We know Mr. Clean “Magic Erasers” as the white pads with a shiny bald man telling you to remove scuff marks from walls. But these little scrubbers — known generically as melamine foam sponges — can clean so much more than walls and baseboards.
The first and most important hack we learned when working with the sponges: buy them in bulk under their generic name online. You’ll pay less than half price per eraser. If you buy a big block of foam and cut off your own erasers, you’ll save even more.
Once you wet the melamine foam and squeeze off the excess water, you can clean all sorts of surfaces. We removed ink from white fabric, cleaned canvas sneakers, whitened bathroom grout, freshened the office coffee pot, and rid a keyboard of any lingering marks. Just be sure to dry any surface that should not stay wet, and do not use it on your computer screen.
These erasers also have a tendency to whiten, which is great for things like white fabric, walls, and shoes, but always test a small area first to make sure nothing gets discoloured.
And a quick note about using one of these on your skin: Some places suggest Magic Erasers remove ink from skin. Melamine can cause a reaction in children and people with sensitive skin, so please don’t go rubbing these all over your hands with wild abandon.