If you’ve ever had to remove your toddler’s latest crayon masterpiece from a wall in your home, you probably have already heard of Magic Eraser sponges. These remarkable cleaning products have garnered a reputation for being so easy to use and effective that they really are almost like magic. But like any tool, Magic Eraser sponges are designed for specific jobs and, if used incorrectly, they can cause real damage to your favorite surfaces.
So, which jobs are right for your Magic Eraser sponge — and which should be left to another cleaning tool in your arsenal? Read on…
What are Magic Eraser Sponges?
Magic Eraser sponges are made out of melamine, an organic compound with a wide variety of uses; in fact, you’ll find melamine used in everything from sound dampening materials to dinnerware sets.
When the rigid crystal structure of melamine is processed, it turns into melamine foam, which is the generic name for Magic Eraser sponges. Melamine foam has a superfine, high-strength structure that behaves a lot like sandpaper with a nearly microscopic level of grit.
Once you dampen this foam with a little bit of water, tiny filaments open up, helping the sponge’s gritty surface to dig into grime, soap scum, stains, crayon and marker marks, and other irritating household messes.
Compared to conventional sponges, Magic Erasers have some advantages. For one thing, these sponges only require water to get rid of messes — meaning you won’t need to burn through chemical cleaning products (and plastic packaging).
Magic Eraser sponges can also typically be used multiple times, making them preferable to paper towels and other single-use products. Melamine sponges are also non-toxic, though they are not fully biodegradable and therefore not fully eco-friendly.
For this reason, we think Magic Eraser sponges are a great tool for deep cleaning those stubborn, impossible messes — but you shouldn’t rely on them every day! Instead, you should get in the habit of using environmentally friendly green scrubbers for those more common messes, and save melamine for the baddest of the bad guys.
Where Should You Use Melamine Sponges Around the House?
While Magic Eraser sponges are versatile, they shouldn’t be used on every surface. Before you break out the magic eraser, remember these “dos” and “don’ts:”
DON’T use on stainless steel
It might be tempting to use your melamine sponge to buff out light scratches on stainless steel appliances, but you could actually damage the finish that gives stainless steel its shine, causing it to dull over time.
DON’T use on granite or marble countertops
Granite may be stone, but it won’t hold up to the scrubbing power of your Magic Eraser sponge. The abrasive texture of melamine foam could cause scratches or damage to the sealant that protects natural stone countertops made from granite or marble, which could lead to greater damage down the line.
DON’T use on nonstick pots and pans
Stubborn, stuck-on food and grease might be frustrating, but don’t resort to your Magic Eraser sponge to clean it off. It might work, but you’re likely to damage your cookware’s non-stick coating in the process.
DON’T use on high gloss finishes
You may be noticing a theme by now: Magic Eraser sponges should not be used on many treated or finished surfaces, which tend to be more sensitive. This especially goes for glossy paint, including the paint on your car’s exterior. As with other glossy coatings, your melamine foam sponge is likely to dull the finish over time.
DON’T use on untreated or natural wood
While you can use your Magic Eraser sponge on a (non-glossy) painted wall or other surface, avoid using it on untreated or “natural” finished wood, like wood paneling or stained furniture. You’ll likely damage the finish and could potentially scratch the wood itself.
DO use on marks and stains
Your Magic Eraser sponge is great for cleaning up marks and stains. Crayon on the wall? No problem. Scuffs on your baseboard? Not a problem. Depending on the material of your counter or floor, your magic eraser can even handle the stains from a spilled cup of juice or tomato sauce.
DO use on grit and grime
Melamine foam makes cleaning grimy buildup easier than ever. Greasy stovetops, gunked-up microwaves, even soap scum on a shower door are no match for a Magic Eraser sponge.
DO wear gloves
Don’t let the seemingly plush texture fool you: melamine foam can be rough on your skin. They aren’t toxic like some cleaning products, but their microscopically abrasive structure can cause friction burns on exposed skin.
DO a spot test before you start cleaning
The biggest concern with your melamine foam sponge is that it could damage the finish on some common household surfaces and items. If you’re not sure whether a Magic Eraser is the right tool for the job, do a spot test. Pick an inconspicuous area of the surface you’d like to clean, and give it a quick, small scrub. If you notice any dulling or discoloration of the surface, consider other options for dealing with this particular mess.
DO always keep the sponge damp
Moisture helps your sponge attract and hold onto dirt, while softening it up. So make sure to keep your sponge a little wet, the same way you would with a sponge or a paper towel used to clean up a mess.
Ready to Take the Guesswork Out of Cleaning?
Are you surprised to find out there’s more to using your Magic Eraser sponge than using the right amount of elbow grease?
At Sweeping Dimensions, we know how to choose the right tool for the job, every time. For us, this means emphasizing green, eco-friendly products that can help make sure your home and everything in it stays looking as good as new.
We are committed to doing everything we can to limit our impact on the environment. Sometimes that means making a small switch here in the office, and sometimes it means encouraging our loved ones and our customers to try a new eco-friendly alternative!
Want to talk about putting an environmentally friendly cleaning strategy in place for your Chicago home? Ready to get started making a difference for the planet? We’re here to help! Contact us today for your FREE service estimate!
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