Do Cheap Melamine Sponges Work As Well As Mr. Clean Magic Erasers? (Hint: YES!)

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I tested generic melamine sponges next to Magic Erasers on each of the cleaning tasks mentioned below, and the answer is… YES!

I still buy Mr. Clean Magic Erasers whenever I find them on sale — because a good deal is a good deal.

But most of the time, I buy generic melamine sponges sold under a variety of different names instead — because they’re so much cheaper.

And since each eraser sponge (from Mr. Clean or anyone else) only lasts a few uses anyway, it’s not a product that I want to spend a lot of money on.


My Experience With Generic Melamine Sponges

I’ve bought storebrand eraser sponges from stores like Walgreens, Home Depot, and CVS and they work just as well.

I’ve bought no-name eraser sponges in bulk from Amazon and they work just as well.

Most recently, I was given a large supply of melamine sponges from to try.

They, too, work just as well as the official Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. They say they’re “made of 100% identical material as the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser” and they do look and clean identically, in my opinion. From their email to me:

We are a private label distributor of Magic Erasers. Our company buys the same product from Germany as the Mr. Clean Eraser.

The best part about the generic melamine foam sponges is they cost so much less!

For example, at Sponge Outlet, you can get the basic eraser sponges for as low as 29 cents apiece (and free shipping). I think the lowest I’ve seen Mr. Clean Magic Erasers is around 75 cents apiece. That’s a big difference for basically the same product.

Melamine foam is the active component of Procter & Gamble’s product Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, as well as other similar cleaning products … The foam is manufactured in Germany by BASF under the name BasotectSource


How I Use A Melamine Sponge Around The House

My favorite uses for these cleaning blocks change all the time.

These days, I mostly use a melamine foam sponge to:

  • Remove dog slobber from window sills – what dog doesn’t like to stare out the window?
  • Wipe dirt & grease marks from our white doors – since we use the doors that go to 2 different garages many times each day, this is pretty much an ongoing task
  • Clean the white vinyl screen door – the exterior side that leads to the back porch regularly accumulates a lot of dirt and debris
  • Remove dirty fingerprints from the white pantry door – that gets used multiple times a day
  • Make the see-thru doggie door see-thru again – because it gets used many times each day and accumulates everything from dog slobber and fur to dirt and pollen
  • Wipe dust and dirt from white baseboards – especially in the tight corners
  • Clean chrome fixtures – they’re great at removing hard water build-up, soap scum, and toothpaste splatter from all of our bathroom sink & shower fixtures
  • Remove dirty fingerprints from our white light switches – the ones near the doors and the pantry seem to get the dirtiest

I’ve tested a generic melamine sponge against the original Mr. Clean melamine sponge in each of the above circumstances, and the generic ones do — in fact — clean just as well.

So whether you decide to buy the generic melamine sponges or the original cleaning erasers — they’ll all work great. I say… buy whatever you find that’s a good deal!

You will always find boxes from various brands inside my cleaning supplies cabinet.


My Best Tip!

My best tip is to cut each melamine foam sponge into several mini-rectangles and use those for your smaller cleaning projects around the house (like all of those I’ve mentioned above).

That way, you won’t “waste” a whole sponge on a relatively small task. You’ll get anywhere from 10 to 12 uses from each sponge!

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve needed to use a full-size melamine sponge for a cleaning project. I use these smaller portions almost all the time.


Clever Uses For A Melamine Sponge

If you like melamine cleaning sponges as much as I do, then you’re going to love these clever and unique ways that I use melamine foam sponges all around the house:

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I like to help people find unique ways to do things that will save time & money -- so I write about "outside the box" Household Tips and Life Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I'm super-organized. And I LOVE to clean! I even enjoy doing laundry (but not ironing). I’m also a lifelong dog owner -- so I often share my favorite tips for living with dogs inside your home (like smart home design choices and dog-friendly cleaning & decorating ideas). Career-wise, I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started... and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). Prior to that, I worked in Higher Ed over 10 years before switching gears to pursue activities that I'm truly passionate about instead. For example, I've worked at a vet, in a photo lab, and at a zoo -- to name a few. I enjoy the outdoors via bicycle, motorcycle, Jeep, or RV. When I’m not cleaning, organizing, decorating, or fixing something… you'll find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've personally written over 200 articles about cleaning, organization, DIY repairs, and household hacks on this site! A few have over 2M shares; many others have over 100K shares.

6 thoughts on “Do Cheap Melamine Sponges Work As Well As Mr. Clean Magic Erasers? (Hint: YES!)

  1. Yes.. the generic Mr Clean Melamine Foam sponges clean as well as the brand name but they seem to disintegrate and fall apart faster than the brand name sponges. Which then having to use twice or more as many to do the same cleaning job makes the generics not as great a bargain purchase as initially thought.

    1. Hmmm… that’s a valid point, Juliette. But it’s not something that I’ve experienced personally. I’ve found that the generic foam sponges from SpongOutlet, CVS, and Walgreens last JUST as long as the name brand ones do (which isn’t that long when used on grimey cleaning jobs). There is absolutely no difference – in my honest opinion.

  2. As a retired grandmother on limited budget, I search the world for cheap beauty tips. I find it great to scrub nail polish off my toes, but not so good on my lady parts. They say it buffs away hair but my lady parts looked red and angry after use, and still very hairy. Great for nail polish after a rough night though.

  3. The only thing magic about Mr. Clean sponges is that we’ve been hypnotized into paying a huge markup on simple melamine foam rectangles. The no name sponges work just fine.

  4. I very much disagree with the allegation that “knock-offs” are just as good. I have yet to use one that was. If it is true that the one company sells the same Basotect material then that would certainly be true. But then I would not call it a knock-off either.

    I started off with Magic Erasers, then went to various versions of the knock-offs, then went to the very cheap, low density Chinese versions at $.04 -.05 cents each before finally settling on combination of American knock-offs and the China cheapo’s.

    The knock-offs are necessary for medium to heavy duty work and are a way better value than Magic Erasers. I have not used a Magic Eraser in years.

    The Chinese versions are great for light to medium work, especially when it’s not worthwhile to clean and reuse the sponge. For $0.05 I can clean at least one bike rim good, if I am careful, and also scrub some other part of the bike before tossing it. I can also use a half of a cheap sponge to clean under the toilet seat regularly and not worry about tossing it. While I never toss a cheapo away if it is still useable, being able to toss it after one use is what I really love about the China cheapo’s. There are just so many times where it is inappropriate to reuse one.

  5. Just checked out the web site Sounds legit so I ordered a 200 pack of the “Lg Extra Strength Compressed Eraser Sponge w/Soap” for $81 instead of the 210 for $61 deal. They allege that it is “50% stronger than our standard sponge” so the extra $20 is a better deal. I very much appreciate your mentioning this as I have searched several times for a generic “Basotect” version and had thought that they did not exist.

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