Yes, The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Is Safe

retrochick.JPGIvy says:

Ah, the urban legend. We got an email from a reader concerning an email forward that has been floating around for awhile. It reads like most urban legend stories, a warning about the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and a similar product by ScotchBrite. Our reader figured the story was untrue, and writes that she didn’t think the Magic Eraser could possibly have those kinds of chemicals in it, that the email forward suggests.

So I did some researching and I found this urban legend page.  This contains the text of the email that our reader received, although some little details have been changed or left out. It seems that the Magic Eraser debacle is partly true. It originates from a blog posting by Jessica at Kerflop. Here is what she has to say about the situation. Because she requests that pictures and the text of the forwarded email not be posted, I have opted not to post the full text of what was received. However, you can go to the above links and read for yourself.

The crux of the matter is no, the Magic Eraser does not contain harmful chemicals. It is made of melamine. The PH factor of the pads is between 8 and 10, which is alkaline enough to cause “base chemical burns”, but that is pretty mild. The Urban Legend page says “for example, Milk of Magnesia has a pH of 10, and soapy water has a pH of 12″.

Jessica says in this final update (filled with lots of great science-y info for you science geeks out there) “Again, whatever happened – whether it was the abrasiveness, a chemical reaction, the pH, whatever, the injury looked like a burn and an abrasion combined.” The good news is, her kid is fine now, and that’s what is really important.

So, if you receive an email forward about the Magic Clean Erasers, you know where to send the senders. Here, or else over to Jessica’s place.  Or the Urban Legend page. Or, well, you know. Wherever.

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Comments

  1. I also got that e-mail and thought, “well, would you really let your child play with other house hold cleaners?” I don’t know, I guess it is like other cleaner, some people react and some do not.

  2. Sorry to sound snarky, but the child scrubbed his face with the pad. Of course it burned and abraded him. It would be like cleaning your face with Barkeeper’s Friend. Kids do crazy things because they have no impulse control, which is why you either deal with this kind of thing or you watch them like a hawk.

  3. Years ago, I had the very same reaction to a white cosmetic “buffing” sponge, one that is rather like a finer version of a Scotch-Brite pad. It was just abrasion, and healed without incident.

    Interestingly, for a couple of years now, I have used small sections of new Magic Eraser with soap and water on my nose, where I have a problem with blackheads. Yes, if used too aggressively it also can abrade, but when used carefully does a marvelous job of removing blackheads (over time — be patient — not all at once!) and keeping them gone.

  4. I love the magic erasers. Couldn’t live without them!

  5. @Angella – I wasn’t letting him play with it. As I describe in detail on my site, it wasn’t my brightest parenting moment as I did not pause to consider the sponges could cause injury before I let him help me clean the walls.

    @Teresa – your snark is nothing compared to the heaps of criticism I got when I posted my story almost a year ago. Again, if you’d read the entire story on my website, perhaps you wouldn’t be quite so quick to judge.

    Thank you, Heather, for taking the time to debunk this growing e-mail forward. I just posted a ginormous rant on the whole thing today. I really wish that email forward would bite the big one and die. ;o)

  6. Geez people, leave the woman alone. I’d like to find one single parent in the universe who hasn’t done something that they thought was harmless only to find out that it wasn’t. Kids love to help clean and giving him or her what you thought was an age appropriate task with a sponge isn’t as out there as people have said.

    Cut Jessica and the situation some slack.

  7. I just thought readers might be interested in more about what the “Mr. Clean Magic Eraser” is/works. Basically they are made of a material called melamine foam which is a polymeric substance and is very hard. The foam is very micro porous and works similar to sandpaper. Also the particles can be an irritant to eyes and skin. When you think of a sponge or foam, you think of a material with a bunch of individual holes or air bubbles in foams most people are used to seeing. In fact the bubbles interconnect more like a tiny maze of strands of fiberglass. These strands scour the surface: for example removing a dirt streak off a smooth tile floor. The fibers are small enough to reach into the small pits and grooves where other types of sponges and pads could not.

    As far as what I have read on the material her son getting a chemical burn it is very unlikely. It looks more like her son basically had an over glorified rug burn. If you have had a major rug burn and then add those little particles in it as extra irritants and you have a really painful abrasive burn. Example: I had a small piece of metal smaller then a grain of salt get in my eye. Once it had made the abrasive scratch on my eyeball and eyelid, I felt has if my eye was on fire and if someone had poured alcohol in it. My eye was so hyper sensitive they had to give me a sedative so they could get it out. His skin was probably just hypersensitive and anything in it, felt like it burned.

    I read a lot of information provided from the Inter WIKI site. It is quite informative and has a lot of information on this material which made the news.

  8. Ok acne can NOT be solved with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
    i tried it because i was desperate BAD IDEA! it did burn my skin but just bearly and for about 5-6 hours it hurt.
    If you do what i did WASH! no soap just cool water for 10-20min ASAP. then some neosporin.
    Cure acne with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Not gonna be good

  9. The Wal-Mart brand caused a chemical burn on my 2 year olds face. It may cause an abbraision but it is a BURN. Go ahead and get it on your face or whatever and find out.