Magic erasers are magical. I use them to clean many, many things in my house, especially the stuff that can only be described as grimy. They make light work of certain tasks; yes, you can use all-purpose cleaner and a rag to clean the baseboards, but a magic eraser is so much more efficient. They also make really difficult tasks not only do-able, but almost fun — like cleaning the grease off the inside of your oven window. They're so awesome that paying almost a dollar a piece seems worth it. But what if I told you that there was a cheap fix for your magic eraser habit, one that would make it guilt-free to reach for one every time you clean?
While Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are the standard bearers, the product is simply well-marketed melamine foam. According to Wikipedia, the material, which was originally used in other applications including thermal and sound insulation for bullet trains, cleans so well because its "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."
Which is all to say that a melamine sponge is a melamine sponge, and you can buy them for way less if you choose generic brands. Just today I bought a two-pack at the Dollar Tree for, yes, a dollar and had a grand old time wiping down walls and finger prints from white doors and sponging off that singular kind of grease mark made by pets when they rub against the door jamb.
Other sources of generic magic erasers include:
- Sponge Outlet, 50 for $26.95 (the more you buy, the more you save)
- Amazon, 100 for $8.99 (though it sounds like these may be a bit flimsier)
- Amazon, 20 for $11.95 (highly rated)
- eBay, 100 for $13.95
Wondering how well they work? We did, too...