This was an article in the New York Times Magazine, which is a good source of information about the nerd-friendly parts of society. It is always worth looking at what the New York Times says about your nerdy friends.
The article is a short description of how to clean erasers with a magic eraser. It is interesting because it deals with a topic that is generally not thought of as nerdy-cool (the savviness or non-savviness of cleaning erasers).
It’s also interesting because the author didn’t just take her own advice and write about it, but asked a lot of questions. She asked people what they did to clean erasers, and learned that some people put them in the dishwasher. So she wrote an article called “How To Clean Your Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in 3 Easy Steps: A blog about cleaning with magic erasers.”
A few years ago, a friend of mine built a tabletop dishwasher and tried it out. The idea was to build a cheap, portable dishwasher that you could move from house to house so that you could clean your dishes while camping or on the road.
I thought that was a great idea, and I immediately wanted one. I even looked at some of the existing options and found them all wanting in one way or another.
I decided to start with what I already had: my Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I cleaned three things with it: my laptop, my iPhone, and my car dashboard. When I finished cleaning, the Magic Eraser looked spotless (at least as much as a Magic Eraser can look clean). And it felt like new!
I have since cleaned things like my coffee pot and my microwave with the Magic Eraser, using the same process every time: 1) Wet, 2) Scrub, 3) Wipe clean.
The only downside is that cleaning your phone with Mr. Clean Magic Eraser takes about as long as actually calling someone to get them to come over and wipe your phone for you for free (say… 10 minutes).
The trick to cleaning a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is to get a dry cloth and rub it back and forth in an up and down motion 8-10 times. This will cause the eraser to clump together, and all you have to do then is pick up the clumps with your fingers and gently rub them into the surface you are cleaning. You can also use your thumb to push it into the stain, but this requires a little more force because of its small size.
You should also never use water when using a Mr. Clean magic eraser if possible because water will leave behind color stains.
I spent a lot of time cleaning my microwave with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I used it on the inside and outside, and sponged it with water. It was messy, but it worked well. Then I saw this post:
“How to clean your table top dishwasher.” “You can’t clean a table top dishwasher; there’s no place for water to go.” True: no water for the water to go. But you can clean it anyway.
I had always thought that magic erasers were like the special magic erasers made for cleaning sticky surfaces: you scrub them with soap and they become good again (not that well, but good enough). But apparently not. In actual fact they are like regular magic erasers in every way except one: they try to clean things that aren’t supposed to be cleaned by magic erasers, such as your table top dishwasher. And there will be other ways of finding out if you’re right or wrong about this magic eraser being special: try it on your kitchen sink, your car windshield (this is what it is really for), and so on.*
If you want to clean something, there is one way to do it. You can use a sponge and water; this is called wet cleaning. If you want to clean something and don’t mind if it’s not perfect, you can use a magic eraser. When the name of the product says “magic” it is because of its ability to magically clean surfaces that have been cleaned with sponges and water.
Wet cleaning is boring, hard work, and only works on some things. Magic erasers are boring, hard work, but they are also difficult to use. They are made for professional cleaners who spend all day cleaning things with magic erasers.
But here’s the catch: when you own a magic eraser or use one on your own stuff, you are no longer doing a job for someone else. You can wash dishes or clean mirrors with one instead of a sponge and water, which means that your house is cleaner than someone else’s who is still doing the job with sponges and water (though they probably do their cleaning more quickly).
If you want to make money, you should think about getting a job.
If you want to learn how to make money, though, there’s another way. It takes more time, but it works if you really want to learn how to make money. The best way I know to learn how to make money is by doing it.
The best way I know to do this is with magic erasers. Before I got my magic eraser, I thought cleaning was hard work and that I would never get better at it. But now I clean as good as anyone else and I’m proud of it. Magic erasers are what made me good at cleaning and what makes me happy about it.
I happened to buy the wrong kind of magic eraser. Some people use them for scrubbing walls or floors; some people use them for getting crud out of pots and pans; some people use them for polishing furniture or buffing chrome or removing stains from carpets; some people just like to look at them because they’re shiny and colorful.
One day I went into a hardware store with my wife and saw a sign saying “Magic Erasers–Over 30 Different Sizes.” What could be better than that? So I bought one, thinking that if
A magic eraser is a sponge that is completely different from any other sponge. You can’t really scrub with it, you can’t really buff with it, you can’t really wash dishes with it. But when you use a magic eraser on a greasy pan, the magic eraser magically removes the grease without leaving a trace of whatever substance was there in the first place. It’s possible to explain why this happens–and it seems to work–but no one has figured out how to make the magic eraser work yet.
In the meantime, what do you do if you have greasy pans? You get a magic eraser and try to clean them up.
The reason we don’t know how to make a magic eraser is because of an unexpected side effect: even though we’re not sure how it works, we know exactly how not to make one. The secret is that no matter what kind of sponge you start with, you won’t be able to get enough surface area on it to scrub away the grease without leaving behind a residue of grease that isn’t there before.*