The Dollar Store Find to Arm Yourself with During Every Move

published Aug 30, 2018
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(Image credit: kitzcorner/Shutterstock)

Come move-out time, getting every penny back of that rental deposit is the name of the game. Chores like replacing the stove top drip pans and spackling the walls where your TV once hung can certainly help. But the move-out cleaning ritual I’ve found to have the biggest impact, while requiring the least amount of effort, is done with a dollar store find: A melamine foam pad, or, if we’re talking in brands, Mr. Clean’s Magic Erasers or Scotch-Brite’s Easy Erasing Pad.

During a move between apartments, once everything was out of my old unit, my mom* pulled out one of these nifty foam pads and began erasing away scuff marks with ease. (*Let’s hear it for the moms who help their adult children move throughout their 20s!)

I had a gallery of marks commemorating my stay in Apartment 1036, starting with one left behind by the kitchen table that nicked a hallway when I moved in, to a random assortment of scratches left on the baseboards due to my vacuuming style (which could best be described as frenetic). Also, where did those stray pen marks on the walls come from? Who left what, I deduce, was a Cheeto-stained thumbprint?

The erasing pads were definitely a game changer. They tidied up the walls enough that I saved myself a paint job. I didn’t get my entire deposit back (wrestling with vinyl blinds is among my Boston terrier’s favorite hobbies), but I did excel in the clean walls department, according to the breakdown I got back with my deposit check.

(Image credit: Liz Steelman)

I also recommend keeping an eraser pad on hand when you move into a new place so you can swipe away marks that inevitably occur during moves and start out in your new space with squeaky clean walls.

But, this cleaning product isn’t just great for assisting with moves by getting rid of scuffs and fingerprints. Curious what the heck else they do, I reached out to Debra Johnson, a home cleaning expert for Merry Maids. Behind microfiber cloths, Johnson says melamine sponges are her favorite cleaning tool.

Most people don’t realize the sponges can also remove rust deposits, revive discolored grout, clean mirrors, and get soap scum out of the tub and shower, Johnson says. Fascinating!

When it comes to using the sponges on the walls, she leaves us with this bit of advice: Test a damp eraser pad on an inconspicuous spot to make sure it won’t damage the paint on your walls. After all, the point of this whole drill is to save yourself from unnecessary painting.