“Generic” Magic Eraser – a less expensive option

I love the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser for cleaning tough spots… like the persistent mildew we seem to get in the shower of our master bathroom. The previous owners painted over the 1970′s green tile with white paint. While it made a great first impression when we were buying the house, not only has the paint started peeling away, but also gets terrible mildew that seems to seep from under the paint.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

However, since getting the shower sparkling clean (especially this time of year when the humidity and moisture seem to make the mildew explode) takes an entire magic eraser, and they cost about a dollar each (and that’s on sale!), I thought it was time to find a better way.

I started doing a little research on making “homemade” magic erasers and quickly found that the secret to the magic eraser is not some super-duper chemical formula, but is actually that they are made of Melamine Foam.

In the early 21st century it was discovered that melamine foam was an effective abrasive cleaner. The open-cell foam is microporous and its polymeric substance is very hard, so that when used for cleaning it works like extremely fine sandpaper, getting into tiny grooves and pits in the object being cleaned. On a larger scale the material feels soft.

Rubbing with a slightly moistened foam may remove otherwise “uncleanable” external markings from surfaces.

Ah ha! So, now all I need to do is find a less expensive substitute. As it happens with many things, buying something “generic” vs. the “brand name” is probably the best way to approach this.

When shopping for substitutes, you have to pay attention to size… some of the melamine foam substitutes being sold on Amazon are very small, like the 30 pack of sponges for $14, only 46 cents each. The dimensions are 3.5 by 1.5 by .6 inches. The dimensions of the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are 5 x 2.5 x .75 inches, that’s a big difference in size.

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I found a wholesale source online (dhgate.com), that sells melamine foam sponges for about 11 cents each. They are smaller than the Mr. Clean brand, but not by too much, they are approximately 4 x 2.4 x.75 inches. An inch shorter and slightly less wide, but the same thickness. I just ordered some today. I’ll let you know how they work out.


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