This Money-Saving Hack Will Help Make Your Pack Of Magic Erasers Last Longer

It seems like there could be a special power behind the Magic Eraser's ability to remove stains, residue, and scuffs from surfaces. At times the sponge succeeds where sprays and solvents fail. There must be some proprietary combination of material and chemical substances behind its efficacy, right? Actually, no. "What many people might not realize is that there are no other added chemicals in the Magic Eraser," Morgan Eberhard, a scientist with Mr. Clean, told How Stuff Works. "They give you a powerful clean with water alone." 

In a study performed by Choice, an independent consumer advocacy group, a combination of water and elbow grease was just as effective at cleaning as 50% of the chemical solvents they tested (via The Guardian). Floor cleaners were the least efficacious. "None of them performed noticeably better than water, " Ashley Iredale, testing project manager for Choice explained. "It's just the mechanical scrubbing action. If you're concerned about the environment then best to just use plain water and scrub for a bit longer," she added. According to Maid Sailors, Magic Erasers are non-toxic, too, making them an eco-friendly tool to add to your cleaning arsenal.

Anyone who has used one can attest that a Magic Eraser erodes with use, with the rate relative to how hard and quickly you scour. At around $1.00 each (via Lowe's), they're not exorbitantly priced. However, it's always good to reduce household expenditures, and we've found a way to make them even more economical. 

Erasing life's little mishaps

Per Maid Sailors, the Magic Eraser is not a sponge, but a melamine resin foam originally utilized as insulation in soundproofing. It was eventually found that the abrasive material worked remarkably well for eliminating dirt marks and scuffs. The cleaning service recommends its use for removing sticker residue, permanent marker stains, and scuffs from flooring. Additionally, they claim it effectively rids stovetops of cooked-on grime and the tub of soap scum — two particularly arduous household chores. Further, Morgan Eberhard says Magic Erasers are great for polishing jewelry, silverware, and phone screens (via How Stuff Works).   

A significant benefit of a Magic Eraser is its soft, marshmallow-like quality that ensures its safe use on most surfaces. However, per The Maids, there are a number of them you should avoid. A shiny paint job, such as the one on your car, smooth stone countertops, stainless steel, and wood can all be damaged by the melamine, which they compare to 3000 to 5000 grit sandpaper once wet. Eberhard explains that the combination of water and the minuscule air pockets in the foam creates an extremely hard surface that acts like multiple tiny windshield wipers removing grime and debris. 

Making your Magic Eraser last

For an optimal outcome, Maid Sailors suggests wetting the material and scrubbing in a circular motion. Afterward, wring any excess water from the sponge and allow it to air-dry to use again; this will help it last longer. However, once it begins to degrade and break apart, it's time to toss it. 

But, what if there was a way to prevent the edges of the Magic Eraser from degrading so fast? While we may not be able to do exactly that, there is a way to create more surface area, in effect fashioning several sponges from one. Clean Freak & Germaphobe shared how in their YouTube video. Simply cut it into smaller rectangles or squares with scissors. This exposes new air pockets that haven't yet been compacted with use. Remember, those are paramount to the stain-removing function of the material. Lifestyle blogger Jill Nystul of One Good Thing says she portions her Magic Erasers into as many as eight small pieces before using them to get rid of nail polish spills, stubborn coffee stains, scratches on leather, and product build-up on hair tools to name a few. 

Keep in mind that a Magic Eraser can be a choking hazard when cut into little pieces, per The Missouri Poison Center, so keep them away from children. Additionally, the center cautions against using the rough sponges on bare skin.