push down as hard as you would on a the soft spot of a baby’s head. This “cleaner” requires very little effort. As the article reads, this is much like a fine grade sandpaper. Fine grade sandpaper is used in the restoration process of automotive finishes, however it is always used with a compounding/buffing process to return the finish to pre damage condition.

  • I use Magic Eraser to clean the inside of my glass oven door. I saw this idea on OTG! I use it DRY. Dampening the sponge does NOT work; you lose the friction needed. You have to be patient and only do a very small area at a time, or your fingers will ache! So, when I heat my cup of coffee in the microwave, I open the oven door and work on a small area of the window. (Depending on how much coffee you drink equals the amount of time it takes! LOL) I usually do it over a couple days. It does an excellent job and doesn’t use any chemicals. The first time you do it will be the worst, perhaps, if your window is in disastrous shape; don’t give up, it gets easier and quicker, if you do it regularly. I thank Jillee for posting this idea, initially. :-)

    • Lynne, Sounds like you find ways to make certain chores a bit fun…you sound like my kind of gal’. I remember when I was a young mother, my friend in the same building and I would get together every morning for coffee (probably Coca-Cola, if I remember correctly). We would let the kids play and we would talk for hours. As it got closer to time for our husbands to get home, we would say, “I can clean the bedroom in 2 songs…the living room in 3 songs,” etc. The music got us motivated and kept us moving! It was fun and I can see now, crazy!! Ah, the good ol’ days! Today, I don’t even think I could keep up with a waltz!

  • I once got permanent marker on my legs and thought I should use a magic eraser to get it off because it had removed it from other hard surfaces. I learned a good lesson, it got the marker off, but it also took the first layer of skin! Ouch!

  • I used a Magic Eraser on an old Hammercraft aluminum pot. Unfortunately, now everything sticks. Obviously it was a mistake to use. Is there any way to fix the pan or have I ruined it forever? Is it still safe to use the pan if I add oil to keep from sticking?

  • My son, the computer tech engineer, *cleaned* my Mac keyboard with a magic eraser. Mistake: the surface of the keys was scratched and they accumulated dirt even faster. (He later apologized for his mistake.)

  • After being told by an art instructor that Magic eraser worked well to remove watercolor paint, I researched the contents of the Eraser. As mentioned above, it is melamine, which is toxic to the environment. Little particles are flushed down the drain and into our water supply and, eventually, the ocean. Google melamine and be informed before using the Eraser. Not all Magic is what we think it is.

  • Wood! I don’t know what compelled me to use a magic eraser on our wood trimmed mirrors but it literally wiped the stain off of them. I tried sanding and re-staining them to no avail.

  • I ruined a spot on my wall with a magic eraser. :(
    I thought it’d be the easiest way to clean off a smudge from moving in, but I just rubbed the new paint right off. Ugh

  • They also have worked wonders on OLD smoke stains on the walls of my mobile home we bought. The walls are already pre-fabbed or printed wall boards. They were just like scattered throughout the house.

  • The eraser from the Dollar Tree works well. I wet a small area of it, use it and then tear away the used portion. I have also used it on the cloudy headlights of my car along with toothpaste. No point having the headlights cleaned professionally because they will just cloud up again so cleaning them myself has saved $$ over time.

    • I’m a mom that works in the Auto Body industry. I have to tell you that yes, cleaners will allow the oxidation to appear on your headlights again, however if they are restored with the proper process (sanding to remove oxidation and clean the lens, then the use of a U.V. activated topcoat or clear coat ..which is sold as a kit and carries a lifetime warranty against the return of said oxidation) will ensure the haze will be gone indefinitely.

  • I’ve had terrific success in cleaning the soles of sneakers…. I like them to be white on the sides, and they get so dirty very quickly. They do a wonderful job on tile, or an enameled bathtub, but not on plastic, as that will scratch easily.

  • My Magic Eraser cleaned green paint overspray off parquet floors BEAUTIFULLY but when I used it to remove a red wine stain on my sister’s gorgeous oak wood dining room table it ruined the varnish finish and left a large cloudy area without affecting the red wine stain in the least. CAUTION: Always do a test run on an inconspicuous spot of the surface to be cleaned. For the sake of family peace!! =D

  • Magic Erasers work wonders on cleaning residual wax out of a Scentsy warmer. They look brand new after a scrubbing and elbow grease! I used one on a frosted green glass votive holder and while it removed the wax (after I chilled the holder in the freezer to remove the stuck candle) and soot, it also removed the green color. It’s now a frosted clear holder which I actually like better. Lol

  • I’ve used Scrub Daddy, similar to a sponge or your Magic Eraser, to clean my non-stick items, in the bathroom for the shower area, etc. . You can find them in different colors so you can color code to your cleaning task or by room. Just a thought….

  • Great information..We use the Erasers for the bathroom tub and sink. I have cleaned our granite countertops with this mixture. Lesson learned. I will definitely show this post to my mom.

  • I do like this kind of sponge, they are also very cheap. But they degrade very quickly when used. So i do cut them in small squares – a normal knife does cut through like butter. I do not slice them totally through so they still stay in shape and i break off small bits when needed.

  • >