Many people think the Mr. Clean® Magic Eraser® is wonderful for every cleaning job imaginable. Just browse the forums and tip sites, and you’ll see it as a recommendation for cleaning everything. It’s not new, it’s been around for years, but TipBusters is taking a look at it because everyone says it’s magic, incredible. You say magic, I say modern materials manufacturing, with a little chemistry thrown in (tomato, tomahto)
So is it good on everything? Should we throw out our other cleaners?
The answer is no.
It works very well on hard surfaces (Mr. Clean® claims that it is so powerful that each swipe removes more grime than the leading bleach all-purpose spray cleaner); however, on surfaces that can be easily scratched, or are painted or polished, you can do some damage.
Why is that?
Proctor & Gamble’s Magic Eraser® is made of a melamine resin foam called Basotect® (manufactured by BASF). On curing, the melamine resin becomes almost as hard as glass, which allows it to act like extremely fine sandpaper as the foam eraser rubs the particles of dirt from the surface. Basotect® remains soft and supple due to the structure of the foam created by adding water. When water is added, the very fine airy structure (that you can only see under a microscope) creates a surface that makes the dirt stick to it.
So it works 2 ways:
1. The foam eraser acts like extremely fine sandpaper and rubs the dirt from the surface.
2. The nature of the foam makes the dirt stick to it.
And, like a pencil eraser, the foam gets used up as it’s used.
Here’s why you should be careful.
Anything that works like sandpaper will not only rub the dirt from the surface, but with a soft surface that can be scratched, it will also damage the surface. I tested the Magic Eraser® on walls painted with eggshell latex paint. Yes, it took the dirt away. It also took the sheen from the paint surface. It also took some of the colour from the paint surface. High gloss latex paint? It removes the gloss. Varnished surfaces? Don’t even think about using it.
Here’s our advice:
1. Only use the Magic Eraser® on a non-scratchable surface. Better yet, try it on an inconspicuous spot first. And if you try it on a wall, be aware, it may not look like it has done any damage; however, look at the wall from an angle where the light hits it – see if the sheen is any different.
2. Break off a little piece to use on a little spot. Yes, you can break little pieces off the big eraser, and they will work just the same as the big eraser. Everywhere the eraser rubs will be abraded. So if you have a tiny spot, just break off a tiny piece. Two benefits to this:
1. A smaller surface area will be affected by the rubbing, and
2. Your eraser will last longer. Much longer.
In a nutshell: the Magic Eraser® works well on really hard surfaces; just be aware of scratchable, or high-gloss surfaces or surfaces with a sheen (including walls!). And break off the tiny amount that you need to use for little marks. You won’t waste the whole eraser, and you won’t abrade the area around the mark.
Then you’ll have good magic.