The Mr. Clean brand knew what it was doing when it named its Magic Eraser — if there's such a thing as magic when it comes to cleaning products, it exists in this compact white sponge. Known for getting the toughest stains off walls, tables, or really any hard surface you can think of, we have ... the Magic Eraser.
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But, what if we told you there's a generic product that's just as effective, but far cheaper? Behold, the melamine sponge!
Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are made from a versatile organic compound called melamine, which is used in everything from dinnerware to dry-erase boards. But when melamine is turned into a foam, you end up with a superb cleaning sponge.
"Melamine sponges are composed of thin, dense fibers that act as a sandpaper when cleaning surfaces," Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, president of Chicago-based cleaning company ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, tells Hunker. "The sponge scrapes away dirt and grime from surfaces without any chemical residue and without heavy elbow grease."
Melamine foam isn't owned by Mr. Clean, so there are dozens of generic versions on the market — and they have the same exact cleaning power as the name brand.
"The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and a generic melamine sponge are actually made of the same material. The only difference is that the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser just comes with a cleaning agent inside," Richard Taylor, a contractor and founder of home improvement blog ExplainedHome.com, tells Hunker. "However, the cleaning agent doesn't really matter and doesn't affect the effectiveness of both cleaning materials. The materials themselves are what's good enough to scrub the dirt away."
The biggest difference is really the price. Whereas a Magic Eraser can cost over a dollar per sponge, a generic melamine sponge might cost as little as a few cents per sponge.
"We use generic melamine sponges in our businesses as opposed to Magic Erasers, as they are essentially the exact same product, just much cheaper," Adriana Aziz, operations manager of Sydney-based cleaning company MaidForYou, tells Hunker. "For example, it costs $0.12 for us to purchase a single melamine sponge at retail cost, whereas it costs almost five times that to purchase one Magic Eraser."
So take it from the experts — go for a generic melamine sponge for the best savings!
Stefanie is a New York–based writer and editor. She has served on the editorial staffs of Architectural Digest, ARTnews, and Oyster.com, a TripAdvisor company, before setting out on her own as a freelancer. Her beats include architecture, design, art, travel, science, and history, and her words have appeared in Architectural Digest, Condé Nast Traveler, Popular Science, Mental Floss, Galerie, Jetsetter, and History.com, among others. In another life, she'd be a real estate broker since she loves searching for apartments and homes.