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Make your own Magic Eraser for 10 cents

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are great at scrubbing away the toughest grime and stains, but they can get costly if you use them too often. Use this trick to make your own Magic Erasers for a fraction of the price.

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Taylor Martin/CNET

Whenever I need to deep clean anything around the house, I usually grab a pack of Magic Erasers. They're known for their effectiveness -- they're great at getting rid of stains or cleaning things other sponges or cleaners can't.

However, even at just roughly $1 (£0.69 or AU$1.37) each, they're not exactly cheap, as they completely break down and fall apart after just a few minutes of tough cleaning. You can go through an entire four-pack without leaving your kitchen or bathroom if it's been a while since you last deep cleaned.

So if you're tired of dropping a buck every time you want to clean something in your home, there's an even cheaper way to use Magic Erasers. Make your own.

No magic required -- it's just a sponge

Mr. Clean would have you believe they poured tons of money and time into research and development to create special sponges specifically for cleaning. The truth is, Magic Erasers are just tiny rectangular pieces of melamine foam with a cleaning agent inside.

That said, it's not the cleaning agent that makes them so effective, it's the material. A melamine sponge is more dense than your average cleaning sponge and its tiny pores make it a light abrasive, not unlike that of an extra fine sheet of sandpaper.

The best part is, you can find melamine sponges -- very similar to those that Mr. Clean uses -- on eBay and other online stores in bulk. I ordered a pack of 100 for just $7.99 (£5.53 or AU$10.92) shipped. They're a tad smaller than the real deal, but I bought 100 for the price of an eight-pack.

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Taylor Martin/CNET

How to make a Magic Eraser

Once you've received the sponges and you're ready to clean again, you're going to need a cleaning solution. The solution I tested and used comes from Heather Schisler's blog Passion for Savings, which requires two common cleaning solutions: borax and baking soda. And you only need a tiny bit of each.

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Taylor Martin/CNET

Here's how to prep your sponges for cleaning.

  • Heat up some water. For a single sponge, 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) will be plenty.
  • Add 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of Borax and 1 tablespoon (15g) of baking soda to a bowl. Add the water to the mixture and stir.
  • Place a sponge in the bowl and allow it to soak up the solution.
  • Squeeze out some of the excess and begin scrubbing.

Alternatively, you can wet the sponge with a small amount of water and pour the borax and baking soda solution into a spray bottle to spot clean.

You now have 100 DIY Magic Erasers at your disposal that cost you approximately $0.10 (£0.07 or AU$0.14) each to make. Like the real Magic Erasers, these won't last very long, but being just a fraction of the price definitely makes them more tolerable.

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