I bet you thought this was benign

In the spirit of being greener, I began to wonder what those Mr Clean Magic Erasers are made from.

Finding the Mr Clean site gave me little information, but a little more digging and I got more than I was bargaining for on Mr Clean products.

So, what do you think I would do with the information?

Share it with you, of course.

So finding the Mr. Clean site, not only was the Magic Erasers listed but every other product made using the Mr. Clean name.  But today the Magic Eraser.  There are several varieties (I did not know this) and they are:

  • Magic Eraser, original
  • Magic Eraser, wheel and tire
  • Magic Eraser, power
  • I quit there.

The funny thing is that each formula was exactly the same.  There is one ingredient in each and every one and that is:  Melamine Polymer.  That didn’t tell me a thing.  What is a Melamine Polymer? How can the ingredient lists list only one ingredient for all the different Erasers?   The Mr. Clean website states that this one ingredient is an abrasive foam.  If that’s true then how is this foam made to hold a solid shape?

After much digging here’s what I found.  The actual name of the ingredient is Melamine Formaldehyde Polymer.  That’s right Formaldehyde.   The actual make up of this one ingredient is a “Proprietary Process” so I can’t get any more information than that.  Which I guess means that the make-up of each Melamine Polymer is slightly different for each Eraser.  For more information click here.

What I did learn is this: A Melamine Formaldehyde Polymer uses thermoplastic polymers (speaking Greek to me at this point) of melamine units joined by methylene and dimethylene ether linkages.  Wait, ether, we are cleaning our homes with formaldehyde and ether??  Each ether is used as a solvent for oils, fats, dyes, and cellulose derivatives.

The actual chemical (methylene or dimethylene) comes with plenty of warnings.  If either ether is spilled it must be soaked up with sand or earth and placed in a “chemical waste container” and to “avoid run-off”.  When decomposing the ether is reported to give off carbon monoxide, irritating and toxic fumes and gases, and carbon dioxide. (source)

So I’m still trying to get this straight. We think we can clean our homes with ether and formaldehyde, then when this product breaks down, (is that the same as it getting smaller as we use it?) the components that make this abrasive foam give off carbon monoxide, toxic fumes/gases and carbon dioxide.  Seriously?  How does this make our homes cleaner?  I would need to clean after using this product in my home, from washing each item this was used on to airing out my home of the off-gassing.

The information I found also states that the same process used to make this “abrasive foam”  is used to make foam cushions for upholstery and protective clothing for firefighters’ gear and many more items. That confuses me as I know foam cushions are highly flammable, yet firefighters’ gear isn’t.

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to use a product that uses formaldehyde to clean my home.  And ether, I’m still old enough to remember when ether was used to put people under for surgery (yep, had my appendix out this way), and then to add more to the problem I may be adding toxic fumes and carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide to the air I am breathing.

I am grateful I don’t have this product in my home any longer!

Let us give thanks for this beautiful day.  Let us give thanks for this life.  Let us give thanks for the water without which life would not be possible. Let us give thanks for Grandmother Earth who protects and nourishes us.  ~~Daily Prayer of the Lakota American Indian

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10 comments

  1. Yikes. I’m at the point where I’m cleaning everything with baking soda and vinegar. My mom uses chemical cleaners and I feel like she wouldn’t believe me if I told her it gets just as clean without any chemicals.

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    • Well after finding this information I think our homes are cleaner without the chemicals, definitely healthier. I’m with you baking soda and vinegar are my go-to solution for everything around here, now and then a little hydrogen peroxide, but not often.

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    • Welcome Bethany, Don’t feel badly, when they first came out I was told to use them on the lid of my plastic garbage container which took some real elbow grease to clean. It worked wonderfully, at that time I was decreasing my dependence on commercial cleaners and thought this was a good alternative. I think I bought 2 maybe 3 packages before one day I wondered what might be in it. I started thinking I wouldn’t buy other Mr. Clean products so why was I trusting this product. I’m glad I quit using it.

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  2. I tried a Magic Eraser to clean my stair railing and it worked great. Then I realized I had never really cleaned the railing before and probably any cleaning product would have worked! Sure enough, I used plain soap and water next time and it worked equally well.

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    • And I bet it was cheaper 🙂 A railing that isn’t sealed will get so dirty. I had a beautiful oak railing that I wanted to keep looking natural about 10 years ago, I simply added a coat of polycrylic ( which is water based and never yellows) which allowed me to never have to scrub it!

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