7 Mistakes of Using the Magic Eraser
Magic Erasers (also commonly known as melamine foam) are kind of amazing. Not only can they clean everything from grout to oven doors to tennis shoes, but these sponge-shaped pads cost just over $1 each in an 8-pack. They're designed for cleaning hard-to-scrub surfaces in hard-to-reach places. Unfortunately, though, these one-handed wonders can sometimes work a little too well - especially on polished and easily scratched surfaces. So before you get carried away with cleaning your home with a melamine foam, read on to learn seven things you definitely shouldn't do with it.
1. Don't use it dry
Part of the magic of these erasers is that you only need to add water to activate them. However, it turns out that these plushy pads are even more abrasive when dry - and can therefore do even more damage - so adding water actually softens them.
2. Don't use them to polish your car (or other delicate painted surfaces)
Don't be fooled by the soft texture of the foam; once it gets wet, it has the sanding action of 3,000-grit sandpaper. That's why it's important not to use it on finely painted surfaces like your car, or you'll end up with a much worse problem than bird poop.
3. Don't use them without gloves
Considering that melamine foam pads can handle everything from scratching walls to stovetops, it's no surprise that these little powerhouses can also attack your skin. Be sure to always wear a pair of gloves when using your Magic Eraser and never use it directly on your skin.
4. Don't use it to clean delicate countertops
Forget the fact that these spongy pads feel soft; in reality, they're insanely abrasive. That's why you shouldn't use them on granite and marble countertops (and other precious stone surfaces), or you run the risk of removing the sealant and making the surface look dull.
5. Don't use them to wipe non-stick pots and pans
If you thought they could be used just like a dish sponge, you're wrong. If you use these heavy-duty cleaners to wipe down non-stick pots and pans, you'll only scratch the surface - and instead release nasty chemicals from the coating onto your food.
6. Don't try to brighten stainless steel
Unless you consider yourself a "gentle mop," it's probably best not to use your mop pad on all stainless steel surfaces in your home. Too much scrubbing can cause the high-gloss coating that seals most stainless steel appliances to break down, resulting in a dull and sometimes scratched patina.
7. Don't use it without first sampling it
If you're not sure if your melamine foam pad is safe, simply do a spot test. As with any new cleaning product, test a small area with the eraser before using it on an entire surface.