4 Times It’s Not So Magical to Use Magic Erasers

published Oct 6, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

When I first discovered Magic Erasers, I thought they were, well, magical. I couldn’t believe how easily they lifted even really stubborn dirt or marks from all kinds of surfaces. 

But even though I still always have Magic Erasers on hand in my cleaning arsenal, the honeymoon period wore off long ago. Just like most “miracle” cleaning supplies, there’s a time and a place for Magic Erasers — and there are also times not to use them. As amazing as they are in some applications, you can’t use them for everything. 

Here are four times it’s not so magical to use Magic Erasers: 

When you realize how much they cost.

Magic Erasers generally run about a dollar apiece, a bit less for the basic ones and a bit more for the more durable ones. Although there are ways to make them stretch (such as cutting them in half or reusing them for another cleaning job), spending that much on one cleaning task can add up fast. (Of course, you can get generic melamine foam pads, but in my experience, they don’t work as well and they fall apart quickly, meaning you have to store more of them to get equivalent cleaning power.) 

When you’re cleaning a surface that can scratch.

Magic Erasers are abrasive and shouldn’t be used on wood or any high gloss surface, including countertops, because they can dull the finish. Use Magic Erasers with caution on painted surfaces. Always spot test, no matter what you’re cleaning. 

When you’re cleaning something you’re going to eat off of.

Cleaning with Magic Erasers leaves behind microplastics, so it’s not a good idea to clean dishware or cookware with them. Try Bar Keepers Friend next time you want to get those coffee stains out of your mug. 

When you’re cleaning a bunch of grout.

Magic Erasers are great for cleaning grout. They lift dirt with very little effort, even from this usually impossible site. However, the grout will eat through your Magic Eraser fast. If you’re touching up the grout in a small portion of your backsplash, using Magic Erasers is perfect. But if you’re scouring the grout on your entire kitchen floor, you might want to consider another method.