Weekend Projects

Here’s How You Can Take Advantage of the Only Cleaning Tool With a Built-In Timer

published May 29, 2020
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Credit: Marisa Vitale

Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

Saturdays often come with a deep-seated feeling, maybe from long-ago instilled childhood habits, that some cleaning should probably get done. Maybe your first weekend morning is regularly sheet-washing time, or maybe you relish eschewing the designated chore time now that you’re an adult.

Either way, if you’re up for a weekend project, this one’s fun and easy. We’re going to take one Magic Eraser (or a generic melamine sponge—they’re the same thing) and “erase” smudges and dirty spots all over the house until the Magic Eraser is all used up.

The payoff is twofold: By using the Magic Eraser until it’s “finished,” you’ll be motivated to keep scrubbing long past your usual stopping point, tackling some areas that rarely get cleaned. And you’ll also save yourself from the awkwardness of storing a half-used, dirty-looking sponge. You will have used one to its absolute full potential—and you’ll have some spotless areas around the house to show for it.

Read more: How Do Magic Erasers Work?

Credit: Joe Lingeman

This Weekend: Use one whole Magic Eraser.

The challenge this weekend is to go around and clean things that you didn’t realize were as dirty as they are. Here are some suggestions for how to use your Magic Eraser:

  • Door frames. They likely have finger prints and marks from where your animals rub against them.
  • Doors. Especially near the doorknobs, locks, and the bottom near the floor.
  • Light switch plates. It’s important to clean before disinfecting, and a Magic Eraser swiped over light switch plates ensures that any built-up grime is gone.
  • Drawers. Don’t scrub painted wood with a Magic Eraser, but many materials are Magic Eraser safe. After spot testing, wipe down your drawer-fronts with a Magic Eraser and enjoy how cleaned-up they look.
  • Desk tops. Again, ensure that the mild abrasiveness of a Magic Eraser won’t cause any damage to your desk top material. Using one lifts stray pen marks and other art and life messes that paint the surface of your desk.
  • Baseboards. Before you decide to repaint your baseboards, take a Magic Eraser to them. You’d be amazed at the smudges that you can lift with even gentle rubbing.
  • Walls. Be extra careful on matte walls (spot testing is your friend!), but paint with a bit of a sheen holds up well to wipe-downs with Magic Erasers. Consider starting with kitchen walls, especially around your dining table.
  • Grout. Magic Erasers lift dirt from grout, which in turn, FYI, eats through your Magic Eraser quickly. Start with backsplash grout and then move on to the floor.

If you’re not a Magic Eraser user, you can still take this one on. Just grab your normal tools—a sponge, rag or scrub brush—and set a timer for an hour or so, cleaning everything you can until the timer stops.

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You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.