That Magic Eraser Hack Promises a Forever-Clean Toilet — So We Put It To the Test

published Jun 14, 2020
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The internet is full of cleaning hacks, some more reliable than others. For instance, one tip promises to keep your toilet bowl sparkling clean with no effort — by putting a Magic Eraser in the tank. Rumor has it, the cleaning ingredient contained inside the melamine foam gets released into the water, which winds up cleaning the toilet bowl automatically whenever you flush. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, there’s not much basis to the theory. Morgan Brashear, scientific communications manager at Procter & Gamble, says while the Magic Eraser is a great solution for cleaning dirt around the toilet bowl and the exterior of the toilet, it won’t actually prevent unsightly stains and rings inside of it.

First of all, the Magic Eraser doesn’t actually contain any cleaning ingredients (unless it’s specifically labeled as “Magic Eraser with Dawn” or “Magic Eraser with Gain,” which are meant for kitchen messes and soap scum, respectively). “What people might not realize is that the Magic Eraser provides a mechanical clean, meaning there is no added chemistry in the Original and Extra Durable Erasers,” she says. “At best, the Magic Eraser might act as an additional filter in the tank of your toilet, but there aren’t any cleaning chemicals inside the Eraser to be dispersed into the water as you flush.”

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Rather than a makeshift toilet filter, Brashear recommends using the Magic Eraser how it’s intended: to tackle dirt in your home, from everyday messes like spilled tomato sauce on your stovetop to impossible-to-clean soap scum, scuff marks, or crayon on your walls.

And to keep your toilet clean? Unfortunately, as annoying as they are, there may be no simple “hack” to keep dirt and rings at bay. Instead, Brashear suggests a once-a-week deep clean with either a toilet bowl cleaner or antibacterial cleaner, a toilet brush, and rubber gloves. “Regular cleaning will help keep the germs at bay and will prevent grime and hard water stains from building up, making them more difficult to remove,” she says. 

When cleaning the outside of the toilet, pay special attention to the nooks and crannies, like the hinges of the toilet seat or the bottom of the bowl, where dirt can more easily get trapped. To deep clean the inside of the toilet, use your cleaner and toilet brush to scrub the mess away. Then, when you’ve finished scrubbing, flush to whisk away the mess. Just as importantly: “Always read the instructions on your cleaner of choice to make sure you’re using it correctly to get the result you’re after,” Brashear says.