What's The Magic That Makes A Magic Eraser Work?

Magic erasers seem like they work like magic. They can quickly clean almost any surface without much elbow grease. However, the true magic behind magic erasers is their main ingredient, melamine. In its foam form, melamine has previously been used for insulating and sound-proofing rooms (via Maid Sailors). This versatile ingredient allows magic erasers to scrub clean almost all the surfaces in and around your home.

Magic erasers work best at cleaning off stains, dirt, and sticky residue. They can be used to remove scuff marks, permanent marker or pen marks, sticker label residue, built-up dirt, and food stains, among many other types of stains. According to One Good Thing, magic erasers can be safely used to clean walls, baseboards, fiberglass showers, tile grout, leather and microfiber couches, plastic and metal patio furniture, and clothing. They can even be used to clean electronics, but be sure to never use them on the screens.

The magic of melamine foam

The magic behind magic erasers is melamine foam. Magic erasers are the name brand for melamine foam sponges. These sponges are made of melamine resin that was cured into an abrasive foam. This creates a microstructure that acts like 3,000 to 6,000-grit sandpaper. These sponges are able to clean any surface like magic because of melamine's microstructure acting like fine sandpaper that scrubs off the top layer of your surfaces.

When you use magic erasers, the mess that you are cleaning up is essentially sanded off of the surface by the melamine and then absorbed by the foam, according to Maid Sailors. As the sponge is used, it breaks down, leaving microplastics in the area that you were cleaning. While magic erasers may be convenient and effective at cleaning stains, they are not the most environmentally friendly choice, according to Sweeping Dimensions Cleaning Service. The microplastics that are left are often washed down drains and are not biodegradable.

How to use magic erasers

Using a magic eraser or any brand of melamine foam sponge works best if it is wet. To use it, run the sponge under some water and then ring out as much of the water as possible. That's all the prep work that needs to be done to use a magic eraser. A tip from One Good Thing is to cut your magic erasers into smaller squares so each sponge will last longer. This helps to portion your sponge so the whole thing won't break down in one use.

Magic erasers can be used to clean up messes on almost any surface. Since they work like sandpaper, by scrubbing off the top layer of your surfaces, you should avoid using them on shiny surfaces, according to Grunge. If you were to use them on stainless steel, finished wood, marble and granite countertops, or car exteriors, the surface would look dull in the area that you cleaned.