Yes, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’d be blogging about magical sponges on the Kenshusei Blog. Let me explain. So here in Japan, they sell these magical little white sponges. They’re about 1 inch cubes, and you can buy a big pack of them at the 100 Yen shop. I think they are called “Melamine Sponges”. Anyways, these things are amazing. You can clean scuff marks and grime, dirt, old tape gunk, and a host of other unpleasantries. The point is, they clean things that cleaning sprays, soap, and rags won’t. I used them a few weeks ago to clean off all of the black scuff marks on the corners of the wall in the entryways of the dojo – worked like a charm. Then I used them on the muck that was covering the “B1” as you get off the elevator at dojo level – it looks new now! And just yesterday I spent 20 minutes wiping off the gunk on the wall in the kitchen that never came off with any of the cleaning solutions in the past. And yes, it worked there too! I’ve yet to find something they don’t work on. There is one complaint I have about them (Besides that I have no idea what kind of chemical is in it – probably one that causes skin cancer); they’re too small!! Imagine using a 1 inch sponge on an entire wall. Then again, that’s the kenshusei way. I digress.
So I’ve done some research today and I discovered that we do in fact have an equivalent product in the US. It may have even come first. According to the apartmenttherapy.com website, the “Mr. Clean Magic Eraser” has been on the shelves in US stores since 2003. Where were you when I needed you Magic Sponge???!!! I just had to find out if they were toxic. There were rumors out there about the sponges having formaldehyde in them. So what’s the verdict? Well, according to this website, Proctor and Gamble released a statement about the sponges stating that they had trace mounts of formaldehyde, in quantities less than indoor air, and that there were no other toxic chemicals in them. So there you have it, they clean like magic, AND they don’t cause cancer!! Amazing! Oh, and best of all, they have the same brand name in the US as the name that I coined them here in Japan. Here’s a list of “Don’ts” from the website (#4 is a knee-slapper).
Next time you reach for the Magic Eraser, here are a few things to remember:
1. Do not let your kids (or pets) play with or use Magic Erasers! They can be swallowed and can cause rashes and burns if rubbed against the skin.
2. After using, wipe up any remaining residue.
3. Don’t eat, lick or taste Magic Erasers. Remember what happened when powdered melamine was found in pet food and infant formula in China with tragic consequences?
4. Don’t rub Magic Erasers on your person. Just don’t. And, again, don’t let your kids play with them. The superfine foam can cause abrasions.