The First Thing You Should Do with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Before You Use It

updated Jan 28, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

If I had to sum up my house cleaning strategy in a few words, I would say: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. From stuck-on kitchen grime to dirty tiles in the bathroom, the Magic Eraser cleans just about everything better than other products I’ve tried — and I’ve tried a lot.

When I run out of the powerful little white squares, I know I’m going to have an extra exhausting day of cleaning ahead. It’s exactly why I try to keep them stocked constantly in the rooms I find myself disinfecting and tidying the most, namely my bathroom and kitchen.

Of course, my love of the Magic Eraser isn’t exactly unique. There are many, many people who will sing its praises. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I realized not everyone knows the right way to use one. 

The Right Way to Use the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

The secret to using your Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in the most effective way is also the first thing you should do with a new Mr. Clean Magic Eraser: Wet your Magic Eraser before using it.

If you’re confused right now and thinking back to all the times you’ve used the tool sans water, you should know that technically, you can use it dry; it just won’t work as well. 

To understand why water is so necessary to the Magic Eraser, it helps to know a little bit more about how it works. The main ingredient of a Magic Eraser is called melamine, and it’s exactly what makes it so capable of cleaning so many things, as Jessica Ek, Director of Digital Communications at the American Cleaning Institute, told our friends at Apartment Therapy. Ek explained that melamine works as an “extremely fine sandpaper” on surfaces, effectively buffing away stains, stuck-on grime, and other messes. 

To get more granular (pun intended!), the microscopic air pockets in melamine become hard, like glass, when activated with water. This is exactly why the Magic Eraser works so well on the toughest of messes; it’s also why you should avoid using your Magic Eraser on delicate, glossy, or finished-wood surfaces to avoid scratches or damage. 

So there you have it: While melamine is effective on its own, it’s the water that helps it become that much more powerful and do the real dirty work when it comes to cleaning up your home’s nastiest nooks and crannies. If you, like so many of us, didn’t know that wetting the Magic Eraser makes it that much better at its job, then your life is about to get just a little bit easier—and that’s always a good thing.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The First Thing You Should Do with a New Mr. Clean Magic Eraser