‘Magic’ solution makes spots disappear

#565 in a series of true experiences in real estate
October 2008, Hills Newspapers

White bathtubs gleaming white, a very nice sight. I have two tubs and today they look polished and wonderful because I found a way to polish them. I used a magic eraser and spent a few minutes on each one, and from the look of them, it was a little miracle.

Both tubs are old – from the 1940s – with thinning glaze that is etched by water and cleaners over time. One tub used to have sliding glass doors but I removed them when I moved in. Where the shower doors were attached on the tub “shoulder” there is some rust and discoloration.

I’ve cleaned the edge and all of the inside of the tub dozens of times but it never looks very good, and for the last year I’ve been thinking of having it reglazed. A friend had her tub done; cost $500 and she couldn’t use it for a few days, but it did the trick. I think you have to be careful about cleaning the new surface but otherwise, reglazing is worthwhile.

The second tub is just a tub. No one uses it anymore since my daughter grew up and stopped soaking in it for hours. I’ve thought about removing it; it’s quite prominent in the room and takes up a lot of space but I don’t know how I’d rearrange the room and anyway, I’ve come to enjoy looking at the big old white tub.

For no particular reason the other day, I decided to wash out the tubs. One was dusty, the other had soap and shampoo on the sides and bottom. I started with a sponge and 409 cleaner on the shower-tub. Nothing much in the way of results so I switched to Soft Scrub and rubbed a little harder. I rinsed with water. Still couldn’t see any change. That was when I thought of the magic eraser and went to get one.

In less than five minutes going over each tub with the eraser, there were big changes. Even the worst etched spots are better; not completely made whole but cleaner and whiter. All surfaces looked sparkling white and gleaming. Even the edge where the shower doors had been looks now much less noticeable and most of the rust spots disappeared too.

I do love magic erasers. When Mr. Clean Magic Eraser first came out, I bought many, tried them out on all sorts of things, and was thrilled with what they can do. I still use them everyday. For some uses, nothing compares. For instance, they are especially good to softly wipe off spots on appliances and painted kitchen cabinets. I keep one under my kitchen sink to wipe away the black marks left on the porcelain when metal pans are washed.

They’re terrific to clean the microwave, too, especially if followed with a wipe from a cloth. Good on anything glass like light fixture glass. Almost anytime I see a black mark on a shiny white surface, I know it will easily come off with a magic eraser.

But they’re not so good on flat-painted walls. A magic eraser will “magically” remove fingerprints and other marks from walls but they also remove a tiny bit of the paint surface so that in the right light, you can see that the wall looks scuffed.

I don’t buy Mr. Clean brand anymore because they stopped making the one with the blue back and the white eraser. I think this type lasts longer and holds together better. I buy the Target brand now – the blue and white one – which seems to be exactly like the old Mr. Clean but costs less.

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