Got kids? You'll probably benefit from keeping melamine foam erasers on hand.

Photo Courtesy of BASF

Now on the market for a couple of years, eraserlike products that get rid of stains you thought you were stuck with for good have become a common household item. For example, Mr. Clean sells a line called Magic Erasers and Scotch-Brite offers a product called the Easy Erasing Pad.

The secret behind these types of erasers is a material commonly called melamine foam. With just a little water, melamine foam can dig in and destroy stains that other products can't touch. Kids go crazy with the crayons? Co-workers leave a trail of scuffmarks wherever they walk? Erasers made with melamine foam might be just what you need.

Stain removal isn't the only thing this special foam is useful for. It's actually been around for about 20 years and has a variety of applications, such as sound insulation (whether to improve a room's acoustics or dampen excess noise) and temperature insulation (whether to protect against very hot or cold temperatures). It's just recently that developers realized its potential as a cleaning product.

A couple of melamine foam's specific physical properties make it a great stain remover, and we'll dive into what those characteristics are on the next page.

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