You can't quite wrap your head around exactly what a Magic Eraser is. Let's be real — these things are weird. They're light-as-air, almost marshmallow-esque sponges but-not-really-sponges. So, what are they?
We talked to Morgan Eberhard, a senior scientist with Mr. Clean, the company that makes Magic Eraser. She explains that Magic Erasers are made from melamine resin foam that's surrounded by air pockets that look almost like tiny triangles. When we wet them, those tiny air pockets become about as hard as glass, she says.
So when you scrub surfaces with the Magic Eraser, the "points" of the triangles catch on the stains you want to remove — whether it's a scuff mark, soap scum or an icky buildup of grease and grime — and drags them across the surface like a windshield wiper.
"What many people might not realize is that there are no other added chemicals in the Magic Eraser," Eberhard says. "They give you a powerful clean with water alone."
But what makes the magic is the "marshmallow-esque" softness we mentioned earlier. The melamine resin foam the Magic Eraser sponges are made of is super soft on the surfaces they're cleaning.
And what can you really clean with these things? Eberhard says just about anything. "Oven doors, stovetops and microwave messes to dried-on paint on glass and hard water spots on your bathtub and shower glass."
Here are a dozen more ways you can use it to clean.
- Degreasing counters and stovetops. No matter how you try to avoid it, grease is one of those things you have to live with in the kitchen. And Magic Erasers can get rid of burnt-on grime on your counters and stovetops, especially those glass cooktops, with just a bit of water.
- Make your sneakers shine. Yup, this micro-scrubber action removes scuffs on white tennis shoes without any use of chemicals. That means you can enjoy your Keds again without walking in soapy residue.
- Deep clean doggy drool. Dog (and cat) lovers know how hard it is to get rid of nose smudges on the windows left behind by the wet noses of peeping Tom cats and curious Georges. You can wipe those away in just a few seconds sans vinegar or glass cleaner.
- Revive tile and grout. If these have seen better days (ahem, soap scum and mold) they'll look almost brand-new after a scrub down. And while you're at it, give your shower curtain a good wipe, too.
- Clean outside the coloring lines. Magic Eraser can remove crayon (not to mention permanent marker and fingerprints) from cabinets, walls and other surfaces, making it the perfect way to clean up after that playdate with your kid and their dozen or so sticky friends from day care.
- Smartphone and computer care. Our fingers leave oily residue on our cellphone screens and computer keyboards. It's not always easy to remove it safely. A quick wipe with the Magic Eraser can clean them both, no problem. And the Magic Eraser might also get rid of those scratches on your cellphone screen, too.
- Remove rust. We're talking small amounts — like from the bottom of your shaving cream bottle or an old cast-iron pan. But take caution. "As with any cleaning product, we recommend testing a small, inconspicuous area before using it on an entire surface," Eberhard says, "but generally it's best to avoid using Magic Erasers on surfaces with high gloss, stainless steel appliances or nonstick coating."
- Reach those unreachable parts. The problem with cleaning the nooks and crannies of your car — or home — with a vacuum is access. You just can't reach everything you want to reach with a rigid plastic hose. "I think the Magic Eraser is best at cleaning those particularly hard-to-reach and hard-to-clean areas," Eberhard says.
- De-goo sticky residue. We're talking about sticky stuff left behind from price tags, labels, glue, contact paper or any other type of goo that you otherwise have to use a chemical to remove.
- Clean hair product buildup. Anyone who grew up using Aqua Net can attest to the sticky residue it left behind. On everything. The walls. Your hairdryer. Your curling iron. Magic Eraser can knock that out all without any soap.
- Make your silver sparkle. You can use a Magic Eraser to polish your silver flatware. It even removes tarnish from sterling silver.
- Be-jewel your jewels. Magic Erasers are good for polishing gold, brass, your jewelry and leather. Even an old worn-out handbag can be revived with a good polishing.